The UK's top business lobbying organisation has criticised the government's decision to halve the solar FiT tarrif from next month from from 43p per kilowatt-hour to 21p. The CBI said the decision to halve "feed-in tariffs" earlier than planned would force companies to cancel planned work, destroying projects and jobs. CBI director general, Jonathan Cridland said the cut, which it was thought would end in April next year, was the latest in a string of own goals by the government.
He said : "Moving the goal posts doesn't just destroy projects and jobs, it creates a mood of uncertainty that puts off investors and they wonder what's coming next."
The Department of Energy and Climate Change is also facing two possible legal challenges over the plans from Friends of the Earth and lawyers acting for installers.
The number of wind farm applications handled in Scotland at a local level fell from 40 to 34 in the year to June. In addition, the percentage of wind farm projects approved in Scotland fell by 16%, from 78% in 2008-09 to 62% in 2010-11. These numbers were however far better thnan South of the border, where the approval rate was just 26%, which RenewableUK called "a critically low level".
Maria McCaffery, chief executive of RenewableUK, said: "The overall level of deployment is encouraging, but that is being driven by the historic backlog of projects finally coming through the system. The number of planning refusals of new projects by local authorities is alarming".
Stirling Council has now formally rejected Scottish Power's proposals for mitigation of the visual impact of the new Beauly-Denny line where it passes through their territory. THey insist the only answer is undergrounding, while Scottish Power maintains that this is unnecessary and too expensive and time-consuming. The council's response will now be submitted to the Scottish government.
SPR's own evaluation concluded that any undergrounding of the main 400kV line cannot be justified on the grounds of cost, technical difficulties and very limited environmental benefits. The delay would also generate significant constraint costs which would ultimately be placed on electricity consumers. They propose extensive screen planting and hard and soft landscaping works copled with the undergrounding of some wood pole overhead lines. Tower painting is also proposed at two locations.
Public subsidies for a range of renewable energy technologies are to be cut under plans unveiled by the government on Thursday, as ministers respond to complaints of "green taxes" driving up energy bills. At a glance - subsides will be:
- slashed for solar and biomass
- abolished for landfill gas
- halved for hydro
- reduced for onshore wind
- maintained for offshore wind until 2015 then gradually reduced
- increased for wave and tidal
It's bad news for domestic microgeneration installers, but overall Green campaigners and the renewables industry were relieved that the cuts announced on Thursday were not much worse, as many had feared.
As part of the controversial Beauly-Denny transmission line upgrade a 33-mile stretch of pylons carrying overhead transmission lines are to be removed, substantially reducing the visual impact of the electricity grid in the Cairngorms National Park.
The pylons are being removed as part of the agreement allowing Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) to create the upgraded Beauly to Denny electricity line, necessary to carry renewable electricity from sites in the far North to the rest of the national grid.
SSE also plan to remove a further 25 miles of pylons in the park, replacing them with wooden poles or underground cables. In total the company will remove some 68 miles of overhead pylons in the Highlands and Perth and Kinross.
Environmental groups have lost a legal challenge against plans for the proposed £3bn coal-fired power station at Hunterston in Ayrshire. Ayrshire Power (Peel Energy) proposes using experimental carbon capture and storage (CCS) to limit damaging carbon emissions, although the current specification is only that this capability is applied to a quarter of its output initially.
The judicial review was raised after the Scottish government decided to include the planned facility as a National Development in the National Planning Framework, but the judge ruled that the consultation process undertaken by the Scottish government had been sufficient. Campaigners claimed the plant would harm wildlife and the environment and said thousands of people were opposed to it. The energy company also claims 160 permanent jobs would result.
This exhibition is organised by Scottish Renewables and is taking place at the Stirling Management Centre in Stirling n the 13th of October. This event will explain how organisations can access new government incentives for the installation of renewable heat and electricity technologies - such as solar and wind - to generate new income, cut energy costs and help reach their carbon and environmental targets.
The conference and exhibition is aimed at designers, builders, owners and managers of facilities, built estate and brownfield and greenfield sites. It will set out the practical options for them to access the Renewable Heat Incentive and the Feed-in Tariff. This is an opportunity to hear from installers and advisers on the practical options for your organisation to start capitalising on the benefits from on-site renewables.
Registration is via the Scottish Renewables website (link below).
After a public meeting yesterday Scottish Power and Stirling Council are stil deadlocked over plans to mitigate the visual impact of the Beauly-Denny HV transmission line where it passes through their area. Over 200 members of the public attending the meeting voted against the electricity giant's mitigation proposals, which consist of screning measures, camouglfalge painting of some of tghe towers and the undergrounding of some associated low voltage lines.
The council's preferred option is for the high-voltage line to be buried underground, but Scottish Power have repeatedly said that this is not an option. The 440kv power line upgrade is urgently needed to connect renewable generators in the north of Scotland to the national grid. Mitigation measures for other parts of the 137-mile (220km) line, which will run from near Inverness to the Falkirk area, were agreed last October, but the bitter dispute betwen Stirling Council and Scottish Power over this crucial 12-mile section seems set to continue.
'Dynamic Shetland' - to be staged in November - will be Shetland's own renewable energy show, focussing on wind, wave and tidal power. The intention is to attract developers and show them at first hand the resources Shetland has to offer the renewables industry.
Shetland’s renewable marine energy potential was highlighted earlier this year at the AllEnergy exhibition in Aberdeen, when a new Shetland marine atlas highlighting renewable resources was unveiled. Contacts made at the show have been invited and guests will have the opportunity to take part in site visits during the two day exhibition.
The event will take place in the Clickimin Centre on Wednesday 16th and Thursday 17th November. Look out for the Dynamic Shetland website, launching soon.
Plans for 23 turbines at Druim Ba between Kiltarlity and Abriachan have been rejected by Highland councillors. Developer Druim Ba Sustainable Energy is proposing to create the wind farm in a forestry plantation above the former crofting community of Abriachan, some 15 miles from Inverness. The turbines would be some of the largest on the UK, with a tip height of 450m.
Local protest group 'Druim Ba Say No' have been actively opposing the project since it was first mooted. Now Highland Council's planning committee voted against the plans, saying that the visual impact and the effect on an important tourist area would be unacceptable. It is not over yet however, as the Scottish government has still to consider the project.
Proven is a Scottish company that has been making small wind turbines for nearly 30 years. Today the business went into administration with the loss of 55 jobs. The receivers were called in when the firm did not have the finance to keep trading after a fault was found in its latest farm scale P35-2 model.
The company's manufacturing base is in Stewarton in Ayrshire, with a design office in East Kilbride. Twenty people are being kept on to get teh company ready tol be sold..
Proven has more than 3,000 of its turbines installed worldwide, including 500 of the problem P35-2s. The management believes the fault with the P35-2 is minor and can be repaired, but they have advised customers to temporarily cease using the machines.
Oatridge College near Edinburgh is set to slash its energy demands from the National Grid by 60 per cent and save 20 tonnes of carbon being pumped into the atmosphere every year by commissioning one of the country’s largest solar power projects.
The small, specialist land-based college has installed 204 PV panels on the roof of its main teaching block to generate electricity and a smaller array of solar thermal panels on four residential blocks to provide hot water for students.
The project, producing 50kW of power, is thought to be the first major installation to come on-stream in the Scottish educational sector.
Scottish small wind turbine manufacturer Proven Energy was this week teetering on the brink of financial collapse, following the emergence of “acute” technical problems with its flagship P35-2 farmscale machine.
In a terse statement posted on its website, the company announced: “Proven Energy has become aware of a potential manufacturing defect in its Proven 35-2 wind turbine (the Proven 7 and Proven 11 are unaffected). We are investigating this, however, our work to date has now shown that a significant number of shafts may be affected across multiple manufacturing batches.
“With that in mind we are now advising all Proven 35-2 owners to place their wind turbines on brake as soon as it is safe to do so. Under no circumstances should you apply the parking brake whilst the wind turbine is rotating at normal operating speeds since this will place extra stress on the shaft. We will ensure that you receive regular updates in the interim period. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.”
The first of 35 turbines are being erected at the site of Scottish and Southern Energy's 70MW Gordonbush wind farm near Brora in Sutherland. The project is expected to be completed by spring next year.
SSE's major projects liaison manager, Ruth Liddicoat, said the company had listened to local residents' concerns about construction traffic. She said: "With the deliveries underway, we're pleased with the progress we're making and we'll continue to liaise with the community throughout the construction phase."
Gordonbush is one of three onshore wind farms under construction in SSE's portfolio. The other two are the 350MW Clyde project in South Lanarkshire and 156MW Griffin scheme in Perthshire.
As part of a detailed investigation into power cable installation in the offshore wind industry, technology and consultancy company Enventi have uncovered evidence which they believe shows that current UK government policy is stalling offshore wind development.
The findings arise from analysis carried out into supply contracts awarded to submarine power cable manufacturers which shows that out of 2,400km of wind farm related power cables currently on order, only around 13% or just over 300km relate to planned UK wind farm developments compared to almost 2,000km ordered for German projects. According to Enventi, such evidence confirms that uncertainty linked to planned Government reforms is creating a delay between projects currently in construction and those already consented.
Scotland’s public standards commissioner has “unequivocally” cleared 14 local councillors in Shetland of any wrongdoing regarding the controversial 457MW Viking Energy wind farm project, which is awaiting approval from the government.
The fourteen were investigated after the 22-member Council gave the £685m ($1.11bn) project the green light. One of them, Allan Wishart, is a project co-ordinator for Viking Energy.
Claims that the councillors breached the relevant code of conduct by voting on key decisions related to the wind farm were rejected by Scotland’s public standards commissioner, who argued that the councillors all made clear their conflict of interest, and that to have excluded themselves from the deliberations would have robbed their constituents of representation.
Scottish Power has once more rejected to calls to 'underground' the 12-mile section of the Beauly-Denny power line it is responsible for in the area around Stirling and Falkirk.
The company was asked by the Scottish government in March to consider "unexplored options" to mitigate the visual impact of the line. Mitigation measures for the rest of the 137-mile line were agreed in October 2010
Scottish Power has repeated its position that burying the line would be too expensive, adding that it would lead to delays of up to three years and would have "limited environmental benefits".
Opponents of the line, which will connect Northern wind farms to the grid, have called the response "farcical".
Public consultation dates for the planned 11-turbine European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) wind farm project off the coast of Aberdeen have been announced.
The application for 11 turbines is being made by the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG) in cooperation with Vattenfall and Technip.
The public consultation starts in Peterhead in the Palace HOtel on 29 August, followed by Newburgh (Udny Arms on 30 August, Ellon's Kirk Centre on 31 August), Balmedie's White Horse Inn on 1 September, and Aberdeen's Double Tree Hilton at the beach on 2 September. All the events are from 14:00 until 20:00.
A major boost to expand renewable projects in the agriculture sector was announced last week by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead at the Black Isle show. Mr Lochhead explained the new Agri-Renewables Strategy will 'ensure that land managers can benefit from the renewables revolution and unlock the green energy potential of their land'.
The strategy will consider key challenges for land managers, including:
An application has been lodged to build a wind farm project off the coast of Aberdeen. The application, which is being made by the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG) in cooperation with two other companies, Vattenfall and Technip, would see Aberdeen bay as the location for 11 next generation turbines. These would be constructed as a testing ground for future developments and the project would be called the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC). A European grant of 40 million euros from the European Economic Recovery Plan, confirmed at the end of last year, will help pay development and capital costs for the turbines.
One possible onjector is Donald Trump, who has raised concerns that the turbines would spoil the view of golfers on his new course north of the city.
The Scottish port of Aberdeen is to be the base for a consortium bidding for two of the five French offshore wind projects.
French energy services firm Technip, which has recently developed the Vertiwind turbine, has teamed up with Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, to bid for up to 1.25GW of French offshore wind capacity. Technip's European offshore wind headquarters and a centre of excellence are to be located in Aberdeen. It will work alongside Iberdrola's Global Offshore Division, established in Glasgow last year.
Technip will act as construction and engineering partner in the consortium, which will be led by ScottishPower Renewables. Areva will supply turbines for the consortium.
A new hydro-electric scheme in the Highlands has been given the go-ahead by the Scottish Government. The 5 Megawatt (MW) development at Loch Eilde Mor, near Kinlochleven, is expected to generate enough renewable energy to power around 2,400 homes and create around 12 jobs during construction. The SG has also approved a refurbishment of the existing Innerhadden hydro-scheme near Kinloch Rannoch in Perth and Kinross which will see the installation of two new weirs with self cleaning screens. Its expected capacity is 1.4 MW.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: "I have carefully considered the application for development at Loch Eilde Mor and this is a good scheme which will provide a new green energy source and sustainable economic benefits - an excellent example of using our natural assets in harmony with the environment. "I have also consented a refurbishment of the Innerhadden hydro-scheme in Perth and Kinross, which although already generating renewable energy, will enable it to maximise its output."
Reed Exhibitions have acquired the All-Energy show, an alternative energy exhibition and conference, from Media Generation Events. The annual show, held in May in Aberdeen – known as ‘The Energy City’ - is a strategic fit with Reed’s rapidly expanding global energy portfolio in North and South America, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Middle East, according to company officials.
“Acquiring All-Energy is an important step in securing our position in the UK’s alternative energy market, and is a key strategic element in our global renewable energy strategy,” said Justin Tadman, Reed Exhibitions’ divisional managing director.
He added, “We are looking forward to working closely with All-Energy exhibitors, visitors, sponsors and supporters to deliver an excellent 12th edition of the show in Aberdeen between 23-24, May 2012.”
An action plan to drive forward Scotland's renewables revolution and to meet the Scottish Government's world-leading green energy targets was launched today by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing.
The Renewables Routemap outlines the necessary steps needed to capitalise on the enormous economic potential of Scotland's green energy capacity and to meet ambitious targets, including supplying 100 per cent of electricity demand equivalent from renewables by 2020.
The plan sets new targets to meet 30 per cent of overall energy demand from renewables by 2020, and to deliver 500 MW of community and locally-owned renewable energy by 2020. The plan outlines a commitment to develop strategies for microgeneration and agri-renewables, and pledges to work with investors to create a Green Equity Fund to support community renewable projects.
Cambridge technology has been commissioned by Glasgow Prestwick Airport to carry out a design study using its groundbreaking holographic radar mitigation system to counteract the threat of interference by wind farms.
The region surrounding Glasgow Prestwick Airport (GPA) is strategically important to the growth of the Scottish wind industry, with the potential for hundreds of turbines. However, this cannot be developed without an effective solution to mitigate interference to the airport’s Primary Radar systems that would be caused by the turbines.
Cambridge Consultants has worked extensively with aviation and wind energy stakeholders to create a technical solution that fully meets their requirements.
It was announced last week that Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa is to create its offshore wind technology centre at Strathclyde Business Park. Gamesa had already indicated Glasgow was its preferred location.
The company anticipates the creation of up to 180 jobs at the centre over the next three years, and the initial recruitment phase is already under way. The company said it expected to be employing about 40 engineering staff by July/August, with the potential to grow this to more than 100 by the end of this year. The centre will officially open in the Autumn.
The company - which is working to launch two offshore platforms - has said it plans to invest more than 150m euros in the UK by 2014.
Scots planning to install green energy technology in their home or office can now make sure they choose a properly qualified local installer that is registered with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). The Construction Licensing Executive (CLE) will be responsible for administering the quality assurance scheme.
The MCS is designed to enable installation companies to demonstrate to customers their competence to install green energy products including micro wind turbines, biofuel systems and heat pumps. Companies certified under the scheme must demonstrate they have the quality systems and technical competence to install microgeneration technologies to a consistently high standard.
According to a report in today's Irish Times the UK is now offering to subsidise offshore windfarms on the West Coast of Ireland via the feed-in tariff system, which would essentially be a subsidy to private investors operating on Irish territory. This is good news for Ireland as their potential wind generating capacity exceeds domestic demand by a considerable margin.
A new interconnector with a capacity of 500MW will be in place between Ireland and Wales by the end of next year.
While this is good news for Ireland a cynical Scot might wonder if this is an attempt to mitigate a potential future dependence on renewable electricity imported from Scotland. Hopefully it will not have any effect on the development of offshore wind here.
The first pre-publication review of Mark Lynas' forthcoming book 'The God Species' was published today.
The God Species’ is a tale of the Anthopocene age – the age of man, where humanity is the primary force shaping the future environment. Its subtitle – ‘How the planet can survive the age of humans’ – is an early indication that this may be a more optimistic Lynas than the author of Six Degrees.
The new book travels far beyond the basic climatic remit of his previous works, examining nine ‘planetary boundaries’ we need to consciously manage in order to keep the Earth a comfortable place to live. Highly recommended - available from Amazon UK.
Contrary to reports in the Telegraph and other newspapers Achany wind farm is currently operating and generating electricity. Highland Council served a notice temporarily stopping operations at the farm on 6 June, but the order was lifted a few days later.
Planners were concerned that SSE had not committed to the submission of a report on noise monitoring at the site, whihc was a planning requirement. Highland Council served a notice temporarily stopping operations at the farm on 6 June, but the order was lifted a few days later.
A spokeswoman said: "The operators immediately complied with the notice and met planning staff to agree a timetable for the submission of the noise monitoring data."
The Telegraph today reports Professor Ian Fells as saying that green energy 'is the most expensive method of generating power and requires heavy subsidies from the taxpayer'. He claims that nuclear energy is the cheapest. Fells warns that relying on green energy will double power bills by 2020, and dismisses Scotland's 100% renewables by 2020 target, saying the maximum achievable by then is 40%.
What the Telegraph fails to mention is that Fells is a paid consultant to the nuclear industry. He is an associate at Incoteco, a company run by Hugh Sharman who is routinely used by the anti-windfarm organisation Country Guardian. He is also on the technical Advisroy Group of the REF, the Renewable Energy Foundation, who despite their name are profoundly anti-wind. Fells has been quoted as saying that energy security is more important than climate change.
The local authority has forced a Sutherland wind to shut down after the Scottish and Southern Electricity allegedly breached planning controls by failing to deal with what residents claim is excessive noise. People living close to the Achany wind farm claim their lives are being made a misery by the constant noise, and are angry that their complaints are being ignored. In an unprecedented move, Highland Council issued a temporary stop notice on the 23-turbine wind farm at 3pm on Monday.
The turbines stopped turning that night. The stop notice will remain in place for a month, until July 4, with the shut down representing a huge financial loss to SSE. Highland Council's principal planner Gordon Moonie confirmed yesterday (Thursday) that it was the first time the authority had issued a notice of this type. He said he was unaware of any other council taking similar action. We can't help feeling that if this is successful it will result in many more similar actions. We await further developments with interest and a modicum of concern.
Inverness economist Tony Mackay has described the Scottish government's renewable energy targets as "unachievable". The SNP wants all of Scotland's electricity demands to be met from wind, wave and tidal power by 2020, but Mr. Mackay elieves that the country will continue to rely on fossil fuel-powered stations beyond that date. The government said his analysis was wrong and there were already projects built or in the pipeline that would meet almost 60% of Scotland's needs.
Mr Mackay, MD of economists Mackay Consultants, has made gloomy predictions about the Scottish government's renewables ambitions in the past, claiming that the 20,000 jobs forecast made in 2010 was 'very unrealistic' and saying that in his opinion the actual figure could well be a 10th of that. As there are already more than 2,000 peopel employed ntn he renewables industry in Scotland I think we can conclude that Mr. Mackay has an agenda.
Natural Power’s marine renewables team have developed high resolution hydrodynamic tidal energy resource models for the west coast of Scotland. The tidal potential of the Mull of Galloway, Mull of Kintyre, Kyle Rhea and the Rhinns of Islay have long been recognised by industry and public bodies as areas of high tidal energy potential. Situated away from the Pentland Firth, these locations have been the target of the recent Further Scottish Leasing Round carried out by The Crown Estate. The high resolution maps, which will be made publicly available, aim to refine the industry wide understanding of the potential resource.
Director Neil Douglas, commented : "Over the last five years we have been working worldwide to drive forward the marine renewable industry. In our capacity as technical experts we can help to pinpoint the locations of greatest promise, and with these maps we hope to move industry closer to imminent 2020 targets".
The University of St Andrews is seeking planning permission from Fife Council to develop the six turbine wind farm on farmland it owns at Kenly Farm near Boarhills. It said it had already carried out a three-year on-site research process and consultation with local communities.
A spokesman for the university said the wind farm was a "vital component" of its plan to "offset the rapidly rising and punitive national costs of energy". It has submitted an application for six turbines each capable of generating about two megawatts.
The university is also holding discussions with local community councils about the possibility of forming community trusts to manage income from the proposed wind farm.
The first electricity has been produced from Scottish and Southern Energy's Clyde wind farm in South Lanarkshire. SSE said the first turbine had been "energised" and the electricity exported to the national grid. With 152 turbines, the wind farm will be Europe's biggest, with the potential to power 279,000 homes. The first of the wind farm's three sections should be finished by the end of this year and the rest by 2012.
SSE said the wind farm represented an investment of £500m. More than £200m worth of contracts have been awarded to Scottish companies. More than 200 construction jobs are being created while the wind farm is being built and after it is up and running 30 people will be employed to operate and maintain the site.
During its inquiry to the Scotland Bill, the Scottish Affairs Committee received a significant amount of evidence, which identified a number of concerns and issues in relation to the administration of the Crown Estate in Scotland. On 17 February 2011 the Committee announced that it would conduct an inquiry in to the Crown Estate in Scotland, and that terms of reference would be published in due course.
The Crown Estate Commissioners (CEC) are a public body responsible for the management of the Crown properties and property rights known as the Crown Estate. The Committee would welcome submissions on the management and governance of the Crown Estate in Scotland, the role and mandate of the Crown Estate Commissioners and the interaction between the Crown Estate Commissioners and UK, devolved and local government.
An Australian-owned company is about to apply for permission to drill the country’s first exploratory hydraulic fracturing well in a bid to exploit the gas that could be locked in shale deposits deep under Scotland's Central Belt. Stirling-based Composite Energy, taken over by the Australian multinational methane gas extraction firm Dart Energy in February, wants to sink a £1 million test bore 2000 metres deep at Airth, near Falkirk before the end of the year.
If it finds what it hopes, then full-scale 'fracking', or hydraulic fracturing, could follow. Environmental groups say that fracking can contaminate water supplies, and will greatly add to the pollution that scientists say is disrupting the climate. Others say that shale gas - which releases only 50% of the CO2 of coal or oil on combusion- can provide a valuable 'bridge' to a low-carbon economy.
A bid by protesters for a judicial review of the approval of a wind farm in the Borders has been rejected. At the Court of Session, Judge Lord McEwan ruled out the possibility of overturning permission for the 48-turbine Fallago Rig development. Opponents claimed a second hearing looking at the scheme had been biased and the case had been "pre-determined", but Lord McEwan found no evidence that was the case and said protesters had played an active part in the inquiry.
The judge threw out the demand for a judicial review saying those opposed to the wind farm were aware of all the issues to be raised at the second inquiry - which they appeared to have wanted. That was the proper time to have asked for a judicial review, said Lord McEwan, when the expense of a new inquiry might have been saved.
Campaigners have reacted angrily after the Scottish Government overturned a council’s decision to reject plans for a controversial £50 million waste energy plant near a town.
Work on the pyrolysis plant will now begin next year . Once completed, the plant will consume 160,000 tonnes of waste from rubbish and turn it into renewable energy. It had already been rejected by Labour-run North Lanarkshire Council after strong opposition.
Pyrolysis involves the high-temperature 'cooking' of waste to generate fuel. The plant is due to open in 2013, creating 50 jobs. Residents' concerns focus primarily on potential health effects and the effect on house prices. The dispute is one of a number of battles in Scotland over proposed waste to energy schemes.
Five sites have been identified around Shetland for possible offshore windfarm development between 2020 and 2030, but projects could be fast-tracked before then. Until now offshore windfarms have not been seen as contenders off Shetland due to the depth of water, wild seas and the sheer cost of building and servicing arrays of huge turbines and sending their electricity to market.
The technology required may however be closer than people think. In Norway, Statoil has been testing Hywind floating turbines and they are coming to Scotland with possibly the world’s first floating offshore windfarm (sa demomnstrator project of no more than five turbines) off Aberdeenshire.
The study recommends that the Shetland areas, in about 50-100 metres of water, and the single one west of Orkney, could even be “suitable for consideration for development in the short term” before 2020. The plan's authors are even eyeing up the so-called offshore waters around Shetland, which are in the 12-200 nautical mile zone in waters 100-200 metres deep.
The UK Technology Strategy Board (TSB) today, 26 May 2011, confirmed plans to support the development of a Technology Innovation Centre (TIC) for the offshore energy industry.
Welcoming the news, Adrian Gillespie, Director of Energy and Low Carbon Technologies at Scottish Enterprise, said:
“We have a diverse and vibrant energy sector which offers significant economic opportunity based on our offshore potential. The development of a dedicated Offshore Energy TIC is excellent news which will undoubtedly further enhance the UK's position as global energy powerhouse.
Scottish Enterprise has worked closely with the TSB to develop the case for the proposed new TIC and will now continue to work with industry advisory groups and academic partners across Scotland to consider options for Scotland's potential role going forward.”
A ground breaking ceremony will today see Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, mark the start of construction of a unique £60m biomass plant that will use whisky by-products as part of its fuel. The CHP (combined heat and power) plant by Helius CoRDe at Rothes, in Moray, could generate enough electricity to power 9,000 homes, and will also produce animal feed in the form of pot syrup.
The construction project will create about 100 jobs and 20 full-time posts when the plant becomes operational in 2013. The plant is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.
Helius CoRDe said it would produce 7.2 megawatts of electricity - mostly for export to the national grid - and would save 46,642 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.
Wind Towers Ltd, the joint venture between SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy plc) and Marsh Wind Technology Ltd, the UK subsidiary of Marsh Global Holdings Ltd, has completed the purchase of the Skykon wind turbine tower manufacturing and assembly plant at Machrihanish, Campbeltown, from its Administrators.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has agreed to provide an investment of £3.4million and Argyll and Bute Council is committing to a £12million infrastructure upgrade to the local port and roads.
The Wind Towers Ltd joint venture was established in February 2011 and was granted preferred bidder status by the Skykon administrator in March 2011. In addition to producing wind turbine towers for onshore wind farms, the construction of new facilities to allow the production of turbine towers for offshore wind farms at the site is almost complete, which will enable it to participate in the next phase of offshore wind developments.
Aquamarine Power's plans to install up to 40 Oyster wave energy generators along a 2km stretch of coast off N. Lewis depends on more than planning consent from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Without a new grid link to the mainland there will be nowhere for the power - enough to supply more than twice the needs of the entire Western Isles - to go.
An interconnector was originally proposed to take power from the giant Lewis Windpower farm (for which consent wwas eventually refused). It caused controversy at the time when the company said that they could not fund the cost of the connection to the mainland. Now another renewable energy project may be threatened because of a lack of funding for new grid infrastructure.
The Oysters are expected to be producing power by 2018, so action is needed soon.
The recent report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) claimed that tidal turbines will deliver energy at a higher cost than solar PV in 2040, but their assumptions are flawed. Their main reservations are intermittency, low yield, high capital costs and what they see as a relatively small scope for future improvements.
The UK has areas of strong tidal streams all around the coast, with the periods of peak flow at different times in different areas. For example, two turbines, one off Alderney and one off John O'Groats, would together produce substantial amounts of (entirely predictable) power every second of the day. And while CCC says yields would be only 40% the (early, experimental) MCT unit in Strangford Lough has produced 50% of its rated power.
Overall the CCC's report is deeply flawed in its presentation of tidal energy.
After significant opposition to many wind farm developments in the region Borders councillors have approved new guidance on criteria to be applied to applications. These guidelines clarify the advice offered to wind farm opponents and would-be developers.
Planning committee chairman Jock Houston said the guidance "improved and tightened up" previous directions. He said it clarified what criteria developers would need to meet in order to see a wind farm approved. However, he added that it also explained what grounds opponents could cite to seek refusal of a project. He went on to say:
"I think developers will realise it's going to be harder to convince the planning committee and reporters that they have a valid application . . . Using this guidance we can say there are large areas where there shouldn't be any more or shouldn't be any at all.
Environmental activists have blocked the two access roads to Grangemouth docks in protest against a proposed biomass power station at the port. Action Against Agrofuels said the wood-burning power station would threaten forests and worsen climate change.
Forth Energy's statement that it would use sustainably sourced wood cut no ice with the group, who call themselves Action Against Agrofuels. They said there was "nothing sustainable" about creating new demand for wood and are worried that the plant would lead to air pollution and related health problems.
About 20 people were involved. They claim to have blocked access to the entire port using scaffolding and bike locks, leading to traffic queues at the North Shore and South Shore roads.
David Cameron has moved to resolve a Cabinet row over the UK's climate change targets, with an agreement on emissions to be announced on Tuesday. This will see drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to 2027 and a overhaul of the way energy is produced. The targets will be reviewed if European nations backslide on their own climate commitments.
The prime minister intervened after leaked letters showed a disagreement between energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne and Lib Dem colleague, Business Secretary Vince Cable, on whether to accept the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change on emissions cuts.
Full details of the agreement will be announced tomorrow.
Community Energy News is in its 14th edition and packed full of stories on what communities across Scotland have been doing plus news of CES developments.
Community Energy Scotland is an independent Scottish charity providing free advice, grant funding and finance for renewable energy projects developed by community groups to benefit their community. This extends to non-profit distributing organisations such as social enterprises and housing associations. They are able to fund community projects through the Scottish Government's Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) which they deliver to communities across Scotland. They also receive funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise to support our work with communities in the Highlands and Islands.
Neil Gallacher, managing director of Lifetime Recycling Village in Glasgow, has said on the BusinessGreen blog that the renewables industry should lead the promised drive for new apprenticeships in Scotland.
Mr. Gallagher commented: "At its heart, our industry is geared towards sustainable growth, and it is vital that we take the lead on this - not only environmentally, but socially and economically too. At a time of significant development for the industry, recycling and renewable energy developers should capitalise on the opportunity to harness some of the best and brightest talent that the UK has to offer."
He went on to say: "The renewables industry is experiencing a massive expansion, which is set to continue over coming months and years. Now is the time to secure an employment base of skilled individuals, who will contribute to this progress and ensure that the green sector's needs are met."
Two Fishery boards are seeking assurances from Scottish and Southern Electricity that a new wind farm in Strathy Forest in Suthehrland will not have an adverse impact on fish. They are concerned because water from the windfarm site drains into the River Strathy and the many lochs and pools in the surrounding area.
Northern District Salmon Fishery Board and Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB) have however said they would withdraw their objections if SSE was willing to work with them on reducing any risks to water courses and habitats essential to species such as Atlantic salmon and sea trout.
Members of the planning applications committee will visit the site on Monday (May 10). Planning officers have recommended no objection provided certain planning conditions are complied with.
Scotland's local authorities and energy industry are set to launch a green energy revolution with the first ever conference to explore the use of public sector assets in the delivery commercial renewable energy projects.
COSLA, SCDI, SLAED and Aberdeen City Council, will host EMPOWERING SCOTLAND: Maximising the Potential of Public Assets for Low Carbon Energy on Tuesday 21 June at the Douglas Hotel, Aberdeen. The conference has been organised to discuss the potential opportunities for councils, the wider public sector and their private and community partners in generating renewable energy following last year's change in the law, allowing councils to generate and sell renewable energy.
Up to 9,000 Scottish homes are going to be powered with energy produced by burning waste matter from the whisky-making process. Contracts have recently been awarded for the construction of a biomass combined heat and power plant at Rothes in Speyside that by 2013 will use the by-products of the whisky-making process for energy production. The plant will burn "draff", the spent grains used in the distilling process, in combination with woodchips to generate electricity.
Environmentalists have expressed concern that some of the wood used in the process may not be locally sourced, but say the 7.2MW project – the equivalent output of two large wind turbines - is a good scale and a valuable addition to Scotland's renewables industry.
A proposal to develop an 18-turbine wind farm in Wigtownshire has been rejected by councillors. The application was previously deferred to allow a site visit to be carried out by members of Dumfries and Galloway Council's planning committee. Developer Gamesa Energy UK wanted to construct the farm along with a control building housing 40 solar cell panels at Carscreugh Fell near Glenluce.
The design was modified in response to concerns about the environmental impact of the development, and the changes saw both the RSPB and the Galloway Fisheries Trust withdraw their objections. Planning officials had recommended approval for the project, but thte councillors have refused the application on grounds of landscape, visual and archaeological impact.
Alex Salmond was questioned on windfarms on BBC Scotland’s ‘Call Kay’ this morning. The caller asked him why ‘he insists on industrialising our beautiful countryside with windfarms.’
Mr. Salmond explained that we currently have 5GW of onshore wind capacity in Scotland and that this is planned to expand to 7GW in the next ten years. He pointed out that in fact only 0.05% of the land area of Scotland was ‘covered’ in wind turbines, less than the area covered in pig farms. He illustrated this by pointing out that en-route to Nigg yesterday by helicopter across a huge swathe of Scotland he only saw two windfarms. He went on to say that the biggest expansion in wind over the next 10 years is offshore, where capacity will be going from virtually zero to 7GW.
A proposal to develop an 18-turbine wind farm in Wigtownshire is set to be debated by councillors. The application was previously deferred to allow a site visit to be carried out by members of Dumfries and Galloway Council's planning committee.
Developer Gamesa Energy UK wants to construct the farm along with a control building housing 40 solar cell panels at Carscreugh Fell near Glenluce. Planning officials have recommended approval for the project.
The company, which describes the scheme as a renewable energy park, first tabled the plans in 2006 but the design blueprint has since been modified in response to concerns about the environmental impact of the development.
The Scottish Greens today launched their national energy policy for Scotland and asked for public support to bring about an end to risky nuclear and dirty coal power. The Greens have put Scotland's energy choices at the heart of any post-election negotiations, and will not support any administration in the next Parliament which plans new nuclear or coal plants, or to extend the life of existing nuclear facilities.
Instead, Greens want to go faster and further than any other party in delivering renewable energy: for Scotland to go beyond 100% renewable electricity for domestic demand by 2020 using the full mix of renewables, including wave and tidal, and to export the surplus to our neighbours, drawing on renewable heat and making a rapid transition away from an oil-dependent transport system.
The BiFab Arnish fabrication yard, outside Stornoway, Lewis, is capitalising on the growth of Scotland’s marine energy sector with new work from wave energy company Aquamarine Power. Workers at the yard are currently manufacturing the foundation piles for Aquamarine Power’s ‘Oyster’ wave energy device which will be installed in Orkney this summer.
“We selected BiFab to build Oyster for two reasons,” says Aquamarine Power Chief Executive Martin McAdam. “Firstly, they are a world-class fabrication contractor with over 20 years experience in the offshore oil and gas industry. Secondly, they are a Scottish firm with yards on both coasts."
A research project has been launched to ensure that dolphins are not harmed by marine energy developments in Scottish waters. The dolphins’ movement patterns will be monitored and methods of detecting their presence researched. These will be used to inform the timing of marine energy construction work to avoid any interference with the creatures.
New research will help balance the development of marine energy schemes – such as the world’s first tidal power project, to be built in the Sound of Islay – with protecting dolphins on Scotland’s west coast. Marine mammal scientist Nienke van Geel will carry out a study at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) at Dunstaffnage, near Oban, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI).
The Scottish Green Party has outlined its five most important policy changes needed if climate change is to be tackled globally. The party wants the fund for community-led carbon reduction projects to be increased to £125m, a move away from road and air travel and annual emission-cutting targets to be raised to 4.5%. The Greens also want the country's electricity supply shifted to a "broad mix of renewables by 2020" and all homes insulated.
Green MSP Patrick Harvie said: "There is an urgent need to tackle climate change, but the social costs of Scotland's oil dependency are also becoming much more obvious. Fuel prices will continue to rise as global oil supplies reach their peak, and food and energy prices will follow. Economies which can break their dependence on oil and other fossil fuels will thrive, but continuing with business as usual politics on this issue would expose Scotland to poverty and stagnation".
The SNP's manifesto for the May Holyrood election was published yesterday. Page 34 is entitled 'Low Carbon Ambition and Opportunity' and includes a proposal to increase Scotland's 2020 target to 100%. Scotland would remain a big exporter of electricity and would also generate 100% of its electricity needs from renewable power. Alex Salmond, who launched the manifesto at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, said: “We are going to engineer the 21st century, just as this city and this country engineered the 19th century.”
Lewis Macdonald, the Labour Party energy spokesman, said: “Labour is behind the drive to produce more electricity from renewable sources but Alex Salmond’s manifesto pledge is pure fantasy. “The current target of 80% for 2020 is already extremely ambitious and will be difficult to achieve, so to go beyond that is simply unrealistic.
Other energy pledges included the creation of 500 dedicated apprenticeships for the energy and low-carbon industry and increased strategic suport for the offshore marine reneawles sector.
Shale gas obtained through the controversial 'fracking' process has been hailed as a "stepping stone" to a low-carbon future and a route to energy security, but US researchers have found that shale gas wells leak substantial amounts of methane, which molecule for molecule is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. This makes its climate impact worse than conventional gas, they say - and quite probably worse than coal as well.
'Fracking' involves pumping fluids under pressure into the formation to fracture the shale and release the gas. There ahve been claims of groundwater pollution in the US, where this is common. In the UK it is widely used to stimulate offshore wells, but has not been used onshore. The first trial fracking in the UK took place last month, in Lancashire. In Scotland there are shale formations thought to be suitable for the process in the Central Belt.
Home insulation was the focus of election pledges from the SNP and the Greens yesterday. The Nationalists promised to invest £50million, a fifth of the £250million Scottish Futures Fund announced last week, which they say can be recouped from reducing the costs of the new Forth crossing. The Greens proposed a £100million-a-year scheme to insulate every home in Scotland.
The Greens claim the SNP plans are costly, bureaucratic and would take more than 200 years to insulate every home in Scotland. Their top list candidate in the north-east, Martin Ford, said none of the other parties were proposing home insulation schemes of the scale or type required. The Greens' proposal; would involve 'insulating every home in Scotland area-by-area, street-by-street, and door-by-door'.
Lack of wind saw Scottish land-based turbines generate only 21.9% of installed capacity in 2010, more than five percentage points down on 2009 performance according to data from the Renewable Energy Foundation. They are expected to operate at an average output of about 30 per cent of maximum capacity. The REF, which has warned of over-reliance on onshore wind, said it also produced the least electricity during cold weather, when demand was greatest.
The figures also showed that offshore wind farms increased output by nearly 75 per cent last year as new turbines boosted capacity by nearly half. However, hydro power contributed almost one third less electricity than in 2009 because of low rainfall. Hydro accounted for 14 per cent of renewable energy last year, slightly more than offshore wind farms
Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) has announced plans to develop Scotland's first offshore wind turbine testing facility in North Ayrshire. The Perth-based group wants to set up a facility at Clydeport's Hunterston site to test up to three prototypes for the next generation of offshore turbines.
SSE will now seek planning permission which, if granted, would see millions of pounds invested at the site. The proposed new facility has the backing of Scottish Enterprise and would be aan extension of SSE's Glasgow-based Centre of Engineering Excellence for Renewable Energy.
If North Ayrshire Council grants planning permission, construction of the facility would begin next year.
Marine Currrent Turbines is planning to install one of Scotland's first tidal energy farms after securing an Agreement for Lease from The Crown Estate for a four turbine tidal farm in Kyle Rhea, a narrow strait of water between the Isle of Skye and the Scottish mainland.
The project is likely to have a maximum power of 8MW produced by four machines of the type currently installed in Strangford Lough in N. ireland. The device deploys twin rotors from a tower-like structure that allows the blades to be raised above the wwater for maintenance.
The machine in Strangford Lough has proved to be very reliable, but is not effectively 'invisible' like the recently announced islay tidal energy project and may pose problems for vessels navigating in the channel. MCT is aiming to deploy the Kyle Rhea tidal farm by 2014.
Commenting on provisional Government figures released today showing a 2.8 per cent rise in UK greenhouse emissions and a 3.8 per cent rise in carbon emissions, Friends of the Earth's Executive Director Andy Atkins said:
"Our economy is as dangerously hooked on fossil fuels as it was twenty years ago - so emissions are bound to rise as the economy picks up.
"The Government has repeatedly promised to build a low-carbon economy to tackle climate change and insulate us all from yo-yoing fuel prices, but the Treasury refuses to lay the foundations or pay for the bricks."
Five years after submitting its original plans, RWE npower renewables has been granted consent for the 27MW Burn of Whilk Wind Farm between East Clyth and the Loch of Warehouse, some seven miles south of Wick in Caithness.
The company originally proposed 13 turbines but met with local opposition. It then resubmitted plans for nine turbines and was today granted consent.The project is currently expected to enter the construction phase in Spring 2013 and begin generating in early 2014.
Highland Council archaeology unit have asked that the nearby sites, which include a chambered cairn, be protected during construction work.
A Canadian millionaire is holding up work on one of Scotland's largest infrastructure projects by refusing to sell a tiny strip of land measuring just 245 square metres. Brendan Clouston - who owns Eilean Aigas, a secluded island home in the River Beauly - is resisting attempts by Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) to acquire the plot in remote Eskadale.
The land is needed to widen the C1108 road so it can accommodate traffic working on the controversial Beauly-Denny overhead power line upgrade. SSE has now applied for a compulsory purchase order , but if it is opposed the matter will go to a local public inquiry, delaying work on that section of the project by up to nine months.
Plans by Peterhead harbour bosses to erect two massive quayside wind turbines that would tower over the historic port have moved a significant step forward.
Peterhead Port Authority wants to erect a pair of 330ft turbines on vacant industrial land at the town’s Keith Inch and Green Hill. The devices would be three times the size of the port’s existing shiplift building and would generate enough electricity to power thousands of homes.
A planning application for the turbines has been tabled with Aberdeenshire Council.
Speaking at the Scottish Renewables conference in Glasgow this week Chris Huhne reiterated the UK government’s commitment to renewables and said he had asked officials to look closely at whether there was a case for adjusting transmission charges for renewable generation on the Scottish Islands under section 185 of the Energy Act 2004.
Currently producers have to pay “locational” transmission charges based on the distance between where power is generated and used. Generators in the north of Scotland face the highest charges in the UK of around £21.58 per kiloWatt hour whereas in London a power provider gets a subsidy of £6.9 per kWh, according to government figures. The current charging system severely prejudices the viability of projects like the proposed Viking Energy windfarm in Shetland.
Scotland's newest university is working on a project to identify potential wave power sites in the sea off the Western Isles. The Hebridean Marine Energy Futures project has been backed with £900,000 from the Scottish Funding Council and staff at the University of the Highlands and Islands' (UHI) Lews Castle College on Lewis are leading the research work.
Project manager Arne Vogler said: "This is one of the most important research projects of its kind, with far-reaching benefits for a burgeoning industry. He added: "Marine energy projects in high-resource areas produce more power at a lower cost per unit of energy output. This means there is a clear economic imperative for project developers to target these areas."
Highland councillors have approved planning permission for a new 19-turbine wind farm at Corriemoillie near Garve. The new development is immediately adjacent to, and willshare access with, the existing 17-turbine Lochluichart windfarm.
Scottish Natural Heritage had suggested that the scheme be reduced by eight to 10 turbines and that construction work should avoid disturbing black grouse. Highland Council received 473 objections to the project and 87 letters in support of the scheme, but there were only 30 protesters demonstrating in Inverness as councillors met to take a decision on the application.
The vote for approval was unanimous. Planning officer David Mudie said thatThe visual impacts were not considered to be significant and would not effect the experience of people visiting the area.
Two wind farm plans which caused concerns about their potential effect on radar systems have been approved by the Scottish government. These approvals will see 23 turbines built at Blackcraig in the Galloway hills and an extension of the same size at Black Law in North Lanarkshire and West Lothian.
Both schemes saw concerns raised about the potential impact on radar. The Scottish government said talks between aviation authorities and the company had produced a "mitigation solution".
In spite of it being widely publicised by anti-windfarm groups nationwide Wednesday's protest in Edinburgh only mnanaged to muster 250 campaigners from anti-windfarm groups all across Scotland.
The protesters marched through Edinburgh to oppose proposals to allow electricity firms to explore siting 200 turbines on Forestry Commission land. They were supported by MSP Murdo Fraser, the Conservative candidate for North Perthshire. 'Over 200' letters of protest were handed in at the parliament addressed to the First Minister.
Protesters were encouraged to bring video cameras, but apparently nothing has appeared on Youtube or elsewhere yet, possibly because the protest was seen as a poor advertisement for the anti-wind movement.
The Scottish government has abandoned plans for two offshore wind farms identified by the Crown Estate as part of its Scottish Territorial Waters leasing round. E.ON's 300MW project in the Solway Firth and DONG Energy's 280MW Wigtown Bay proposals were both deemed unsuitable by the government's new offshore wind plan, published today.
Both were part of the 10 areas originally earmarked for wind power and awarded to developers in February 2009 by the Crown Estate. However, a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) undertaken by the Scottish Government found that both proposals were considered to have problems with public acceptability, environmental and visual impact.
The UK's first serious tidal energy power plant is to be built in the Sound of Islay off the west coast of Scotland. The Scottish government has approved plans for 10 of the Hammerfest Strom 1MW tidal turbines, which will be installed n the sound just south of Port Askaig.
Scottish Power Renewables are the energy company involved. The site is ideal because it is sheltered but has strong tidal flows and is also adjacent to the existing electricity grid.
A demonstrator of the HS1000 turbine is currently undergoing trials at the EMEC tidal research facility in Orkney. If the Islay installation is successful the next step will be a 95-turbine array in the Pentland Firth.
Borders Council has approved a pilot scheme to provide a small pool of electric cars for social work staff. This has been made possible by a £105,000 low carbon vehicle support grant from the Scottish government. Three cars costing more than £30,000 each will be purchased and a small network of charging stations set up. The scheme will be used to provide transport covering the central Borders.
Council leader David Parker said the project would allow the authority to assess how "efficient and practical" the vehicles could be. Jim Fullarton, the council's executive member for roads and infrastructure, commented:.
"It's a great trial for social work when it costs £3.36 to fill the tank of the car compared with the current fuel prices."
The Scottish Government has launched a new £500,000 interest free loan scheme to help householders install green energy generating equipment. Loans will be available for a range of renewable heat and electricity technologies - such as heat pumps, solar panels, micro-wind turbines or biomass boilers.
People installing electricity technologies will be eligible for payments for feeding electricity into the national grid. The money will also help domestic customers install renewable heat equipment who have been excluded from support by the UK Government's Renewable Heat Incentive until next year.
Speaking at the SNP's Spring conference today John Swinney said:
. . . we need the Westminster Government to end the block on Scotland’s Fossil Fuel Levy, worth almost £200 million. That is needed urgently so that we can make the necessary investment to allow our renewable energy sector thrive and help Europe and the UK meet their green energy targets. That is backed by business, environmental groups and trade unions. We don’t need any more excuses we need action from the UK Government.
The fossil fuel fund is raised from electricity generators in Scotland and held in an account by energy regulator Ofgem in London. The Westminster government promised to look at the issue back in May last year, but so far no cash has been forthcoming.
ITREZ is Scotland's new International Technology and Renewable Energy Zone in Glasgow. The main hub will be at the Scottish Enterprise owned City Science site in the East End, and the centrepiece will be the University of Strathclyde’s new £89 million Technology Innovation Centre building.
Scottish Enterprise Chief Executive Lena Wilson said:
“Our vision for ITREZ is to provide a breeding ground for ambitious companies to harness cutting-edge research, access the best people and develop the products which will shape the renewable energy industry of tomorrow.”
Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and Marsh Wind Technology have established a joint venture to secure the future of the Skykon factory at Machrihanish, Campbeltown, where it is currently trading in administration. The joint venture, Wind Towers Ltd, has submitted a bid and now secured 'preferred bidder' status from administrators, Andrew Davison and Colin Dempster of Ernst & Young.
The partners expect to acquire the wind turbine tower manufacturing and assembly plant within the next few weeks. New facilities for the production of turbine towers for offshore wind farms at the site is almost complete, enabling it to participate in the next phase of offshore wind developments.
Scottish Power has been given until June to draw up improved plans to limit the visual impact of the Beauly-Denny power line over a 12 mile section in the area around Stirling and Falkirk.
Energy Minister Jim Mather asked the company to consider "unexplored options", including burying the line. Until now Scottish Power has ruled out burying the line, citing technical, economic and environmental reasons.
Any final approval of the scheme would now take place after the Scottish elections in May.
Proposals to install a 185m wind turbine just 20m off the Fife coast are to come under the spotlight this week when councillors meet on Wednesday to consider their formal response to a consultation on the project. The turbine will be an 'offshore demonstrator' at the Fife Energy Park in Methil.
But while Fife Council admits the plan would "positively contribute" to the area's role and reputation of being a centre of excellence in Scotland's growing renewables sector, the authority is seeking assurances from the Scottish Government on what the turbine's impact will be in terms of residential, visual and landscape amenity before any application is approved.
"Anti-Wind NIMBYs [Not In My Back Yarders] Are [a] Small Minority," writes Brian Keane of SmartPower in a recent Huffington Post blog, and he proceeds to back it up with evidence.
In particular, Keane cites a recent independent telephone poll of residents living within six miles of a proposed wind farm project in the UK. The survey found 66% in favor of the wind turbines project and 12% against it - not a "silent majority" against the wind farm project, not a close call, but overwhelming support.
The suggestion is that the media are acting irresponsibly by focussing on the vocal minority and failing to report the majority opinion.
Alex Salmond today announced details of a two-day global green finance conference to be held in Edinburgh in September.
The Scottish Low Carbon Investment conference will take place on September 27th and 28th following the success of last year's inaugural event, attended by around 550 delegates from government, low carbon industries and the financial sectors.
The First Minister announced details of the event in an address at the annual conference of the Scottish European Green Energy Centre (SEGC), where he also welcomed a Skills Investment Plan for the energy industry . As many as 95,000 potential job opportunities have been identified across sectors, including up to 28,000 in offshore wind.
Power company Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) has abandoned plans for a windfarm just 2km off Machrahanish on the West coast of Kintyre. In a statement SSE said the location was too close to local communities and Campbeltown airport and would disrupt recreational sailing. SSE has decided to concentrate their offshore wind efffort on another site 13km from Islay.
The proposed offshore development was hugely controversial in Kintyre. Some feared it could damage the development of tourism in the area and destroy an iconic seascape, while others felt it might in some way save the closed Skykon wind turbine factory at Machrahanish.
The SNP made the pledge today to deliver 22,000 jobs in everything from wind turbine manufacturing, to science and innovation as SNP leader Alex Salmond announced 500 guaranteed apprenticeships in the Energy industry.
SNP Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead set out the party's ambitions for the future of Scotland's energy industry saying: “A re-elected SNPGovernment working for Scotland will continue the success of the last four years to create 22,000 jobs in our low carbon industries in the next Parliament with a potential 130,000 jobs in the industry by 2020.”
More than 300 people marched through the Shetland capital Lerwick today to protest at plans to build a giant wind farm in the centre of the islands. Protestors claim the 127-turbine development is too big and will blight the landscape, while supporters see it as the new replacement for declining oil industry revenues and say it will create local jobs and wealth.
Viking Energy, who are building the windfarm in a joint venture with Scottish and Southern Energy, claim that the project will bring in an expected total income of £930 million to Shetland across its lifetime and have a carbon payback of less than one year. It includes a habitat management plan designed to protect, conserve and enhance Shetland's local environment. Scottish Energy Minister Jim Mather will have the final say on the planning application.
A member of staff from AliEnergy is planning to drive an electric car from Dunoon to Oban. The council will provide charging points along the route at some of its depots. The drive is a total of a hundred miles with stops in six different places to charge up on the journey which takes place on the 22 and 23 February.
On Tuesday 22 February the car will be available for fleet managers and council officials to view at the Lochgilphead council depot between 12 and 2pm. At 5pm it’ll be in the Oban depot for viewing. On Wednesday 23 February interested parties get the chance to see the car at 4pm at the Hamilton Street depot in Dunoon. Councillor Neil Mackay said:
“Argyll and Bute Council is a leading rural authority and is always looking at ways of reducing its carbon footprint.”
Scottish farmers are set to benefit from £2.4 million in government funding for renewable energy projects planning. The funding was confirmed yesterday by Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lockhead, who said that the money would cover the financial risks associated with planning renewable energy projects.
Risks include making investments in projects which do not have planning permission yet. Loans of up to £150,000 will be made available to cover up to 90% of early project costs, and will provide extra support on top of feed-in tariffs. Mr Lockhead said that the renewable energy sector had the potential to be "a real money spinner", but farmers were put off investing because of the risks.
On Monday 10th January Marine Scotland held the first of a series of national Consultation Workshops on the Government's Draft Plan for Offshore Wind. This took place in Campbeltown's Argyll Arms Hotel and the fact Campbeltown was the first reflected the fact over 35% of all responses to the consultation (297) were about the proposed Kintyre Inshore Windfarm.
Although there were around 60 attendees, not a single voice was raised in support of the the plans and the representatives from Marine Scotland were grilled for three and a half hours about the way in which the Kintyre proposals had come about, with numerous reasons why it should not proceed being put forward.
These are exciting times for Scotland. If we play our cards right and don't lose our nerve we are poised to become one of the biggest players in the new renewables market. As many as 60,000 green jobs could be created in Scotland as a result of investment in the renewable energy sector, and Scotland could become a major European exporter of energy.
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