Glasgow heat firm eyes Aberdeen energy sources

Aberdeen’s rivers and seas are being eyed up by a Scottish renewable’s company as a lucrative energy resource.

Dave Pearson, director of Glasgow based cooling company Star Renewable Energy, yesterday said his firm could harness the power of the Don, the Dee and the North Sea with giant heat pumps.

Mr Pearson, who has 40 years’ experience in the industrial refrigeration sector, said: “If we harness local energy sources, such as a river, in Aberdeen’s case there’s three sources – The Don, The Dee and the North Sea – that heat can be harvested and delivered to the district heating networks that either exist of could be built in the city.

To read more on Energy Voice, click here.


UK to Review Climate Goals, Explore 'Net-Zero' Emissions Strategy

The UK will review its long-term climate target and explore how to reach "net-zero" emissions by 2050, Environment Minister Claire Perry announced Tuesday.

The UK is the first G7 country to commit to such an analysis, which would seek to align the country's emissions trajectory to the Paris agreement's more ambitious goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C.


The review will happen after the IPCC releases its special report on 1.5°C in October in order to use the best and most recent science, Perry said. Laurence Tubiana, a key architect of the Paris agreement, praised the announcement: "This decision ... sends a strong message to the EU and other big economies ... it's time they too considered what more they can do."

As reported by The Guardian:

"Ways of meeting the net-zero target could include investing in projects to grow trees and restore soils, to take up greater carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, as well as more controversial measures such as investing in emissions reduction projects overseas. Even with such methods, the UK is likely to have to bring forward targets on phasing out diesel and petrol engines, and expand renewable energy generation and, potentially, nuclear power.

Many actions under Conservative-led governments since 2010, however, have dismayed climate campaigners and may have to be reconsidered. These include the failure to insulate the UK's draughty homes, limits on renewable energy, the scrapping of carbon capture and storage projects and tax breaks for fossil fuels."

For a deeper dive:

The Guardian, Reuters, Independent, Carbon Brief, FT, Climate Home, BusinessGreen

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

Related Articles Around the Web


Solar power used in the UK’s first blockchain energy trade

Published: 18 Apr 2018, 17:27

By:

David Pratt's photo

Representatives of Verv at Banister House Estate in Hackney where the first trade took place. Image: Verv.

Solar generation from the rooftop array of a housing block in London has been traded to an adjacent tower in the UK’s first energy trade using blockchain technology.

The trade took place at Hackney’s Banister House Estate, where a trial has been underway with Repowering London since November 2017 aiming to enable residents to use local renewable energy sources to lower their energy bills on the road to creating “a fully empowered, almost self-sustaining community”.

It saw 1kWh of energy being sent from an array of solar panels with excess energy atop one of the 13 blocks on the estate – all with installed solar – to a resident residing in another block.

It was conducted by Verv as part of Ofgem’s regulatory Sandbox initiative, which is testing innovative services and business models not possible under current regulation.

The trade was enabled by Verv’s renewable energy trading platform which uses the company’s artificial intelligence-based smart hubs in participating residents’ flats, and Powervault batteries in communal areas, to calculate the energy demand profile of homes, determine the solar energy supply in each storage battery and in turn allocate green power to residents based on their needs.

“Until now, we have been unable to take advantage of the solar panels on the roofs to power our homes due to the structure of the UK electricity market,” said a Banister House community member.

“With the installation of our Verv smart hubs, we are being empowered to generate, store and trade our own community energy and I’m really excited to see how this trial evolves. It’s safe to say energy costs are very high and it’s important, more now than ever, that solutions be sought.”

Any savings applied to the residents’ energy bills are expected to be more significant in the Banister estate as a lot of the residents are on pre-pay meters.

Peter Davies, chief executive and founder of Verv, said: “We’re so pleased to be bringing the Verv renewable energy trading platform to life on Hackney’s Banister House Estate, we want to use this technology to empower the residents to innovate and create their own trading community.

“We plan to use the results of this trial to roll out more energy trading communities across the UK and in turn globally.”


Households to power the grid in biggest UK trial

Britain’s homes are set to increasingly play the role of power plant this year following the world’s largest roll out of electric car chargers that can sell stored electricity to the UK grid.

Energy supplier Ovo Energy said the largest ever trial of smart vehicle chargers will mean electric car owners “never need to pay for a mile of driving again” because they will automatically store power when it’s cheap and sell it back to the grid at a higher price during peak demand periods.

The chargers are part of Ovo’s VCharge range which also includes powerful home batteries.  These allow energy customers to store, use and sell electricity, whether or not they have their own roof-mounted solar panels or not.

Ovo boss Stephen Fitzpatrick said: “This is the first step in building the distributed energy system of the future."

He added: “We’re enabling thousands of [electric vehicle] batteries to help balance the grid in times of peak demand, more renewable energy to come onto the system, and households to reduce their electricity bills.”

The independent supplier said on Wednesday it will trial the "vehicle-to-grid" power systems across 1,000 of its customers who drive Nissan electric vehicles before they are made commercially available.

Customers outside of the trial will be able to buy smart vehicle chargers from the supplier which automatically charge up during cheap, off-peak times which are typically during the early hours of the morning.

“Our completely new approach to energy has been made possible by the convergence of emerging technologies, applying intelligence, and years of working with customers to redesign the entire energy system,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.

The launch of VCharge comes after a major spending spree last summer in which Ovo bought a string of technology companies to gain an edge in the burgeoning smart grid market.

Ovo clinched a partnership deal with Chargemaster to supply its more than 5,000 public charge points with renewable power in exchange for a free membership for its customers on the EV Everywhere fixed energy tariff.

The company also snapped up charge point specialist Charged EV and of Indra Renewable Technologies, an electric vehicle components and services supplier.


Investment secured for BiFab

New investment has been secured for BiFab and its yards at Burntisland and Methil.

It has been announced that Canadian company JV Driver, through its subsidiary DF Barnes, has acquired BiFab as part of an agreement brokered by the Scottish Government to support new opportunities at the Fife yards as well as its base in the Western Isles, for fabrication and construction in the marine, renewables and energy sector.

JV Driver is one of Canada’s largest independently owned industrial construction companies. It’s subsidiary, DF Barnes has been a consistent employer in the oil and gas, fabrication and marine industries for over 80 years.

DF Barnes and JV Driver will bring project expertise and financial security to the company as it bids for new contracts.

BiFab will in turn bring global reach and expansion to DF Barnes to the benefit of both organisations in Scotland and in Canada.

As part of the agreement, the Scottish Government will take a minority shareholding in the new company to demonstrate continued commitment to supporting the future of the yard.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Economy Secretary Keith Brown who oversaw the negotiations for the Scottish Government met with JV Driver and DF Barnes executive leaders at the Methil yard before meeting the GMB union and shop stewards to discuss the agreement.

Mr Brown will make a statement to the Scottish Parliament later today (Tuesday).

The First Minister said: “We are delivering on the commitment I made last year that we would stand by BiFab and work to secure a long term future for the company.

“We have been in negotiations with DF Barnes for a number of months and today is a significant step forward in our efforts to restore BiFab to its place at the centre of Scotland’s marine energy industry.

“DF Barnes acquisition is a key milestone for all three BiFab yards and as a sign of our commitment to the company’s future, the Scottish Government will maintain a close interest by taking a minority shareholding in the company.

“There is a lot of hard work ahead, and there is no magic bullet for these yards but the commitment of DF Barnes to securing a new future for the business at Burntisland, Methil and Arnish is a hugely positive step and I believe that gives BiFab the best chance of winning future contracts and securing new work.

“This announcement is also a tribute to the efforts of the trade unions and employees at BiFab whose dignified actions throughout this difficult time have played a huge part in enabling us to bring in new investors and creating new employment opportunities in Fife, the Western Isles and for the Scottish economy as a whole.”

Jason Fudge, DF Barnes CEO, said: “DF Barnes is excited to now have a major presence in Scotland.

“Scotland has been an admired world leader in the offshore oil and gas and renewable energy sectors and we are delighted to join with the employees of BiFab and the people of Scotland to ensure the continued growth of BiFab for the benefit of all. This is a great day for us.”

Sean Power, VP in business development for the Canadian firm, said: “We are looking forward to a long and successful partnership with BiFab.

“We will work closely with management and the union representatives to ensure continuity for the people who work for the company.

“We are sensitive to the commitment that employees have made to BiFab and will work hard to meet their expectations.”

Mr Brown, Economy Secretary, added: “This agreement gives the workforce, the company and the government the best possible chance of securing a vibrant future for these yards.

“The Scottish Government believes BiFab can be a thriving business, supporting Scotland’s offshore renewables and oil and gas industry as well as competing internationally.

“As the current contract comes to an end, and while efforts go into winning new work there will continue to be difficult times for the yard and there can be no guarantees that contracts will be won but I am confident this agreement, which sees the Scottish Government become a minority shareholder in the company, will deliver for BiFab’s future in Fife and the Western Isles.”


UK shale has a "vital" role to play alongside renewables, gas firm says

After the so-called Beast from the East exposed the fragile state of the UK's energy security, a leading shale explorer today said British shale gas production has a "vital" role to play alongside the development of renewable energy.

Egdon Resources, the second biggest London-listed company with exposure to UK shale gas, said the cold snap in March, which caused wholesale gas prices to soar as National Grid warned Britain did not have enough supplies to meet rocketing demand, highlighted the importance of indigenous production of oil and gas.

"Even as we transform to a low carbon economy, we will be producing gas," Mark Abbott, the managing director of Egdon, told City A.M. "We are going to be using it. It's not about if we’re using it, it’s about where it comes from."

Philip Stephens, the chairman of Egdon, added that while challenges "no doubt" remain – including strong public opposition – the UK shale business is "gaining considerable traction" this year. He cited the drilling of the UK's first ever horizontal shale gas well by Cuadrilla earlier this month, with fracking set to begin there in mid-2018.

Importantly, this will test the commerciality of UK shale gas, Abbott said. "There's no doubt that within ground there’s a lot of gas. It's about how much we can get out commercially that is key."

Stephens said:

With an increased level of industry activity due to take place over the coming months, we believe the spotlight will shine more brightly on this exciting space, and Egdon’s sizeable acreage position ensures we represent a compelling vehicle for investors to benefit from the eventual uptick in much needed onshore activity.

With the release of its interim results today, Egdon said it expects to continue to make progress in the second half of the year.

The firm, which holds interests in 43 licences in the UK, said oil and gas revenues during the six months to January were flat at £0.51m while its loss widened to £0.85m from a £0.73m loss the previous year. It has £4.1m of cash in the bank.

Egdon expects drilling at its key Springs Road site with operator Igas to begin in the middle of this year, and it is also hoping to gain planning permission to develop its conventional oil discovery at Wressle "after many setbacks".

"Success in these prospects will significantly enhance our future," Stephens said.

Read more: Ineos to launch legal challenge to Scottish government's fracking ban


BE INSPIRED AND INFORMED BY THE ALL-ENERGY/SUMS 2018 CONFERENCES IN GLASGOW, UK

With well over 400 speakers taking part in over 60 conference sessions and five exhibition show floor programmes the All-Energy and co-located Smart Urban Mobility Solutions conferences (SEC, Glasgow 2-3 May) are set to inspire and inform those attending the annual events. The programmes for all are online and are free to attend for all with relevant business/professional interests.

With well over 400 speakers taking part in over 60 conference sessions and five exhibition show floor programmes the All-Energy and co-located Smart Urban Mobility Solutions conferences (SEC, Glasgow 2-3 May) are set to inspire and inform those attending the annual events. The programmes for all are online and are free to attend for all with relevant business/professional interests.

"We have a truly stellar line-up," explains Event Director, Jonathan Heastie from Reed Exhibitions who own and organise the duo of events. "With all four ‘pillars' of All-Energy - renewable power, low carbon heat, energy efficiency, and low carbon transport - come a myriad of luminaries speaking about and discussing the challenges, the opportunities and, importantly, the innovative solutions

"We are delighted to welcome Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland back to the show to deliver a keynote address and visit the exhibition. Her presence will be backed by two of her Ministers also giving keynote addresses - Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy speaking on Thursday 3 May at 09.10 on the Energy Strategy he launched in December; and Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for Transport and the Islands, talking in the opening session of co-located Smart Urban Mobility Solutions (SUMS 2018).

"That's not where political involvement stops. Claire Perry MP, the UK's Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, hopes (diary permitting) to join us on Thursday 3 May."

Plenary sessions set the scene
The plenary sessions that start each day's proceedings set the scene with exceptional speakers. At the first day's session, chaired by Keith Anderson ScottishPower's CEO, the First Minister will speak following the ‘Civic Welcome' by Glasgow's Lord Provost. Next, Shell UK's Country Chair, Sinead Lynch will focus on energy transition; The Leader of Glasgow City Council will set the Glasgow scene; and Strathclyde University's Professor Sir Jim McDonald will look back over the year's achievements and predict more to come.

All-Energy's close working relationship with Innovate UK sees their Director - Clean Growth and Infrastructure, Ian Miekle, in conversation with Graham Oakes, Upside Energy's Founder and Chief Scientist. Later in the day Innovate UK's Clean Growth and Infrastructure Innovation Showcase aims to connect 36 innovators to investors, potential supply chain partners and new customers to drive forward their organisation's and the UK's clean growth.

Day 2's plenary session asks "Electric free for all - anarchy or ecstasy? Will decentralised generation, digital disruption, decarbonisation of transport and customer choice bring benefit to the UK or our power system to its knees?' involving a panel of luminaries chaired by Lindsay McQuade, CEO ScottishPower Renewables.

It is not only in the plenary sessions that stars abound. In sessions devoted to every form of renewable generation, to low carbon heating, energy efficiency, and low carbon transport (through the medium of Smart Urban Mobility Solutions) experts in their field will be looking at the latest developments and innovations. There are sessions aimed at specific end-users too - farmers and landowners, those involved in community and local energy, specialists within local authorities; and with the essential links - finance and funding; and the grid -coming under the conference spotlight too. There are also sessions on energy storage; decarbonising industry; on carbon capture and storage; on sustainable and smart cities; disruptive technology; and international trade. For the first time there will be CPD accredited sessions for installers and for DNOs/IDNOs. Once again the 1-2-1 ‘Meet the Buyers' Share fair makes a welcome return to All-Energy.

Major exhibition and networking opportunities
All four All-Energy ‘pillars' are reflected in the major exhibition with some 300 exhibiting companies and sector-specific trails to be followed, to which has been added the Innovation Trail.

"Visitors can start planning their visit to what is always a busy show with a tremendous sense of buzzy-ness and participants' determination to do business, by using our trails to locate the exhibitors on whose stands will be the solutions for which they are looking," explains Jonathan Heastie.

"Onshore wind tops the list at the moment with 79 companies focusing on it; that is closely followed by offshore wind with 63 exhibitors opting to be on that particular trail. Energy efficiency is currently in third place with 59 companies; solar and wave and tidal (marine renewable energy in the conference) are hard on its heels in joint fourth position with 57 organisations listed, with energy storage not far behind at 53.

"This year we have introduced two free guided tours to help Heat and Energy Efficiency buyers explore All-Energy more efficiently. Other introductions include networking opportunities for farmers and local authority officials; and an investors' breakfast bringing entrepreneurs and investors together.

"Naturally we couldn't hold All-Energy without its acclaimed Giant Networking Evening. This along with the Civic Reception generously hosted by the Lord Provost of the City of Glasgow takes place once again at the Glasgow Science Centre and is open to all visitors, exhibitors and members of the press attending the duo of shows."

Strong support
Shepherd and Wedderburn is All-Energy's headline sponsor. Other sponsors include the Crown Estate Scotland, Element Power, Innovate UK, ScottishPower Renewables and WPO. All-Energy is supported by an impressive list of trade associations, government departments, professional bodies and learned societies, and is held in association with the Renewable Energy Association; Highlands and Islands Enterprise; Scottish Enterprise; Innovate UK; Sustainable Glasgow; and the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG), with Glasgow as its Host City, and the Society for Underwater Technology as Learned Society Patron.

Further information and online registration
Full information on all aspects of All-Energy and SUMS 2018 and free online registration are at www.all-energy.co.uk and www.smarturbanmobilitysolutions.com. Both events are neatly encompassed in the show preview at http://www.all-energy.co.uk/Media/Preview/


New UK biofuel targets take effect April 15

In the U.K., the new Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation came into force on April 15, requiring fuel companies to nearly triple the amount of renewable fuel they supply by 2032, introducing a new incentive for the production of fuels from waste, and bringing in new transportations sectors, such as aviation.

The U.K. Renewable Energy Association noted the RTFO supports ethanol and biodiesel, as well as biomethane and renewable hydrogen.

According to the U.K. Department for Transport, changes to the RTFO will require owners of transport fuel who supply at least 450,000 liters (118,877 gallons) per year to ensure the mix is at least 12.4 percent biofuel by 2032. The industry is currently only expected to meet a target of 4.75 percent biofuel. An intermediate target of 9.75 percent is also set for 2020.

The regulations also set an additional target for advanced waste-based renewable fuels that starts at 0.1 percent in 2019 and increases to 2.8 percent by 2032.

An initial cap of 4 percent crop-based biofuels is set for 2018. The cap is reduced annually from 2021 to reach 3 percent in 2026 and 2 percent in 2032.

In addition, the regulations bring renewable aviation fuels and renewable fuels of non-biological origin into the scheme.

The U.K. government is also challenging the sector to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emission by 6 percent by 2020. That reduction, when coupled with the RTFO changes, is expected to support the U.K.’s low carbon fuel industry while helping to makes its transport sector more sustainable.

“This is an exciting time for renewable transport,” said Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the REA. “These new regulations will fire the starting gun on the U.K.’s development of novel fuels for aviation and other forms of transport which are hard to decarbonize, and build on our leadership position in the production of renewable fuels for road transport.”

“The prospects are great for increasing the amount of renewable gas used for fueling heavy goods vehicles,” added John Baldwin, chair of REA’s Biogas Group. “Running these HGVs on green gas reduces carbon emissions by almost 90 percent, plus it reduces particulates, NOx and noise.

“Fleet operators such as Waitrose and Asda are already converting to renewable gas, their drivers love the new vehicles, and these regulations will encourage more fleets to do so in the future,” Baldwin added.

On April 10, a few days before the new RTFO came into effect, U.K.-based Vivergo Fuels announced its 420 MMly ethanol plant is resuming operations following a four-month shutdown. The shutdown was due to weak ethanol prices, which the company said were driven, in part, by government inaction on the future of renewable fuels and current market conditions. Vevergo conducted maintenance and upgrade projects during the shutdown.

Vivergo said it hopes the RTFO will help improve conditions over the coming months, but stressed that the government should introduce E10 by the end of the year.


Carbon reduction scheme launched in Moray village

Dr. Roger Doudna is one of the initiators of the service and Director of the Park Ecovillage Trust’s Carbon Strategy

A new carbon reduction scheme has been launched in Moray to help businesses, individuals and visitors offset their greenhouse gas emissions.

The Findhorn Foundation hopes is asking for small donations to help it support eco-friendly projects in developing countries.

Those include supplying cookstoves to Kenya that do not require the burning of wood or charcoal to operate and installing wind turbines in western India.

It is estimated that 4,000 people visit Findhorn from locations across the globe every year and the foundation has opened a website that can calculate the greenhouse gas emitted by every journey to the village, whether by air, rail or road.

And the foundation is asking visitors to consider donating to sustainability projects in order to cancel out the extra carbon dioxide their trip has added to the atmosphere.

Paul Dickinson, executive chairman of the carbon disclosure project, said: “The Findhorn Foundation has for decades been a pioneer of ecological responsibility.

”People from across the world want to visit this magical place, but they are naturally concerned about the emissions from travel.”

While Findhorn has a small ”ecological footprint” due to the use of renewable energy and water recycling systems, the foundation says the village’s carbon consumption is in line with the UK average.

It is hoping to ”lead by example” with the offsetting scheme, in order to further reduce its carbon footprint and encourage others elsewhere to look into similar initiatives.

Mr Dickinson added: ”One way to take action directly is to offset our carbon emissions.

”That means balancing our emissions by investing in projects that store an equal amount of carbon in trees, protect forests from being cut down or projects that replace fossil fuels with renewable energies.”

The organisation will hold its own climate change conference in April 2019, with an eclectic range of interesting and high profile speakers.

They will include an Eskimo elder, a teenage activist currently suing the US government and one of the planners behind the 2015 Paris climate accord.

For more information on the foundation and its projects, visit findhorn.org/carbon-offsetting.


Vattenfall installs first 8.8MW wind turbine at EOWDC offshore Scotland

EBR Staff Writer Published 11 April 2018

Swedish utility Vattenfall has installed the first of 11 MHI Vestas turbines at its European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) off the coast of Aberdeen, Scotland.

The turbine is one of two machines that have been enhanced with further internal power modes from 8.4MW to 8.8MW to generate clean energy from the EOWDC, which is said to be Scotland’s largest offshore wind test and demonstration facility.

Vattenfall said installation marks the first commercial deployment of an 8.8MW model at an offshore wind farm.

Vattenfall EOWDC project director Adam Ezzamel said: “The first turbine installation is a significant achievement and credit to the diligence and engineering know-how of the project team and contractors.

“For it to be one of the 8.8MW models make it an even more momentous moment because it further endorses the EOWDC as a world-class hub of offshore wind innovation.”

The two enhanced turbines along with the nine 8.4MW turbines increase the capacity of EOWDC to 93.2MW.

Vattenfall business area wind head Gunnar Groebler said: “The turbines for the EOWDC, Scotland’s largest offshore wind test and demonstration facility, help secure Vattenfall’s vision to be fossil fuel free within one generation.

“The EOWDC, through its innovative approach to cost reduction and pioneering technologies, leads the industry drive towards generating clean and competitive wind energy power – one that will reinforce Scotland’s global energy status.”

The facility will be able to generate clean electricity equivalent to more than 70% of Aberdeen’s domestic electricity demand, and displace 134,128 tons of CO2 annually.

Vattenfall said that EOWDC is also the first offshore wind project featuring commercial scale suction bucket jacket foundations, the first of which was recently installed.

Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group chair Jean Morrison said: “The EOWDC is leading the way in terms of innovation for the offshore wind sector and will help enable the next generation of offshore wind.”

The turbines are being transported to Aberdeen by Swire Blue Ocean’s vessel, the Pacific Orca, from Esbjerg. Upon reaching Aberdeen, the turbines will be lifted into position on the installed foundations.


Image: A wind turbine being installed at EOWDC in Aberdeen Bay. Photo: courtesy of Vattenfall.