REA to review UK bioenergy's 'long-term potential in low carbon energy mix'

Renewable Energy Association to assess potential role for bioenergy - including biomass, green gas and energy from waste - in meeting UK climate targets

A "far-reaching" review into the future of bioenergy in the UK has been launched by the Renewable Energy Association (REA), as the trade body seeks to quantify the extent to which the sector can contribute to the country's decarbonisation goals.

The group has this week called on its members to submit their views and supporting evidence on the potential for biomass, green gas, and energy-from-waste technologies to help meet the UK's legally binding climate targets.

Launched yesterday and running until 25 February, the call for evidence focuses on energy - both heat and power - generated from bio-based fuels such as wood pellets and biodiesel, and their role in helping meet the UK's existing carbon budgets to 2032, as well as full decarbonisation by 2050.

It is aimed at helping inform a new policy strategy for government and industry currently being developed by the trade body for release later this year, which it said would outline "how bioenergy can fulfil its long-term potential in a low carbon energy mix".

Independent renewables consultant Adam Brown, a former analyst at the International Energy Agency, has been appointed to lead the review and author the resulting report.

"Many of the policies which have helped spur the growth of bioenergy are now coming to an end and the energy markets and technologies have advanced significantly," said Brown. "So it's time for an update of the UK's strategy. We want to explore the role of bioenergy and how public policy and industry practice need to change if we're to get the most out of this sector. We're looking at everything from sustainability and air quality to economic value and its ability to cut energy bills."

Biomass energy and biofuels remain some of the most contentious parts of the green energy mix. Critics argue some sources of wood pellets and plant fuels are unsustainable, require significant areas of farmland to cultivate, and can do more harm than good for the climate.

However, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said last year that with stricter governance rules to ensure sustainable supplies for biomass, domestic biomass sources could more than double their contribution to total UK energy by 2050.

Moreover, advocates of bioenergy have argued that it could have a critical role to play in delivering a net zero emission economy, as biomass power plants combined with carbon capture technologies remain one of the few mechanisms for delivering negative emissions.

Counting various bioenergy firms as members, the REA is a leading advocate of biomass and renewable transport fuels as a means of providing clean and renewable heat and power in the UK.

Dr Nina Skorupska, REA chief executive, argued bioenergy had been central to the UK's progress to date in cutting carbon emissions and had an important role to play going forward.

"Bioenergy is already a major part of British life," she said. "It's our largest source of renewable heat, second largest source of renewable power and is a key solution to decarbonising transport today and into the future. For bioenergy to fulfil its potential long into the future, we need a strong evidence base, expert inputs from industry and real political will. That's why we've launched this review and invited all stakeholders to contribute their expertise."


UK’s Renewable Energy Association launches bioenergy strategy review process

In the UK, the Renewable Energy Association has launched a far-reaching review into the future of bioenergy in the UK. Bioenergy is energy generated from bio-based fuels, such as wood pellets and biodiesel.

The review comes shortly after the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) estimated bioenergy’s contribution to UK total energy could more than double by 2050. The International Energy Agency (IEA) described bioenergy as ‘the overlooked giant of renewables.’

The review is expected to form a new policy strategy for government and industry, outlining how bioenergy can fulfil its long-term potential in a low-carbon energy mix.

It will provide a comprehensive up-to-date assessment of the current role of bioenergy and the potential it has in meeting carbon targets by the year 2032, when the UK’s final carbon budget will draw to a close. The Strategy will also look at bioenergy’s role in meeting the UK’s 2050 targets for decarbonization.

The publication of the REA’s Bioenergy Strategy will come two years after the long-awaited first review of the Government’s 2012 Bioenergy Strategy was expected.

To launch the review, the REA is seeking stakeholder and expert views on the future and potential of bioenergy through their Call for Evidence, hosted at www.bioenergy-strategy.com. Industry, academic specialists, NGOs and political stakeholders – as well as the wider public – are invited to submit evidence to the review.

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Category: Producer News


Is Defra sweeping residual waste under the carpet?

18 JANUARY 2019

Libby Forrest, policy & parliamentary affairs officer at the Environmental Services Association, looks at what the Resources & Waste Strategy tells us about future energy from waste capacity needs and investment.

It is common to see Whitehall ‘taking out the trash’ just before Summer and Christmas breaks, and dump various documents and announcements to clear desks (or, more cynically, to hide bad news stories they would rather you quickly forget).

Libby Forrest, ESA

This Christmas the government more literally took out the trash by publishing the long-awaited Resources and Waste Strategy just days before Parliament arose for recess. But far from a clever tactic to hide stale and disappointing proposals, it was seen by many in the industry as an early Christmas present.

Extended Producer Responsibility, combined with greater consistency of kerbside collections and more food waste recycling, should help give recycling the boost it desperately needs. And many positive interventions on the prevention side should help us waste less in the first place.

But even if these measures deliver the target of 65% municipal recycling by 2035, there is still the 35% of residual waste to think about.

Does the Resources and Waste Strategy adequately plan for this?

Capacity

Defra’s analysis clearly shows that without additional investment England will have a significant shortfall in EfW capacity by 2035.

Even if we meet the ambitions to reduce waste in the first place and recycle 65% of arisings, Defra forecasts that there will still be 20Mt of residual waste to deal with in 2035. The strategy concludes that with 10.5Mt of current EfW capacity and 2Mt of extra capacity coming on stream by 2020, there may be no need for significant additional EfW capacity. However, this assumes that we can continue to send around 3Mt overseas as RDF, and can continue to landfill the rest (around 4.5Mt) whilst remaining within the target of landfilling no more than 10% of MSW arisings.

For a strategy with the aspiration of leading the world in using resources efficiently, this seems unambitious and environmentally-backward.

If we instead diverted that remaining waste from landfill into new EfWs, we would generate almost 2,600GWh of electricity and save 900,000 tonnes of CO₂. That’s the equivalent of powering 650,000 homes and taking almost 200,000 cars off the road a year.

On top of that, we could re-shore the 3Mt of RDF that we currently pay (almost £270m in 2016) to be sent overseas in order to generate electricity which we then buy back.

Based on Defra’s analysis, this would require up to 7.5Mt of additional EfW capacity, even if we meet 65% recycling.

Investment

It is unsurprising off the back of these projections that the Strategy says it continues to welcome further market investment in residual waste treatment infrastructure. But it fails to say any more on the subject. Given that EfW plants require multi-million pounds of finance and four-to-six-year lead-in times, Defra must do more to bolster investor confidence.

Entertaining the idea of an incineration tax is only going to create uncertainty and deter investment. Encouraging more heat off-take is vital in order to increase the efficiency of existing plants, but it does nothing to address the millions of tonnes that will be wasted at landfill without further action.

It is as though Defra is sweeping residual waste under the carpet, hoping that no one will notice just how much there will be left to deal with going forward. If Defra wants to ‘take out the trash’ properly and is serious about making the most out of the nation’s resources, it should show more enthusiasm for the role EfW can play.


UK Government Sets Outs Mediocre Support For Small-Scale Renewable Energy Generators

Published on January 13th, 2019 | by Joshua S Hill

January 13th, 2019 by

 

The UK Government on Tuesday finally proposed what amounts to relatively mediocre guidelines intended to support the development of small-scale renewable energy technologies by ensuring remuneration for any and all electricity generated that is supplied to the grid by small-scale generators.

The proposed Smart Export Guarantee was unveiled by the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and opened for consultation until early March, and comes less than a month after all hell broke loose when the BEIS announced in December that existing schemes to incentivize small-scale generators to supply electricity to the grid were closing, and that no replacement was intended. Such schemes — a Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme and a generator export tariff — remunerated small-scale generators for the electricity they generated but then supplied to the grid. Both are set to close on 31 March, and in December the BEIS made it clear there were no plans to replace them, leaving new small-scale generators in the lurch.

Those most obviously affected by such a shift are rooftop solar owners, but the UK boasts approximately 560,000 households and businesses generating small-scale electricity under the FiT scheme using a range of technologies including anaerobic digestion (generating energy from waste products), wind power, biomass, and hydro-electricity. However, these technologies are in the overwhelming minority, with 99% of small-scale generators under the FiT using rooftop solar.

This 99% accounts for 80% of the capacity being generated by these small-scale generators, with wind accounting for 12%, hydro for 3%, and anaerobic digestion for 5%.

The BEIS announced on Tuesday, however, a proposed Smart Export Guarantee for small-scale renewable electricity generators which would guarantee payment for excess electricity supplied to the grid. The proposed Guarantee would specifically replace the FiT scheme and would require electricity suppliers to pay new small-scale energy producers for excess electricity generated from homes and businesses which is supplied to the grid.

“This new scheme could help us to build a bridge to the smart energy system of the future, with consumers firmly at its heart – not only buying electricity but being guaranteed payments for excess electricity they can supply to the grid,” said Claire Perry, the UK’s Minister for Energy and Clean Growth. “It could also reduce strain on energy networks with a more decentralised and smarter local network delivering resilience much more cost effectively, unlocking innovative products for electric vehicles and home energy storage; a win-win for consumers and the environment and a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy.”

While this is good news, the welcome by the renewable energy industry has been tepid, representing concerns over the specific value of remuneration small-scale generators can expect.

“We give these proposals a cautious welcome,” said Chris Hewett, CEO of the UK’s Solar Trade Association.

“We are very pleased the Government is unequivocal; small generators will be compensated for the power they contribute to the system, but the issue remains providing remuneration at a fair market rate. We are particularly pleased to see a clear requirement to meet MCS standards for participation in the scheme, which means safeguards for consumers will be retained.

“Positively, the Government again identifies the System Sell Price as accurately reflecting the market value of power spilled to the grid,” Hewett continued. “However, the consultation acknowledges many of the market barriers we have raised with Government and the associated costs. Our worry is that these may impede the ability of suppliers to offer fair and meaningful rates, even though they may wish to. Customers are freely able to switch suppliers in a competitive market so where these costs fall remains vital to developing meaningful offers.” – Hewett

“These new government proposals rightly recognise the role that small-scale generation can play in developing a smarter, more decentralised energy system that benefits consumers,” added RenewableUK’s Head of Policy Barnaby Wharton.

“Small-scale wind energy and other renewable generation reduces overall demand on the grid and supports thousands of jobs in industries across the UK. It is vital that the value of this locally generated, low-carbon power is reflected in the final Smart Export Guarantee proposals.”

“Owners of small scale solar will be paid for the power they export, which is an improvement on the proposal that they give their power away for free,” said Dustin Benton, Policy Director at the UK’s Green Alliance, who spoke to me via email. “But the guarantee is very limited: there’s no minimum price, and it won’t come into force before the current export tariff is cancelled, which means there could be a gap of up to a year in which new small scale generators aren’t paid.

“Rather than this stopgap, we’d like to see a new regime for small scale power which enables small generation to get paid for exports when it supports the decarbonisation of the grid.” – Wharton

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Hydrogen fuel cell trains planned for British Railways from 2022

Hydrogen fuel cell train Alstom Eversholt 
The 'Breeze' hydrogen fuel cell train could run on Britain's rail network within three years
 

French rail multinational Alstom and UK rolling stock operating company (ROSCO) Eversholt Rail Group have today unveiled the design for a new hydrogen fuel cell train for the UK market. Based on the tried-and-tested British Rail Class 321, the fuel cell trains – nicknamed ‘Breeze’ – will bring zero-emission hydrogen tech to parts of the UK that still run on diesel.

“Hydrogen train technology is an exciting innovation which has the potential to transform our railway, making journeys cleaner and greener by cutting CO2 emissions even further. We are working with industry to establish how hydrogen trains can play an important part in the future, delivering better services on rural and inter-urban routes,” said Andrew Jones MP, UK Rail Minister.

By converting the electrical multiple units (EMUs) to what Alstom describes as a hydrogen multiple unit (HMU), the Paris based firm will combine the efficiency and practicality of the existing rolling stock with the versatility and environmental benefits of hydrogen fuel cells.

The  work is expected to take place over the next three years at Alstom’s Widnes facility, with the first trains projected to run as early as 2022.
Hydrogen fuel cell trains Alstom 
The hydrogen multiple units will be able to replace diesel trains on some routes, drastically reducing the environmental impact of rail travel 

“The Breeze will be a clean new train for the UK with a stylish, modern look,” said Nick Crossfield, Alstom UK & Ireland Managing Director.

“In Germany, Alstom’s hydrogen trains are already transporting passengers in the comfort and quiet that is characteristic of these trains. The Breeze offers British rail users the opportunity to share in the pleasure that is a journey on a hydrogen train.”

The trains will be converted by Alstom and then owned by Eversholt, which will then lease them to rail operators. They are unlikely to be of much use on networks with widespread electrification (such as those found in the South East of England) but in areas without third rails or overhead lines, extensively the case in SCotland, the HMUs will deliver much-needed zero-emission mobility provided that the source of power to make the hydrogen fuel also comes from renewable sources and again Scotland is well endowed with such power sources. Scotland has been self sufficient in renewable energy now for a few years and the increasing pace of development in efficient, sustainable power projects such as the Inverurie Energy Park under development by Agile Energy  is adding to Scotland's renewable and sustainable powerhouse.

Hydrogen fuel cell trains rail 
Hydrogen fuel cell trains are already in passenger use in Germany 

“Eversholt Rail has an enviable record of innovation across its rolling stock portfolio,”  Said Eversholt Rail Client Relations Director Stephen Timothy.

“Combining the experience gained from the successful Coradia iLint and Class 321 Renatus programmes will deliver a hydrogen-powered multiple unit product that will meet sponsors’ and train operators’ aspirations for the earliest possible fleet introduction.”

“Transport in the UK has evolved over centuries from the world’s first steam train to the tens of thousands of electric vehicles on our roads today thanks to our nation of innovators,”  said Claire Perry MP, UK Minister for Energy and Clean Growth.

“This new hydrogen powered train, which will only emit water, is further proof of the UK’s continued creativity to transform the way we travel as we continue to move to a greener, cleaner economy. The UK is on track when it comes to growing a world-leading hydrogen economy, and through our modern Industrial Strategy we are providing £23 million to power our ambition to be the ‘go-to’ place for first-class hydrogen transport.”


Covanta & Partners Reach Financial Close on 21 MW Scottish Waste to Energy Plant

Covanta Holding Corporation has achieved financial close on the Earls Gate Energy Centre with strategic development partner Green Investment Group.

Image ©

Covanta and GIG will each hold a 25% equity ownership in the project, with co-investor and developer Brockwell Energy owning the remaining 50% stake.

"With today's announcement we mark our entry into the UK market alongside GIG, following on the heels of our very successful partnership on the Dublin project earlier this year," said Covanta's President and Chief Executive Officer, Stephen J. Jones.

According to Covanta, the combined heat and power facility located in Grangemouth, Scotland, Earls Gate is a well-structured project with long-term waste and energy contracts.

Each year, the facility will prevent approximately 216,000 tonnes of mixed household, commercial and industrial waste that cannot be recycled from entering landfills. Instead, the waste will be used as fuel to generate low-carbon heat and power that will be supplied to a co-located industrial site host.

Construction of the facility will be led by Constructions Industrielles de la Mediterranee (CNIM), which Covanta said has deep experience in energy from waste construction, primarily in Europe and the UK, and is expected to take approximately 36 months to complete.

CNIM will also provide operations and maintenance services when the project commences operations in late 2021. Covanta will provide technical oversight services during construction and operations.

Chemical manufacturer and site service provider, CalaChem, has entered into a long-term Energy Supply Agreement (ESA) for the offtake of electricity and steam produced by EGEC. The steam will be used in the manufacturing processes of CalaChem and others on site.

The ESA is expected to decarbonise CalaChem’s annual energy consumption by approximately 39kt CO2e per year – the equivalent of taking approximately 17,000 cars off the road for a year. The remaining electricity will be exported to the grid.

Earls Gate Project and Covanta Investment Details

  • 216,000 metric tonnes per year of waste processing capacity
  • 21.5 megawatt equivalent generation capacity
  • 75% of the waste secured under long-term agreements
  • 100% of electricity and steam output under a long-term agreement with industrial site host
  • Total project cost of £210 million with approximately 70% financed through non-recourse project-based debt

"Earls Gate is the first of four advanced development projects in the UK to reach financial close, with the Rookery South, Protos and Newhurst projects lined up close behind,” said Jones.

“We are very pleased with our partnership with GIG and expect it to continue to add meaningful value as we bring additional projects to market. Our expectation remains that these UK projects alone will provide $40 to $50 million in incremental annual free cash flow to Covanta when they are all fully operational," concluded the CEO.


New Payment Scheme to Replace FIT's

'New era' for UK solar, as government U-turn promises payments for exported renewable power

The new Smart Export Guarantee would ensure households and businesses are paid for any solar power fed back to the grid

Claire Perry unveils plans for a Smart Export Guarantee designed to ensure households and businesses are paid for the power they export to the grid

The government has today responded to fierce criticism of its plans to axe support for solar installations in a way that would have effectively required to households and businesses to provide power to the grid for free, unveiling proposals for a new Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) to ensure small scale generators can sell any excess power.

Speaking in the House of Commons this morning, Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry announced the launch of a new consultation on proposals to create a new market for the sale of power from new small scale renewables installations such as rooftop solar panels, following the imminent closure of the feed-in tariff incentive scheme.

The new scheme could also generate benefits for the energy system as a whole, she added, arguing it should "reduce strain on energy networks with a more decentralised and smarter local network delivering resilience much more cost effectively, unlocking innovative products for electric vehicles and home energy storage".

She hailed the proposed scheme as "a win-win for consumers and the environment and a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy".

The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said the SEG scheme would encourage suppliers to competitively bid for electricity generated by onsite renewables, giving exporters the best market price for any excess power they provide to the grid.

The government said the new scheme would prove more cost effective than the current FiT approach, whereby households and businesses which install small scale electricity generation are assumed to export 50 per cent of the electricity they produce and are paid for it - even when the electricity is not needed by the grid or they export less than 50 per cent.

The new scheme would instead make use of smart meter technology to ascertain how much power any installation is providing to the grid, allowing households and businesses to sell it at market prices. The approach could also open the door to wider use of energy storage systems and smart grid technologies, which could allow households and businesses to provide power back to the grid during periods of peak demand when prices for exported power will be highest.

The consultation is now scheduled to run until March 5.

James Court, director of policy and external affairs at the Renewable Energy Association, said the proposals had the potential to "usher in a new era for small-scale renewables and offer a subsidy free means for homeowners and businesses to generate their own low-cost, low-carbon electricity".

"It was clear that no-one should be asked to give away electricity for free, and we strongly advocated for a market based solution and are pleased this approach has been adopted," he said. "Whilst the details around the transition from the former subsidy scheme will be important, this signal of support for the sector from government will help our members continue to provide smarter, cleaner and cheaper electricity in the decade to come."

The new consultation follows a major row late last year when the government confirmed plans to scrap the FiT scheme from March 31 this year. It failed then to respond to industry warnings that the reforms would effectively force households and businesses installing solar panels without accompanying storage capacity after that date to provide some of their power to the grid to free.

Speaking at the time a government spokesperson said falling solar costs meant it was the right time to minimise costs for billpayers by ending the feed-in tariff and indicated the government would "consult shortly on a future framework for small-scale renewable energy generation". But they provided no indication the proposed future framework would ensure generators will in future be able to sell their exported power, prompting fierce criticism from green groups who branded the decision as "perverse" and "bizarre".

Green businesses and campaigners are likely to broadly welcome the new proposals, which promise to provide a boost to the market for solar installations, storage technologies, and other forms of onsite renewables.

However, some concerns are likely to remain over the gap between the FiT scheme ending this spring and the new SEGs scheme being fully up and running, as well as how the new market for exported power will be created and regulated given the high profile technical challenges and delays faced by the government's national smart meter roll out.

It also remains to be seen how energy companies will package purchase agreements for exported power and whether the price they are willing to pay will improve the financial argument for businesses, schools, and households to install onsite generation technologies.

Many industry experts maintain the best financial returns for solar installations are to be found by installing battery storage systems in conjunction with solar arrays, to ensure the vast majority of the power generated is used a site. It's a calculation that will only be strengthened as solar and storage costs continue to fall.

Chris Hewett, CEO at the Solar Trade Association, said the group gave the proposals "a cautious welcome".

"We are very pleased the government is unequivocal; small generators will be compensated for the power they contribute to the system, but the issue remains providing remuneration at a fair market rate," he said.

He said it was encouraging that only installations that meet independent industry standards would qualify for SEGs and that the proposals identify the System Sell Price as accurately reflecting the market value of power spilled to the grid.

"However, the consultation acknowledges many of the market barriers we have raised with government and the associated costs," he added. "Our worry is that these may impede the ability of suppliers to offer fair and meaningful rates, even though they may wish to. Customers are freely able to switch suppliers in a competitive market so where these costs fall remains vital to developing meaningful offers."


Decentralised Power Supplies

Consumers could have specialist EV power suppliers or buy from neighbours under proposed new rules

by New Power  January 3, 2019

Consumers could break away from having a single supplier for all their power by the start of 2020. An industry change that could take effect by then will mean customers can take some of their power from another supplier, such as a community energy scheme or neighbour, or they could have a dedicated supplier for one part of their usage such as charging electric vehicles. That opens new possibilities for competition, the industry believes.

The change will be enabled by a modification to industry rules proposed today by New Anglia Energy, which circumvents current industry processes that require customers to take all their power via a single ‘hub’ supplier.

Proposer New Anglia Energy says the modification (P379) “will address a significant barrier to competition in the market rules.”  It notes that although some schemes disaggregating customers’ volumes, “This is only possible on the basis of agreement between those parties and a single default supplier, and these activities are not recognised in the BSC market rules.”

The modification would introduce a new Customer Notification Agent (CNA) to the process – possibly an app or platform,  which will reconcile power flows through the meter so payments can be allocated.

The option was set out early in 2018 by settlements company Elexon (see our article from May 2018, which said system changes made to accommodate GB participation in European balancing markets (Project Terre) had laid the groundwork for the new approach. However, the market rule change had to be proposed by a Balancing and Settlement Code (BSC) party.

New Anglia Energy said, “given the importance of the work to deliver the joint BEIS/Ofgem Smart, Flexible Energy Plan, … we believe the solution should be developed and tested during 2019, with an initial desire to implement in early 2020.” Its proposed timeline would see workgroups assess the change and industry consultation made, with a final modification proposal submitted for decision in October. That could allow new offerings to be made to customers at the start of 2020.


New Grangemouth incinerator claims to prevent landfilling a fifth of Scotland’s annual waste

19th December

By Brian Donnelly  @BrianDonnellyHTBusiness Correspondent

Image of Earls Gate Energy Centre and Edward Northam, head of GIG Europe

Image of Earls Gate Energy Centre and Edward Northam, head of GIG Europe

WORK on a new £210 million Energy from Waste plant that will prevent the equivalent of a fifth of Scotland’s total annual landfilled from going underground each year is under way after financial close was announced by its partners. 2 comments

The project in Grangemouth was launched by Edinburgh-based Brockwell Energy, which funded and led the development over the past three years, and the Green Investment Group (GIG), also rooted in the Scottish capital, and is described as having "unparalleled environmental credentials".

Earls Gate Energy Centre (EGEC) is the first investment in Scotland for GIG (formerly the Green Investment Bank) since it was privatised by Macquarie last year.

Brockwell will retain 50 per cent of EGEC while GIG together with its co-investor Covanta Energy will acquire the other 50% of EGEC though a jointly owned vehicle.

The move will "future-proof full time local jobs", said Alex Lambie, Brockwell Energy's chief executive.

It is claimed the heat and power generated will make it one of the most efficient EfW plants in the UK.ADVERTISING

The EGEC facility will prevent 216,000 tonnes of household and commercial waste going to landfill each year - about a fifth of the country's annual total - and provide low-carbon heat and power to four local industries.

The remaining electricity will be exported to the grid.

Mr Lambie said: "The success of EGEC reflects the skills and dedication of the Brockwell and GIG teams and delivers a new world-class renewable CHP (combined heat and power) facility to support the site.

"This is the first of a number of EfW projects that we will build over the next three years.

"As one of the most efficient plants in the UK, EGEC has unparalleled environmental credentials.

"The use of heat and power on-site will future-proof full-time local jobs."

He added: "It will also create roles during construction, including a range of professional, skilled and entry-level positions and apprenticeships."

Brockwell also aims to deliver community benefits focused on employment and training, support for local businesses and education programmes, it said.

HeraldScotland:

Edward Northam, head of GIG Europe, above, said that 2017 saw Scotland recycle more waste than it sent to landfill.

He said that is "a fantastic achievement, but there remains a lack of capacity to unlock the value to businesses and households from converting residual waste into low-carbon energy".

He added: "The Earls Gate facility will play a major role in changing that.

"GIG is very proud of its Scottish roots and base in Edinburgh.

"Earls Gate is our nineteenth investment in Scotland and we’re delighted it will further support the decarbonisation of the Scottish economy."

Neil Partlett, chief executive of CalaChem, the chemical manufacturer and site utility service provider, said: "CalaChem has been a part of Grangemouth industry for almost 100 years.

"In addition to improved environmental performance and operational reliability, EGEC will enhance CalaChem’s international competitiveness by controlling overall energy costs."

The heat and power plant will use mixed household, commercial and industrial waste from the Central Belt that would otherwise enter landfills every year.

Matthew Mulcahy, of Covanta, said: "Today marks a significant milestone in our valued partnership with GIG, as Earls Gate represents the first of our four advanced UK development projects to reach financial close.

"The project is well-structured with long-term contracts on both waste and energy and will provide critical sustainable waste disposal capacity in Scotland.

"It will also greatly benefit the local economy by supplying neighbouring industry with reliable, low-carbon heat and power."

HeraldScotland:

GIG was launched by the UK Government as GIB in 2012 to boost the green economy and sold last year to Australian bank Macquarie for a reported £2 billion.

EGEC, as GIG’s nineteenth Scottish project, follows a range of investments supporting sustainable economic growth in Scotland.

It says that by preventing volumes of waste equivalent to around 20% of Scotland’s total annual landfilled household waste from going to landfill, the facility will make a significant contribution to the local authority’s ability to achieve the goals of Scotland’s biodegradable municipal waste landfill ban, which is due to come into effect on January 2021.

Brockwell moved to "myth-bust" that "Scotland has too many incinerators", adding: "Although there are a number of EfW plants consented in Scotland, very few of these are expected to be built."

Permission to replace a gas-fired plant at Earls Gate was granted in January 2017.


100% Renewable Energy across Europe is More Cost Effective than the Current Energy System and Leads to Zero Emissions Before 2050

As climate discussions are underway among global leaders at COP24, the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference, a new report released Tuesday showcases the feasibility of a European energy transition to 100% renewable sources. The new scientific study shows that the transition to 100% renewable energy will be economically competitive with today’s conventional fossil fuel and nuclear energy system, and lead greenhouse gas emissions to zero before 2050, infromed Energy Watch Group.

The study’s financial case for an energy transition becomes even stronger when taking into account significant projected job growth and the indirect economic benefits for health, security, and the environment, that were not factored into the study.

Undertaken by LUT University and Energy Watch Group, the first-of-its-kind scientific modeling study has simulated a full energy transition in Europe across the power, heat, transport, and desalination sectors by 2050. The study’s publication came after approximately four and a half years of data collection, and technical and financial modeling under the research and analysis of 14 scientists.

“This report confirms that a transition to 100% renewable energy across all sectors is possible and not more expensive than today’s energy system,” said Hans-Josef Fell, former German parliamentarian and president of Energy Watch Group, during its COP24 press conference, “It demonstrates that Europe can switch to a zero-emission energy system. Therefore, European leaders can and should do much more for climate protection than what is currently on the table.”

 

Some of the study’s key findings:

  • The transition will require mass electrification across all energy sectors. Total power generation will exceed four to five times that of 2015, with electricity constituting for more than 85% of primary energy demand in 2050. Simultaneously, fossil fuels and nuclear are phased out completely across all sectors.
  • Electricity generation in the 100% renewable energy system will consist of the following mix of power sources: solar PV (62%), wind (32%), hydropower (4%), bioenergy (2%) and geothermal energy (<1%).
  • Wind and solar make up 94% of total electricity supply by 2050, and approximately 85% of the renewable energy supply will come from decentralized local and regional generation.
  • 100% renewable energy is not more expensive: The levelised cost of energy for a fully sustainable energy system in Europe remains stable, ranging from 50-60 €/MWh through the transition.
  • Europe’s annual greenhouse gas emissions decline steadily through the transition, from approximately 4200 MtCO2 eq. in 2015 to zero by 2050 across all sectors.
  • A 100% renewable power system will employ 3 to 3.5 mln people. The approximate 800,000 jobs in the European coal industry of 2015 will be zeroed out by 2050, and will be overcompensated by more than 1.5-mln new jobs in the renewable energy sector.

“The results of the study showcase that the current goals set forth under the Paris Agreement can and should be accelerated,” said Dr. Christian Breyer, professor for solar economy at Finland’s LUT University, “The transition to 100% clean, renewable energy is very realistic, right now, with the technology we have available today.”

The study concludes with policy recommendations to promote a swift uptake of renewable energy and zero-emission technology adoption. Primary measures promoted in the report include support of sector coupling, private investments, tax benefits, legal privileges, with a simultaneous phase out of coal and fossil fuel subsides. By implementing strong political frameworks, the report shows that a transition to 100% renewable energy can be realised even earlier than 2050.

 

Simulation of the energy transition in Europe is part of the study “Global Energy System based on 100% Renewable Energy”, co-funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) and the Stiftung Mercator. State-of-the-art modeling, developed by LUT University, computes a cost-optimal mix of technologies based on locally available renewable energy sources for the world structured in 145 regions and determines a most cost-effective energy transition pathway for energy supply on an hourly resolution for an entire reference year. The global energy transition scenario is carried out in 5-year time periods from 2015 until 2050. The results are aggregated into nine major regions of the world: Europe, Eurasia, MENA, Sub-Saharan Africa, SAARC, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, North America and South America.

 

Energy Watch Group (EWG) is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan global network of scientists and parliamentarians. EWG conducts research and publishes independent studies and analyses on global energy developments. The mission of the organization is to provide energy policy with objective information.

LUT University has pioneered as a science university combining technology and business since 1969. It has been recognised in international rankings as one of the world’s top universities.Clean energy and water, a circular economy and sustainable business are pivotal questions for humankind. LUT University applies its expertise in technology and business to seek solutions to these questions. LUT University strongly promotes entrepreneurship stemming from its scientific research. An example of this is the business accelerator Green Campus Open, which supports new spin-off companies that are based on LUT’s research. LUT’s international science community consists of 6500 students and experts.