Posted on 12 December 2013 by Priyanka Shrestha
A British enterprise has won a fund worth £3 million to develop a new storage system that stores electricity from renewable sources.
DECC gave the contract to EValu8 Transport Innovations on behalf of the Electric Vehicle Embedded Renewable Energy Storage and Transmission (EVEREST) Consortium.
The company will use the fund to develop a storage system, partly made out of recycled electric vehicle batteries which can store renewable energy generated at times of low demand for use at times of peak demand.
Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “This investment will give EVEREST the boost it needs to develop energy storage designs, helping cut costs and bringing new technologies to market in this sector.”
The contract was awarded under the second phase of DECC’s £17 million energy storage technology demonstration small business research initiative competition.
Last month an energy storage campaign group claimed delays to installing energy storage capacity in the UK could cost taxpayers £100 million a year by 2020, rising to £10 billion a year by 2050 if nothing is done.
Posted on 04 December 2013 by Vicky Ellis
Green heating measures for businesses could get more financial backing from the Government after a policy tweak announced today.
The Renewable Heat Incentive is a 20-year subsidy and its non-domestic scheme has been open to the commercial, industrial and public sectors and community generators of renewable heat since November 2011.
New plans would increase the cash it offers for renewable Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants, large biomass boilers, deep geothermal, ground source heat pumps, solar thermal and biogas combustion projects bigger than 200 kilowatt thermal (kWth).
Energy Minister Greg Barker also wants to expand it to air-water heat pumps which were previously not included as well as commercial and industrial energy from waste.
In a written statement to parliament, he said: “We expect that these tariffs will drive significant deployment so that the industry can grow and invest with confidence.”
Chief Executive of industry body Micropower Council, Dave Sowden said: “The inclusion of air to water heat pumps in the non-domestic scheme is particularly welcome and something we have campaigned for over the past two years and puts this technology on a fair footing with other renewable technologies.”
Posted on 28 November 2013 by Tom Grimwood
The Energy Minister Greg Barker has said green schemes like the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) need to be joined up.
Speaking yesterday at the Heat Conference 2013 he said: “We need to do far more across the board to integrate our new policies that help consumers produce their own renewable energy. We need to make sure that the incentives to help people generate renewable heat work hand in glove with a range of new Green Deal energy efficiency measures.”
Mr Barker said while consumers rightly saw the programmes as parts of the same jigsaw, the government had taken on a ‘silo’ mentality, viewing all of them separately.
The Energy Ministers said he wanted to “pull together renewable heat, renewable electricity and energy efficiency into one much more coherent, clear, consumer facing offer,” and told the audience they could expect changes to the schemes in the future.
Speaking on Newsnight he later said the Green Deal and Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) should likewise be ‘married up’.
Posted on 27 November 2013 by Tom Grimwood
Concerns were raised today about whether district heating schemes in the UK will effectively leave consumers at the mercy of a monopoly.
District heating has been touted as a good value, low carbon source of power as it limits the waste of heat by letting buildings such as homes and hospitals share heating sources.
Appearing at the Heat 2013 conference in London today, Dr Louise Strong, Senior Policy Advisor for Energy at Which? said: “District heating schemes are a monopoly. Consumers have no choice but to remain with the same supplier even if they’re dissatisfied with the service they’ve got or the price they pay.”
Dr Strong warned the consumer group already had anecdotal evidence of consumers being shafted.
She said heat network customers it had spoken to had highlighted price transparency as the first problem to tackle: “No one’s given them any reassurance that the price they’re paying is fair.”
The Government should introduce a standard way of comparing prices among heat networks, she added.
Responding to her fears Energy Minister Greg Barker told the audience there is “no easy answer” to protecting consumers.
Mr Barker accepted “you are going to sign people up to monopolies” but added: “What we need to do is learn from best practice elsewhere …because this is not novel technology.
“This [has been] rolled out across Europe and there are a lot of happy customers.”
He said protecting consumers was essential to the successful uptake of network heating as trust in the energy sector had already hit a low ebb: “I think people won’t trust it if they’re simply being asked to sign up for a twenty year contract with British Gas [or other suppliers].”
Mr Barker said “we need to big up the local element” to bring wary customers on board.
Posted on 27 November 2013 by Tom Grimwood
Energy Minister Greg Barker today announced a second round of government funding for district heat network projects.
Speaking at the Heat Conference 2013 in London, he said: “We have established a £6 million Heat Network Delivery Unit (HDNU) and provided £1.5 million for the first tranche of funding.
“I can announce today that the second round is now open.”
He said the deadline for applications is 31 January 2014 but didn’t say how much money would be up for grabs.
Mr Barker also announced the Green Investment Bank would start prioritising district heat networks when deciding how to invest.
He told the audience: “The Green Investment Bank, encouraged by the formation of the HDNU and the flood of applications, has decided to look actively at financing heat network opportunities.”
The Tory MP added: “The bank will be liaising closely with the unit and is looking for refinance and new build projects, with both the public and private sectors.”
Posted on 04 November 2013 by Priyanka Shrestha
Businesses developing innovative solutions for technologies in the wave, tidal and offshore wind sector have been given a multi-million pound boost.
Energy Minister Greg Barker revealed support worth up to £7 million will be available through the Technology Strategy Board’s Infrastructure for Offshore Renewables funding competition.
It is designed to help develop supply chains for offshore renewable energy and aims to encourage companies from outside the sector to get involved, bringing their insights and expertise in the area. There will be a focus on innovations that help reduce the cost of electricity generation.
Mr Barker said: “Targeting funding in this way will accelerate growth in this sector, help cut the cost of producing clean green power and ultimately enable us to harness even more power from wind and marine devices out at sea.”
Last month Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to “roll back” green regulations but DECC said the review of green levies “won’t touch” renewable subsidies for wind and solar power.
Posted on 24 October 2013 by Priyanka Shrestha
The Government has awarded a share of £5 million to get more renewable heating in the homes of tenants.
A total of 57 landlords have won the cash, which will be used to install a range of renewable heating kit such as air and ground source heat pumps, solar thermal and biomass boilers in social homes.
DECC said the winning projects offer the best value for money and a mix of renewable heat technologies to be installed.
The funding is from the second round of this year’s Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) Social Landlords competition.
Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “Renewable heating kit like heat pumps and biomass boilers can help keep homes warm and bills down so it’s great that social landlords will be getting cash to help get over 2,100 renewable heating technologies into the homes of their tenants.”
The projects will need to be completed and claims made by the end of June next year.
Last month Ofgem revealed bill payers living in rented accommodation could save an average of £190 by switching energy suppliers.
Posted on 09 October 2013 by Vicky Ellis
Large-scale solar projects on “inappropriate” sites must not be allowed to “ruin it” for the rest of the industry, says Energy Minister Greg Barker.
Speaking after an appearance at Solar Energy UK in Birmingham yesterday, he told ELN: “I am being very, very explicit. Large scale solar farms in the wrong place potentially could ruin the sector for everybody.”
The Conservative MP for Bexhill and Battle said: “The solar sector currently enjoys very high public approval ratings – that’s great, I want to keep it that way.”
A ripple of anti-solar sentiment from the likes of comedian Griff Rhys Jones has prompted the Solar Trade Association to issue its own version of the Ten Commandments for solar projects. These include focusing on non-agricultural land, working with the community and minimising the visual impact of farms.
The minister suggested projects on prime agricultural land or an area of outstanding natural beauty would not be tolerated: “People… do not want to see great swathes of British countryside ruined by inappropriate solar farm developments.”
However one firm has told ELN opposition to large-scale solar farms from some people is pure ‘nimbyism’ and warned it would make things difficult for larger solar projects.
The UK has a target of getting 15% of its electricity from renewables by 2020 and the Government’s new “roadmap” released yesterday points to the energy source’s clear role in hitting this.
Despite his stern warning Mr Barker said he believes there is “a new degree of optimism” among solar power firms: “The solar sector in the UK has put the troubles of that threat of punitive sanctions on imported Chinese panels behind it. I think we’re in for a period of sustained growth.”
Posted on 08 October 2013 by Tom Grimwood
‘Sensitively sited’ solar PV will at the heart of growth in Britain’s renewables according to Energy Minister Greg Barker.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the ‘Roadmap to a Brighter Future’ – which lays out how the Government will work with businesses and industry to keep up the expansion in solar capacity – Mr Barker said: “The Coalition is committed to delivering the clean and reliable energy supplies that the country needs, at the lowest possible cost to consumers.
“Solar PV can play a central role in meeting this challenge. It’s a genuinely exciting energy technology, which has already seen rapid growth and enjoys strong public support. I want this growth to continue and to help us push further ahead in the global race – but new solar installations must be sensitive to public opinion and mindful of wider environmental and visual impacts.”
The Energy Minister is launching the new roadmap today at Solar Energy UK 2013 in Birmingham. The roadmap leads on to the UK’s first Solar PV strategy, which will be published in spring next year.
As well as reiterating the need for solar PV to be cost effective and deliver genuine carbon reductions, the report highlights the importance of siting solar farms properly – by giving enough weight to environmental considerations and enabling local communities to influence decisions.
It also emphasises the need to assess the impact of solar PV on grid system balancing, grid connectivity and financial incentives to ensure solar can be deployed in high volumes.
A recent report from IHS predicted global solar installation will hit a three-year high in 2014.
Posted on 27 September 2013 by Priyanka Shrestha
The UK Government has pledged to continue co-operation with China to promote low carbon development and energy efficient technologies.
Energy Minister Greg Barker and Zhu Xiaodan, the Governor of Guangdong – located on the South China Sea coast – signed a joint agreement during a meeting at Lancaster House in London.
It included plans to deepen co-operation in researching low carbon technologies, developing green energy and promoting clean and energy efficient manufacturing.
Mr Barker said: “The Coalition is determined to broaden and deepen our relationship with China, especially in relation to combating dangerous climate change and realising the huge commercial opportunities in the fast growing low carbon goods and services sector. International partnership is essential to both.
“This joint statement signals a commitment made by Guangdong Province and the UK to work together to develop a green, clean world for future generations.”
The UK recently supported low carbon projects in the Guangdong Province, including helping businesses develop low carbon footprinting models and product standards.
An agreement has also been signed between the UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre and partners in Guangdong for a joint CCS network.