First American renewable energy inward investment in Scotland
A £100,000 SMART: SCOTLAND award from Scottish Enterprise has helped ResHydro become the first US renewable energy firm to invest in Scotland.
Working in partnership with the University of Strathclyde, ResHydro will establish a base in Glasgow to complete the research and development needed to take its hydrokinetic energy device closer to commercialisation.
Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond, attending Scotland Week events in the United States, said:
“Scotland has an incredible wealth of energy resources and is leading the way in the development of marine renewables technology. ResHyrdo’s decision to invest in Scotland and work in partnership with one of our leading universities to further their research and development plans is testament to that.
“Our reputation as a work leader in energy, combined with our supportive business environment and highly skilled workforce, is a powerful proposition for overseas companies looking to succeed in this growing sector.”
ResHydro will be based in St Vincent Street before moving to Scottish Enterprise’s Industry Engagement Building, part of Glasgow’s International Technology and Renewable Energy Zone (ITREZ.)
The SMART: SCOTLAND funding will help the company create a device capable of producing more energy at a lower cost than current renewable technology.
Full commercialisation of ResHydro’s technology will see tidal energy devices manufactured in Scotland.
ResHydro’s chief executive, Samuel Lewinter, said:
“The SMART: SCOTLAND award, coupled with our partnership with the University of Strathclyde, positions ResHydro in the most vital marine power industry market.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to open our Scottish subsidiary where we will have access to significant technical expertise and where market conditions will contribute to the most expeditious commercialisation of our technology.”
Wind test centre gets go-ahead – Trump trumped
The Scottish Government today announced consent for the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen Bay.
The development consists of 11 wind turbines and their connecting cables, sited between two and 4.5 km off the Aberdeenshire coast, capable of generating up to 100 MW.
The Centre, which is not a conventional wind farm, but an offshore deployment centre, will allow offshore wind developers and supply chain companies to test cutting edge wind technology in an offshore environment before commercial deployment. This will reduce development risks and capital costs by providing the opportunity to test real time reliability and capacity generation and will ultimately support the creation of jobs across the industry. The Centre will reinforce Aberdeen’s place as the energy capital of Europe.
Consent is granted subject to conditions which will mitigate a range of impacts. These include the agreement of a Radar Mitigation Scheme, a Defence Radar Mitigation Scheme, a Black Dog Firing Range Management Plan, a Construction Method Statement, a Design Statement, an expert panael to inform thea Project Environmental Management Programme, a Construction Noise Management Plan, a Vessel Management Plan, a Cable Laying Strategy, and a Navigational Safety Plan and the establishment of an expert panel to inform the Project Environmental Management Programme. Further details of these conditions and others are set out in decision letter and consent.the design document.
465 public representations in support of the proposal were received. In spitre of Donald Trump’s best efforts only 148 representations objecting to the proposal were received.
The planning decision for the substation at Blackdog, Aberdeenshire will be a matter for Aberdeenshire Council.
23 March 2013
•Wind generates over 5 gigawatts of electricity for whole 24 hour period for the first time
•Enough to power the equivalent of 4 out of every 10 British homes
•Power was generated during one of the coldest March days on record and whilst gas price at 7 year high
For the first time, wind energy in the UK generated over 5 gigawatts of electricity consistently over a 24 hour period, with the period starting on Thursday 21st at 2130 and continuing for the whole of Friday 22nd March 2013.
This means that for this 24 hour period wind was generating enough to power the equivalent of nearly 4 out of every 10 UK homes and consistently over 10% of GB’s overall electricity needs.
In addition a record for one-off generation in a half hour period was created at 1530 when 5.296GW of wind was present on the grid, alongside another anticipated 2GW from distributed wind.
Should there be a moratorium on offshore wind?
Speaking in Edinburgh yesterday UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey said the future of Scottish renewables “is more secure with Scotland as part of the United Kingdom”.
His contention is that if Scotland became independent it would be “treated by the UK as just one of a number of countries it could buy renewables from”.
Davey went on to say: “We are pursuing a number of interconnection projects with our European neighbours, including Norway and Ireland. For an independent Scotland, this would potentially represent serious competition. If the UK were to look beyond its borders for renewable energy, we would need to consider which sources provide the cheapest and most reliable options for our people.”
Scotland has been a major exporter of electricity to England for decades. This has been done via 2,200MW capacity interconnectors linking the Scottish Grid to the English Grid which are being upgraded to 3,300MW. Plans are also in place to increase the interconnector capacity to 7,000MW by 2021. There is every likelihood that the rUK would find it economic to purchase some of Scotland’s excess capacity compared to the cost of power imported through expensive sub-sea HVDC interconnectors. However, this electricity must be competitive, and while onshore wind is becoming very competitive onshore wind still looks prohibitively expensive.
Meanwhile, the think tank ‘Options for Scotland’, set up by former SNP leader Gordon Wilson, has published a report looking into an independent Scotland’s energy options - and one point among its key recommendations chimes with Davey’s remarks. The report contends that offshore wind is an expensive and unnecessary source of power for an independent Scotland that already has substantial overcapacity, and that under independence there would be no guaranteed export market for such expensive power.
Both the anti-wind brigade and the unionist media have – naturally – seized on this report as a stick to beat the Scottish government without having read it fully. While realising that we will have legally binding emissions targets to meet, the report suggests that the ’100% from renewables’ target may be impractical in the immediate future following independence but that:
“If Scotland does embark on a policy of aiming for lowest cost electricity, and has to produce 40% of its electricity from renewable sources, the obvious move is to concentrate on onshore wind.”
Key recommendations of the Electricity Generation Options for an Independent Scotland report are:
- More State involvement in planning and executing future electricity generation, including a possible state-owned generating company.
- Scale back the 100% by 2020 target on carbon emissions and concentrate on lowest cost electricity, with production for export considered only when a profitable market beneficial to the Scottish consumer exists.
- Use the Crown Estate to control development and have a moratorium on new offshore wind.
- Return ownership and control of the Scottish grid to Scotland.
- Abandon the FiT scheme as non-economic.
- On the basis of overcapacity, suspend any consideration of nuclear.
- Implement research and commissioning of carbon storage (CCS)
- Increase investment in research and industrial development of potential wave and tidal flow marine energy.
- Expand conventional hydro under a state company with an option to acquire privatised hydro stations on payment of reasonable compensation, given exploitation of unjustified subsidies.
It will be interesting to see how the Scottish government respond to this report. Hopefully it will form a basis for constructive discussion rather than being used as nothing more than casual ammunition in the referendum debate.