Archive for September 2011
(article by Jamie Adam of Community Energy Scotland)
Yesterday saw the launch of one of the most green vehicles in the UK at a ground-breaking facility in Fife. Fife Shopping and Support Services, (FS&SS), delivers groceries and pensions to the region’s elderly and disabled, and has become the latest example in the Kingdom to adopt renewable technology.
In a bid to cut staff mileage costs as well as carbon emissions, FS&SS contacted Community Energy Scotland and was subsequently awarded the first ever Scottish Government CARES grant towards an electric vehicle. The van was then bought via with further assistance from Fife Council and BRAG.
The van is powered from a charging point at the East Fife site where a 750kW wind turbine feeds not only the local national grid but also a hydrogen-producing electrolysis plant.
This hydrogen is stored in a large tank on site and can be fed back through a fuel cell to provide power for the Hydrogen Office for up to two weeks without any wind. This means that the electric van will be charged directly from 100% wind power, regardless of the weather, and is believed to be the first in the UK to do so. The charging point was kindly donated by Zero Carbon World, and was installed free of charge by PURE, who were involved in the construction of the Hydrogen Office.
By charging from wind power at night, when the national demand for electricity is lower, it is also a demonstration of how intermittent renewables can be integrated onto the grid, with peaks in green energy production put to good use.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:
“The Hydrogen Office and FS&SS are playing a vital role in demonstrating the link between Scotland’s renewable energy resources and the role that fuel cells and energy storage can play in low carbon Scotland. The Scottish Government wants to ensure that communities right across Scotland benefit from the renewables revolution, and we are pleased to support this innovative project through the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES).
“We are committed to achieving the almost complete decarbonisation of road transportation by 2050, along with a mature market for low carbon cars – resulting in lower emissions by 2020.
“We therefore welcome initiatives such as this just as we are pressing ahead with similar schemes to enable us to achieve our world leading targets. We have invested £3.3m in our Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Support Scheme enabling local authorities and a number of other public bodies to purchase low carbon vehicles and supportive infrastructure.”
As well as being highly innovative, the electric van project is saving FS&SS over £1500 a year, and over 1.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. Lynne Ogilvie, manager at FS&SS, said: “As a not for profit social enterprise keeping costs low for service users is vital and low cost delivery vehicles will make a substantial difference while protecting the environment.”
These benefits were emphasized by Chair of Fife Council’s Environment, Enterprise & Transportation Committee, Tony Martin, who said: “This launch just goes to underline how important the roles of Fife and Methil play in the renewable energy sector throughout the UK and indeed across the world.
“For Fife Shopping and Support Services the environmental and financial benefits of using the wind-powered van within the local community are plain to see. Hopefully we will witness a rise in the number of organisations in the region adopting more efficient and greener energy methods where possible, to ensure Fife remains at the forefront of renewable energy in Scotland and further afield.”
The van will be made available to the staff at the Hydrogen Office for educational visits to local schools.
Application for Scotland-Norway grid connection submitted
NorthConnect, the interconnector development company jointly owned by E-CO Energi, Agder Energi (AE), Lyse, Vattenfall and SSE, has submitted an application to National Grid Transmission for an onshore connection to the mainland network for a 1,400MW electricity interconnector between Great Britain and Norway.
NorthConnect, a Norwegian registered company, was established in February 2011 by its 5 shareholders to examine the technical and economic viability of developing, building and operating an HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) interconnector, to be designed so that electricity can flow in both directions.
A landing point around Peterhead in north east Scotland, which will require an interconnector of around 570kms in length, has been identified and today NorthConnect has submitted an application to National Grid Transmission for a grid connection at Peterhead. This is the first step in a number of applications for consent to bring the interconnector ashore and construct an HVDC convertor station where it will be linked to the mainland network.
When in operation, the interconnector will be the first to directly connect Scotland’s electricity network to that of a mainland European country. NorthConnect will contribute to enhanced security of energy supply in both the Nordic market area and UK, and it will contribute to more stable energy prices for consumers and facilitate the development of renewable generation in both regions. In addition to such an interconnector having a clear business justification, the planned interconnector enables the realisation of, (and use of) low cost carbon potential, and supports the long term development of the electricity market.
Odd Øygarden, Chairman of the Board of NorthConnect, commented:
“NorthConnect is delighted to have submitted this grid application to Great Britain’s National Grid Transmission. This marks a further milestone in the progress of developing this interconnector. We are sure that there is a real requirement to more closely link the electricity markets of Scandinavia and Great Britain together as this will bring benefits in terms of security of supply, deployment of additional renewable generation and more efficient generation in both regions. The NorthConnect interconnector will play an important role in delivering these important benefits.”
Scots ahead in installed microgeneration capacity
According to the latest AEA Microgeneration Index published this month, Scotland leads the UK in small-scale renewable energy installations, with more capacity installed than any other region. The Index shows that capacity has nearly doubled in the last twelve months and is the highest per head of population in the UK.
The AEA Scottish Microgeneration Index details progress made across the country, and in each local authority area, one year on from the launch of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme, which was designed to encourage uptake of small scale renewable electricity generation.
The Index found Scotland to have a disproportionately high installed capacity (by population) with 20% of UK installed capacity. It also found that 75% of the UK’s hydro capacity is in Scotland, in addition to 63% of the total wind capacity.
Rise in extreme weather events & corruption of US democracy
At the Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference today keynote speaker Al Gore spelled out the linkage between climate change and the rise in extreme weather events.
He told the conference that 387 million people worldwide were affected by severe drought in first half of 2011, and that 200 major US cities broke temperature records this summer, with 6000 temperature records broken across the country.
Gore said that all scientific academies worldwide accept anthropogenic climate change, but that there had been a ‘breakdown in democratic governance’ in the United States and that America’s democracy had been hacked by big money.
He accused carbon polluters of spending 100s of $m on pseudo-scientific institutions “to create just enough doubt to paralyse the political process’. Scotland, he said, was ‘providing leadership to galvanise action across the world’.
(Based on tweets from the conference by David Lee)
More on Al Gore’s address to the conference:
New Carbon Capture and Storage study outlines the opportunities
Around 70 million tonnes of CO2 per year could be captured, transported and stored offshore in Scotland by 2040, through the formation of a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) infrastructure network and an estimated £4.5 billion of capital investment.
This is just one of the findings from the study, CO2 Transport Options for Scotland, completed by Scottish Enterprise today (28 September 2011), which highlights that early investment in infrastructure could place Scotland at the forefront of the development of a global CO2 storage industry of the future.
The report sets out three scenarios for the development of CCS infrastructure covering the periods up to 2020, 2030, and 2040. It shows the potential to develop infrastructure and networks over this period to capture, transport and store CO2, not just from within Scotland but also from the North of England and from continental Europe, possibly by shipping.
The study also highlights the potential of creating a CCS hub, based around Peterhead Harbour and the St Fergus Gas terminal, from where carbon could be transported to depleted oil and gas fields and naturally occurring saline aquifers.
Developed through discussions with industry and key partners, the study concludes that there is significant opportunity for the use of captured CO2 in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in the North Sea, which could mean additional oil production taking place.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said, “Scotland’s capacity to store carbon is the largest in the European Union and we are working to create thousands of new low carbon jobs in the sector. This important report underlines our natural resources and decades of experience in the North Sea, and will help build our ongoing case to establish Scotland as Europe’s carbon storage hub.”
Scottish Enterprise oil and gas, thermal generation and CCS director, David Rennie, said, “Carbon Capture and Storage offers huge opportunities for Scotland’s economy. It has already been estimated that Scotland could account for about half of the European Union’s offshore storage potential. This report shows that there is the potential to store significant amounts of carbon in the North Sea, not just from Scotland but also from other parts of the UK and Europe.
“While the short-term focus is on supporting and encouraging demonstration projects, this report highlights the potential to build upon these and develop a true CCS cluster which could bring significant economic benefits to Scotland as well as making a significant contribution to carbon reduction targets. Of course, none of this can happen without significant investment from the public and private sectors. There is therefore a need to bring greater certainty around the incentives and support mechanisms from the UK government that will need to be put in place to encourage the development of CCS, which could be a significant future economic sector for Scotland.”
“With the skills, infrastructure and experience gained from 40 years of Scotland’s world leading oil and gas sector alongside strong governmental support, Scotland is well placed to play a leading role in the delivery of CCS going forward.”
Scottish Enterprise is planning to undertake more detailed work around how this network vision might be achieved, including detailed costings and an assessment of sources of possible investment and other potential challenges.