• Centrica signs renewables contract with Macquarie, Novera

    Centrica PLC has signed a long-term power purchase agreement with NM Renewable Energy, a joint venture between Macquarie Bank and Novera Energy, which will deliver approximately 300GWh of ‘green’ electricity to British Gas customers every year - enough to supply around 60,000 homes.

    The agreement Centrica has entered into, commencing in April 2005, will run for more than 10 years, meeting approximately 5% of Centrica’s rising renewables obligation. Electricity supplied to British Gas customers will be delivered from a diverse range of renewable sources, including hydro-electric, landfill gas and an onshore wind farm.

  • Pro-renewables roadshow tours Scotland

    A four-month promotional roadshow for the advantages of renewable energy is underway in Scotland.

    Entitled It’s Only Natural, the tour began in Inverness and is primarily intended to encourage public support for ‘green’ energy and quell opposition to installations such as wind turbines.

    The deputy enterprise minister, Allan Wilson, said renewable energy had a crucial role to play in combating the effects of climate change while benefiting the economy. He said this was why the Scottish Executive had set a target for 18% of Scotland’s electricity to come from renewable energy by 2010 and 40% by 2020.

    Wilson said: “We are committed to achieving our targets through a range of renewable technologies – on and off-shore wind, biomass, wave and tidal and micro renewables.

    “However, it’s also vital to ensure that the public are fully aware of all the issues that surround these policies – the benefits that more renewable energy will bring and how a potential project can impact on your area.

    “The 2003 study Public Attitudes to Windfarms has shown that the public are broadly in favour of renewable energy. We absolutely welcome a debate, but it must be an informed debate.”

  • Welsh renewables vital to achieving 2010 target

    With up to 76 onshore windfarms in the planning, Wales has the potential to meet up to 18% of its electricity demand from renewables and will play a vital role in achieving the UK target of 10% electricity from renewables by 2010, Malcolm Wicks said this week.

    Speaking in Cardiff at the latest in a series of Energy Review consultation meetings, the energy minister said: “Wales faces the same problems as the rest of the country. The need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, tackle declining domestic energy supplies against increasing world demand and secure a diverse energy mix for the future.

    “The Energy Review seeks to answer some of those problems, but that needs input from all of us. Renewables is one aspect, but there is no single solution, the fact is we need to decide now on where Wales will get its future energy supply.

    “One thing is clear. Doing nothing is not an option. There are some tough decisions ahead, some big challenges, but no one solution. How the people and businesses of Wales see their energy future is a vital part of that solution.”

    Current renewable generation in Wales meets around 3.6% of all electricity consumed producing around 450GWh.

    The prime minister has asked Wicks to lead a review of long-term energy policy. He was visiting Cardiff as part of a three-month public consultation period about how the country should meet its energy challenges.

    The average Welsh resident consumes around 64kWh less energy than the average UK resident, but Wales' CO2 emissions are slightly higher than those of the rest of the UK.

    A consultation document is published at www.dti.gov.uk/energy/review. Anyone wishing to make a contribution to the review can do so on-line or in writing to Energy Review Team, DTI, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET

  • Skills needed to meet demand in renewables

    SummitSkills has announced a major new project called Horizon, which will create a Sector Skills Agreement for building services engineering, aimed at giving employers a greater say in training.
    Following research into the skills required for the future and the quality of training provision currently available, SummitSkills has identified that new IT implementation and the impact of environmental technology are two key issues when it comes to training.
    Traditionally basic skills have covered numeracy and literacy but the fast development of mobile communication equipment, such as PDAs, means that staff, particularly the less IT-literate, may need training for this new technology.
    The plans local government intend to implement to reduce carbon emissions will also see companies installing and maintaining combined heat and power, solar panels and photovoltaic cells.
    At present, many firms are reactive rather than proactive with regards to developing skills in renewable technologies.
    Businesses risk being left behind if they do not prepare for the future by offering adequate training to meet these skill requirements.
    Findings will be published throughout autumn. To find out some of the key issues and give your opinions on the findings and solutions, visit
    www.horizon-ssa.org.uk.

  • Fund for development of renewables in Scotland

    A £6m fund to support renewable energy developments in the east of Scotland has been set up.
    The Sigma Sustainable Energies Fund is financed by a range of partners from the public and private sectors, including ScottishPower and Scottish & Southern Energy.
    It will consider energy-related projects that will stimulate growth in the renewables sector. A wide range of fields will be covered including wind, solar, hydro-electric, biomass and ocean. As much as £500,000 will be donated by each of the partners in the fund.
    The Sigma Sustainable Energies Fund will also consider projects that develop home and community power systems, fuel cells and energy storage.

  • Renewables - Championing the Green scene

    Renewables - Championing the  Green scene

    2007 saw European Union leaders agree to binding targets on the use of renewables in a bid to rapidly expand the use of green energy sources. The government signed up to a deal to ensure 20% of all European energy was to be derived from renewables sources by 2020. The UK alone has committed to cutting its emissions by 60% by 2050, although without a sufficiently skilled workforce in place to design install and maintain new technology this may not be achievable

    The building services engineering (BSE) sector has a major role to play in meeting UK targets by ensuring that training structures are in place to support the move to renewable energy, which include solar thermal, photovoltaics, micro-wind, biomass, ground and air source heat pumps, and micro CHP.

    As the sector skills council for the BSE sector, SummitSkills is heavily involved in a variety of activities to ensure the industry is geared up for the shift to renewable energy.

    Research conducted by SummitSkills at stage two of its Sector Skills Agreement (SSA) - the Assessment of Current Provision - established that some qualification content is out of date or not suitable for sector needs, in relation to specific renewables and environmental technologies. Consequently, the UK is lagging behind in the requirements to be able to design, install and maintain technologies. As a result, SummitSkills has been updating the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for the sector to integrate renewable technologies into mainstream qualifications and ensure approved training and assessment is put in place as soon as possible.

    At government level, the organisation is currently working centrally and regionally to reinforce the crucial role the BSE sector has to play in the development of the environmental technology market; with specific reference to renewables.

    There is a close link between the skills of existing sector routes and new technologies. SummitSkills views this link not as new career roles, but as an extension of existing careers and industry approved qualifications, with additional specific technology training related to the work carried out. Consequently, SummitSkills has been working with the Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (IPHE) to develop of the minimum technical competence requirements for the integration of environmental technologies into the appropriate Competent Persons Scheme.

    Microgeneration needs
    Microgeneration is a key part of the government’s strategy to help combat climate change, and is currently promoted through the Low Carbon Buildings Programme.

    SummitSkills is the sector skills council for microgeneration and commissioned a report in early 2007, supported by Engineering Services Training Trust Ltd and the Heating and Ventilating Contractors’ Association (HVCA), to assess current provision and the measures in place for training on microgeneration technologies in the UK.

    The report spelt out the need for the industry stakeholders to work closely with SummitSkills to champion renewable energy training on a local, regional and national level to ensure a skilled workforce.

    The report resolved there are currently few microgeneration courses in combined heat and power and hydro, with only a limited number of these actually leading to a recognised qualification, particularly in wind and solar-PV. It also highlighted the lack of benchmarks for best practice in the installation of renewable energy systems, which SummitSkills feels is responsible for hindering the development of training courses It also recommends that funding is increased to improve the training facilities available.

    Manufacturers and sustainability
    In addition to its focus on training provision, SummitSkills also operates a Manufacturers and Sustainability Interest Group to identify and support emerging environmental technologies.

    The group links with employers, professionals and employer associations to drive the government on the development and uptake of best practice in renewables. Part of its remit is to ensure technical skills training is in place, and to involve manufacturers in competence and accreditation schemes.

    This group complements SummitSkills’ Interest Groups that enable employers to air their views and develop solutions for skills and training requirements in the BSE sector. This helps to form future strategies and objectives for SummitSkills.

    Renewable energy in Wales
    SummitSkills has been involved in liaising, on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government, with residents to reduce the planning process for small-scale renewable energy generation equipment, such as solar panels or wind turbines.

    Current laws make the process unattractive to homeowners, proving lengthy and expensive. Professional installers, surveyed by SummitSkills, believe this market could grow significantly if the planning process is improved, leading to greater productivity. The Welsh Assembly Government plans to improve energy efficiency in 200,000 Welsh homes by 2020.

    Moving forward
    Extensive research has established the need for change in the education and training provision in the sector. As part of its sector skills agreement, SummitSkills has taken this research and incorporated it into stage three of the project - a draft action plan that reveals five key skills priorities to be addressed in order to develop and maintain a skilled workforce.

    The five priorities are:
    - Professional image and competence – promoting a positive image of the sector
    - Communication and information – creating a knowledge centre for all sector skills development needs
    - Training provision – ensuring proactive, quality and relevant training
    - Funding – flexibility in funding to meet fast-changing needs
    - Management and leadership – supporting the sector to plan and develop profitable and competitive business

    Tackling environmental technology provision relates directly to the third skills priority – training provision. As part of this priority SummitSkills lays out a proposed solution for the lack of appropriate skills, building on its existing work on developing and implementing National Occupational Standards (NOS) for current and emerging environmental technologies to embrace craft and professional occupations. It is key to ensuring that environmental technologies are fully integrated within other activities, such as the careers strategy and apprenticeship training frameworks.
    SummitSkills’ work encompasses a broad spectrum of activities, all key to ensuring that the BSE sector has an appropriate infrastructure in place to succeed on renewable energy training strategy. It is vital not only are installers and engineers trained in these technologies, but they are trained to a recognised standard. In order to achieve this successfully, SummitSkills needs commitment from all partners within the sector for continuous improvement – only then will we see a competent, highly-skilled workforce capable of meeting the demands of the industry.

    For further information on progress in environmental or renewables specific skills, visit www.summitskills.org.uk/renewables.

  • Renewables target deemed achievable

    The Renewables Advisory Board (RAB) has reported the UK could generate 14% of its total energy from renewables by 2020 if a set of identified radical policy changes are put into effect quickly. Recommendations include accelerating grid studies, streamlined consenting processes, early introduction of revised support mechanisms and, most importantly, strong political leadership. 

    The Board has also advised the Government how the additional measures could go on to achieve the full 15% share required by the EU's renewable energy target.

    In order to do this, experts in four sectors (bulk electricity, bulk heat, built environment and transport) were each asked to predict what could be delivered by 2020 with significant but achievable policy change. In total, the expert groups felt able to forecast bulk electricity could provide 7.1%; bulk heat could provide 0.9%; built environment 3.3%; and transport at 2.7%.

    With a further 1% remaining, the report sets out three possible options but stressed that delivery of each will present further challenges to meet the ambitious proposed target.

    The report concludes the 2020 target of 15% UK energy from renewables is achievable, but that rapid development of a transformed energy framework with radically new economic, political and social drivers is necessary. RAB also identified that renewables must be at the heart of energy policy and that many new policies are required and some, urgently.

    Alan Moore, Co-Chairman of RAB said: "If the 15% target is to be approached we need to establish a different energy world. Many of these changes will need to be radical and will require, above all else, political leadership and a determination to succeed.

    "Industry and commerce themselves stand ready to deliver but, as ever in the renewables industry, the greatest investment risk is seen as political risk. Investors need to be confident that government is determined to achieve its own targets."

  • Financial boost for offshore renewables

    Sea-based renewable technologies will receive added financial support from this week following an overhaul of the UK's system for supporting renewable energy.

    Energy and Climate Change Minister Mike O'Brien today announced up to £10m is to be made available to develop the next generation of offshore wind technology.

    Speaking at an event on Monday which, for the first time, brings together renewable industry leaders and the ports industry, Mr O'Brien said the UK government is determined to do all it can to meet its challenging renewable energy targets of securing 15% of all energy from renewable sources by 2020, despite the current economic situation.

    Mr O'Brien said: "Renewable energy is a weapon in our armoury to secure future energy supplies, reduce our reliance on foreign imports, and help tackle climate change.

    "That's why we're taking the right long term decisions to encourage the massive investment in renewables that we need to see. This includes changing the planning laws, increased financial support, and ensuring sufficient access to the grid.

    "This week's ramping up of financial backing in favour of technologies such as offshore wind is evidence of our determination to create the right investment environment for renewables. And the funding being made available in the next few months will put the UK ahead of the game for the next generation of offshore technologies.

    "I know that right around the world, companies, including energy firms, are facing difficult times. We are therefore actively examining how we can help make sure there is sufficient finance and other support available for viable projects which are short of the investment they need.

    "Taken together, these measures should leave investors in no doubt of the UK's commitment to renewable energy."

    Maria McCaffery, chief executive of British Wind Energy Association, said:

    "This is an important signal from Government on the continuing commitment to offshore wind and emerging offshore technologies. With the right policy framework and levels of support we can reach our 2020 targets."

    From 1 April, a new regime will come into place which will give offshore wind 50% extra financial support, through the Government's Renewable Obligation (RO) scheme. This is as a result of 'banding' the RO, which means rather than a flat rate of support across all renewable technology, emerging technologies that are further from commercial deployment will receive greater levels of support to encourage their development.

    Since its introduction in 2002, the amount of renewable electricity generated has nearly trebling from 1.8% in 2002 to 4.9% in 2007.  Banding will deliver further incentive to developers to deliver more eligible renewables generation such as offshore wind.

    The Low Carbon Energy Demonstration Fund, part of the Environmental Transformation Fund, is aimed at accelerating the technology needed to see more large-scale multi-mega watt turbines in offshore wind farms. Applications will open next month for up to £10 million of funding, which will be allocated to businesses in June.

  • Boost for offshore renewables

    Sea-based renewable technologies will receive added financial support from April following an overhaul of the UK's system for supporting renewable energy.

    Energy and climate change minister Mike O'Brien announced up to £10m is to be made available to develop the next generation of offshore wind technology. Speaking at an event which, for the first time, brought together renewable industry leaders and the ports industry, O'Brien said the UK government is determined to do all it can to meet its challenging renewable energy targets of securing 15% of all energy from renewable sources by 2020, despite the current economic situation. O'Brien said: "Renewable energy is a weapon in our armoury to secure future energy supplies, reduce our reliance on foreign imports, and help tackle climate change. That's why we're taking the right long term decisions to encourage the massive investment in renewables that we need to see. This includes changing the planning laws, increased financial support, and ensuring sufficient access to the grid.

    "This week's ramping up of financial backing in favour of technologies such as offshore wind is evidence of our determination to create the right investment environment for renewables. And the funding being made available in the next few months will put the UK ahead of the game for the next generation of offshore technologies.

    "I know that right around the world, companies, including energy firms, are facing difficult times. We are therefore actively examining how we can help make sure there is sufficient finance and other support available for viable projects which are short of the investment they need.

    "Taken together, these measures should leave investors in no doubt of the UK's commitment to renewable energy."

    Maria McCaffery, chief executive of British Wind Energy Association, said: "This is an important signal from Government on the continuing commitment to offshore wind and emerging offshore technologies. With the right policy framework and levels of support we can reach our 2020 targets."

    From 1 April, a new regime will come into place which will give offshore wind 50% extra financial support, through the Government's Renewable Obligation (RO) scheme. This is as a result of 'banding' the RO, which means rather than a flat rate of support across all renewable technology, emerging technologies that are further from commercial deployment will receive greater levels of support to encourage their development. Since its introduction in 2002, the amount of renewable electricity generated has nearly trebling from 1.8% in 2002 to 4.9% in 2007. Banding will deliver further incentive to developers to deliver more eligible renewables generation such as offshore wind.

    The Low Carbon Energy Demonstration Fund, part of the Environmental Transformation Fund, is aimed at accelerating the technology needed to see more large-scale multi-mega watt turbines in offshore wind farms. Applications will open next month for up to £10 million of funding, which will be allocated to businesses in June.

  • Petrofac acquires renewables sector technical specialist

    Petrofac, an international oil and gas facilities service provider, has purchased TNEI Services (TNEI) through the acquisition of its holding company New Energy Industries Limited for a consideration of £7.5m, of which 30% is contingent upon senior management's continued participation in the business.

    TNEI is a specialist consultancy supporting the energy, power and renewables sectors and has some 50 staff in Newcastle and Manchester; its acquisition further broadens Petrofac's technical consulting capacity. TNEI provides services in the areas of power transmission and distribution, planning and environmental consent and energy management. The acquisition brings to Petrofac both a strong technical reputation in the power sector and valuable new customer relationships.

    Martin Barnes, managing director of TNEI, commented: "As part of the Petrofac group, we see great potential both to provide broader services to TNEI's customers and to help Petrofac build a strong, technically-competent service to the wind renewables sector; we are excited about this step and the new opportunities it will provide for our team."

    Petrofac's group chief executive, Ayman Asfari, said: "Petrofac intends to build a position in the renewable energy sector and our existing technical consulting, offshore engineering, project management and operational skills provide a strong base from which to enter this rapidly developing market. The addition of TNEI's technical capabilities enhances Petrofac's ability to serve the wind renewables sector.

    "We are delighted to welcome Martin and the entire TNEI team to Petrofac. We look forward to working with them to grow Petrofac's access to renewables markets."

     

  • A renewables mountain to climb for the BSE sector

    New research by SummitSkills, the Sector Skills Council for building services engineering, has revealed the sector has a steep training climb ahead if it is to be ready for the future demand for environmental technologies.

    The new report, Potential Training Demand in Environmental Technologies in Building Services Engineering: Indicative training needs analysis using a scenario-based approach, is the second of a set of three reports analysing trends in the sector's engagement with renewables.

    It identifies the potential impact of these trends on training demands in the UK up to 2020 using two scenarios; one based on the concept of a mass-trained workforce, i.e. a nominal 100% of the sector being trained in the technologies appropriate to their core competencies, and the other a pro-rata analysis of scenario one, where 25-60% of the sector are trained depending on the environmental technology under consideration.

    Summarising the training figures for twelve environmental technologies in the English regions and devolved nations of the UK, the report estimates the number of awareness training places which would be required to promote careers in the sector. In addition, consideration is given to programmes and events in each region and devolved nation that could trigger a sudden demand for environmental technologies. The report will be subject to future updates as Treasury forecasts become available.

    Dr Mike Hammond, research manager at SummitSkills, said: "We've known for some time there is a gap between supply and demand in the renewables market, and this is only set to increase, particularly in the domestic market now the Government has given the green light to the continuation of the Renewable Heat Incentive and Feed-In Tariffs. This report attempts to identify early indicators of change and estimate training needs to avoid a scramble to meet market energy demand for renewables and government carbon reduction targets. To prevent overheating of the supply network and proliferation of rogue traders, the sector needs to take action now to train a workforce capable of meeting future demand for environmental technologies."

     

  • Napit offers free renewables workshops for London enterprises

    London-based trade installers can take advantage of free Renewable Energy workshops throughout October and November. Funded in part by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) and spearheaded by the Institute for Sustainability, Flash, working in partnership with Napit, provides access to specifically designed workshops which focus on business opportunities relating to low carbon emissions and the renewable energy sector, including:

  • ECA launches renewables and microgeneration e-forum for M&E contractors

    The Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) has launched an e-forum for mechanical and electrical contractors who want to keep up to date and share their questions and expertise in the area of microgeneration and renewables.

    Paul Reeve, head of safety and environment at the ECA, said: “The e-forum has already proved to be a powerful tool for discussing policy and practice across the full range of renewable and low carbon measures.  Since we launched the forum in mid-September, over 200 registered members have joined. Both members, and the ECA team, are learning daily from each other’s experience and expertise.

  • S&C selected by EDF Energy Renewables to supply equipment for UK Grid compliance

    S&C Electric Europe has won the multi-million pound contract to supply reactive compensation to EDF Energy Renewables’ Fallago Rig wind farm, one of the UK’s largest onshore wind farms. The site in the Scottish borders will consist of 48 turbines providing 144MW of renewable electricity, which can power around 90,000 homes and will form a major step forward in meeting the government’s renewable energy targets.

  • Renewables Event reacts to government renewables subsidy announcement

    With the government announcement ‘calls to reduce the subsidy by 25% have been resisted in favour of a 10% drop’, the renewables sector will no doubt be analysing the finely balanced issues of business and consumer energy bills, carbon reduction commitments, investment opportunity and complete decarbonisation.

    According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), in an announcement by energy secretary Ed Davy: “Renewable energy will create a multi-billion pound boom for the British economy, driving growth and supporting jobs across the country.”

  • Get ready for the 'Green Rush' with the Renewables Roadshow

    With thousands of businesses looking to turn green into gold, those that get on board first will reap the rewards.

    With the Government's flagship investment programme, Green Deal, due this Autumn, the organiser of the Renewables Roadshow argues that if your business doesn't get on board now, you might miss out on the biggest opportunity the construction industry has seen for years.

  • Big name line-up for Renewables Awards

    This September the Renewables Awards returns and is set to be even bigger than before.

    On Thursday, 13 September the Renewables Awards returns to the Ricoh Arena to reveal the winners across a series of sixteen extremely competitive categories. "The quality and quantity of entrants for this year's awards surpassed expectations yet again and we want to ensure the evening's entertainment does the same," said event organiser, Dan Caesar.

  • Use your energy efficiently, visit the Renewables Roadshow

    With dozens of demands on your time this Autumn, the Renewables Roadshow is the only exhibition that brings the best products & presentations to you, and with theatre timetables finalised, now is the time to get on board!

    Keeping your finger firmly on the pulse of our marketplace is seemingly impossible these days and that is why the Renewables Roadshow has been built for the busiest of businesses. With a variety of visitor attractions brimming with bitesize content and an exhibition showcasing energy efficient solutions, we have everthing you need to get up to speed in a single day.

  • 2014 the year of renewables and energy efficiency says Napit

    With the Green Deal scheme being simplified and starting to gather momentum, the domestic RHI launching in the Spring and renewables maintaining popularity in the UK, 2014 is the perfect year to expand into the renewables and energy efficiency markets, according to Napit.

  • Sustainability Live 2015

    Sustainability Live – incorporating Nemex and Energy Recovery - a UK exhibition for innovative energy management and sustainability returns to the NEC Birmingham from 21 to 23 April 2015.
    This year’s show is a must attend for electrical contractors, engineers, project managers and consultants, showcasing more than 160 participating organisations, including technology launches and solutions from the industry’s leading suppliers.

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