Help for projects to secure funding from the Green Investment Bank
An expert team will help Scottish green energy projects secure funding from the Green Investment Bank, launched yesterday in Edinburgh.
The team, to be led by Marcia Campbell, former Group Operations Director of Standard Life, will identify and support potential Scottish bidders to make the strongest possible case for funding from the £3 billion publically funded Green Investment Bank.
The Bank will invest in offshore wind, waste management and non-domestic energy efficiency – but it will focus on projects that are ready for investor money. The group will help make sure Scottish projects are at this stage.
Launching the Scottish Green Investment Advisory Group, at the Pyramid, Loanhead, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said Scottish projects should be first in line for funding.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:
“This group will help Scottish renewable energy projects be at the front of the queue to secure funding from the Green Investment Bank – taking promising projects and helping them make sure their bid is as good as it can be”
Lord Smith of Kelvin, Chairman of the Green Investment Bank said:
“The UK Green Investment Bank were instrumental in establishing the Advisory Group concept and a number of our transaction team are already engaged with the group and working through early stage project information”
The group are already working to review 83 projects from all over Scotland.
Where insights shape the future…
Now in its third year, the Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference 2012 is a leading international forum for emerging renewable energy and other low carbon markets. The conference takes place on the 10th and 11th of October at the EICC in Edinburgh.
This year’s high-profile speakers will include Rt Hon. Ed Davey MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change who, having been in office since February this year, will speak about delivering the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB), Electricity Market Reform (EMR) and the Green Deal.
The conference programme, detailing the agenda for both days, can now be viewed on the conference website.
Loans of up to £150,000 available to cover 95 per cent of agreed costs
Communities and rural businesses all over Scotland can now apply to a £23.5 million government loan scheme to help them get community energy renewable projects up to the planning stage.
The scheme is designed to make sure communities all over Scotland receive the maximum benefit possible from the projects it funds.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing declared the scheme open in a speech to the Scottish Highland Renewable Energy Conference in Inverness last week.
Communities and rural businesses all over Scotland have already benefited from the loans, which are designed to help small-scale projects which directly benefit their local area, and which would not proceed without the loan.
Projects all over Scotland have already received more than £4.5 million in loans, including a Borders housing association which will use the proceeds to improve the houses it offers for rent, and a Highland charity which will become more financially sustainable thanks to a hydro scheme.
The Community and Renewable Energy Loan Scheme (CARES) is designed to support projects before they reach planning as this stage is considered too high risk for commercial loans.
Individual projects can receive loans of up to £150,000 to cover 95 per cent of agreed costs. Free local advice and support is also available.
Priority is given to projects which give the highest value of benefit to their local communities.
The scheme is open to community organisations, rural businesses and joint ventures between the two.
Alongside the scheme, Energy Minster Fergus Ewing updated on progress towards the community and locally owed target and launched the Community Benefit Register, designed to help communities all over Scotland maximise the rewards they receive from renewable energy developments, and a database of all community-owned energy resources in Scotland.
Energy Minster Fergus Ewing said:
“The Scottish Government is determined to ensure communities all over Scotland reap the benefit from renewable energy.
“We have set a target of 500 MW of community and locally owned renewable energy projects by 2020, which could be worth up to £2.4 billion to Scottish communities and rural businesses over the lifetime of those projects.
“I am delighted to announce today that we are making significant progress towards that target. The work done by the Energy Saving Trust to produce a database found as at the end of June 2011, some 147MW of capacity is operational in Scotland. This represents nearly 30 pe cent of our 2020 target.
“The CARES scheme empowers communities all over Scotland to capitalise on our Green Energy Revolution by developing their own community energy.
“They will in turn be able to take the profits from the schemes and plough them back into their own communities.
“Rural businesses who benefit from the scheme must commit to sharing their profits with local communities. All profits from the community-run schemes will remain with the communities, and all the schemes run by local businesses have committed to give a minimum of £10,000 per MW per annum to the local communities, ensuring the benefits of Scotland’s natural resources are shared with everyone, as well as the jobs and opportunities the schemes will create.
“In practice, this could mean communities have lower power bills, a new playground, a scholarship fund for young people – it is up to the imagination of local people. Communities will also be offered advice on use of the income from projects.
“Alongside this, our Community Benefit Register is now open for business. We are encouraging all scales of development to register – from single farm-based turbines upwards.
“By sharing this information and making it public, communities will be able to make sure they are getting the best possible deal.
“Scotland is blessed with astounding natural resources and has huge renewable energy potential. This Government is committed to ensuring that every community shares in the benefits. These schemes are a practical way of making that happen.”
Previous recipients of CARES loans include Barra and Vatersay Wind Energy Limited (BVWE), which is planning to erect a single wind turbine on a site at Gob Sgurabhal, the most northerly point on Barra. The community has now secured a number of their consents and are currently focused on finalising the turbine access route and progressing the proposal to financial close. It is hoped the group will be in a position to install their turbine by the end of the summer of 2012.
Reproduced under Crown Copyright – original document from the Scottish Government website
By a Newsnet reporter
In a survey carried out by the Guardian newspaper, leading renewable energy companies have revealed that fears over the commitment of the UK government to renewable energy development have led them to put billions of pounds worth of investment on hold.
Representatives of the companies say that they are either reviewing their UK investment plans, or seeking clarification from UK energy ministers on future energy policy.
However the sole bright spot in the Guardian’s survey came from Scotland, where renewable energy companies feel more confident about the support and commitment of the Scottish government. Scottish Power plans to invest almost £1 billion in renewable energy development projects. Almost all of this money will be invested in Scotland.
The fears causing renewable energy companies to rethink their plans of investing in the UK derive from the large and vocal group of Conservative MPs who are pressing the Coalition government to withdraw subsidies on wind-power generation and to tighten up the planning process to make development of wind farms more difficult. At the end of January, a group of 100 Conservative MPs signed a letter in the Telegraph newspaper calling on the UK government to slash the subsidy for on-shore wind farms.
While in opposition, David Cameron affected a pro-green stance in order to woo environmentally concerned voters. In an infamous publicity opportunity in 2006, the future PM’s office let press photographers know he’d be cycling to work in order to save energy. However behind him followed his ministerial car containing his briefcase.
Alongside the increasingly vocal demands from the Conservative back benches, the UK government has also recently been back-pedalling on the promise made by the Conservative leader prior to the 2010 general election to be the “greenest government ever” by downplaying the importance of targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and to increase the proportion of energy generated by renewables.
Some analysts and Westminster watchers, such as Guardian political correspondent Juliet Jowit, argue that the Coalition government is preparing the ground for an energy policy shift away from renewables in favour of increased investment in nuclear and gas. Nuclear power receives a higher subsidy than that received by wind generation.
The uncertainties created by Westminster policy shifts are damaging investment in the industry. Both Longannet and Peterhead Carbon Storage projects were shelved after successive Labour and Tory Governments effectively blocked the plans.
Speaking to the Guardian, the managing director of General Electric, Magued Eldaief, said that a planned £100m investment was “on hold” until UK ministers clarify future referms to the renewable energy market. He decribed the anti-wind energy statement of the Conservative MPs as a “concern”, saying: “It’s something we’re watching very closely. We would like clarity and we would like it as quickly as possible.”
Me Eldaief said: “Our investment is on hold until we have certainty and clarity regarding the policy environment that we are in. One of the most important things for us is political certainty, so we can justify the business and investment case for a facility in the UK. But we think there are some headwinds which do not help, especially in terms of the subsidies discussion.”
Even with the Scottish government’s pro-renewable stance, which recently angered Donald Trump, the full development of Scotland’s renewable energy potential depends upon financial and economic powers which are reserved to the Westminster government. The damage to investment in this sector, which is vital to the success of the Scottish economy, will lend weight to the argument that the Union does not operate in Scottish interests.
Reproduced with permission from an original article by newsnetscotland
Oilprice.com’s Daniel J. Graeber on wave power in Scotland
While most major economies agree that some form of alternative and renewable resources are needed as part of the emerging energy mix, embracing frontier areas like wave arrays might be more about changing the way decision-makers think about energy than simply about the saving the environment. That’s how Richard Yemm, founder of Scottish company Pelamis Wave Power, sees it anyhow. He says efforts underway in Europe aren’t just about protecting the environment, they’re about new ways to provide energy that make economic sense. He’s not, after all, just talking about climate change when he talks about going green.
“The second industrial revolution is well under way in the U.K. and Europe, one which is based on green energy and technology,” says Yemm, “and Scotland, which aims to decarbonize its economy, is leading the way in frontier energy developments.”
The first industrial revolution was driven by carbon-based energy resources and helped define today’s economy, he explained. The second revolution is driven by green technologies. This sector is already big business in Europe and, if First Minister Alex Salmond gets his way, it will help an independent Scotland stand alone in the region.
On the west coast of Scotland, powerful ocean swells roll into shore year round. Because of this, Yemm claims there’s enough wave energy to power 100 homes with every step you take along the beach.
“The ocean is like a gigantic battery,” he says, “continually being charged by the wind.”
Wave power is more reliable and predictable than wind or solar because it’s less dependent on the local weather conditions. The waves are always rolling, said Yemm.
Scotland and the rest of the European community understand the risks and opportunities presented by frontier renewable energy technologies like wave power. Several energy companies are already testing his company’s Pelamis wave-energy converters and there could be enough of them in the water to generate as much as 200 megawatts of electricity from the waters of Scotland’s west coast by the end of the decade. That’s not much, says Yemm, but it’s a good start for a new energy source that’s expected to bring in significant revenue for all players involved, including those outside Europe.
So why is Scotland the model rather than the norm? Yemm says it’s a matter of making alternative energy something more than just an environmental issue. It needs to be something that’s on equal footing with the rest of the energy sector. The wind, the sun’s rays and waves are just as much a source of energy as oil and natural gas, Yemm explains. It took hundreds of years of technological development to make oil and natural gas inexpensive, though the IEA said the age of cheap conventional energy is likely over.
For most of the rest of the world, the climate change and alternative energy debate isn’t at the top of the agenda, however. The United States and Canada, two oil-rich countries in their own right, backed out of the Kyoto Protocol saying, for all intents and purposes, it was an ineffective environmental treaty. But major economies like the United States can push ahead with alternative energy if they decide to put their money where their mouth is in the green energy debate, says Yemm. It just requires a paradigm shift in the way countries look at their available natural resources. It’s not, he says, just about environmental stewardship. It’s about making a buck along the way too.
“Europe has set targets to decarbonize its economy in a fraction of the time it has taken to create the carbon-based economy,” he said. “However, contrary to the common view, it is not looking on this as a noble duty or an unavoidable burden, but as an economic opportunity on a grander scale than the first industrial revolution that created the requirement for it.”
Original article by Daniel J. Graeber, senior analyst with Oilprice.com, reproduced by kind permission