Posts

A GUIDE TOWARDS NET ZERO AND LOWER CARBON EMMISSIONS – UK ENERGY FOR THE FUTURE

 

 

 

Rinnai’s Chris Goggin lists a brief guide to national & local power variables that do, and might, in the future, supply the UK end-user and consumer. He looks at what is currently on offer and how that energy is manufactured and operates within the total UK mix of fuels.

 

As the UK is now firmly in an era of energy transition it is important that all interested parties – heating engineers, contractors, consultants and end-users – should be aware of what alternative energy is currently available and future options being actively considered.

Carbon heavy fuels are currently being phased out and replaced with a variety of low carbon alternatives. Instead of oil, natural gas and fossil fuel-generated electricity, renewable sources such as wind, wave and solar are being gradually introduced into the UK energy mix.

Biofuels such as BioLPG and RDME could also become UK market relevant along with green gasses such as hydrogen, which is supported by the UK hydrogen strategy and a myriad of pilot schemes across the UK. Energy policy in the UK is also planning to increase nuclear capacity with the construction of several new facilities, with the objective of providing low carbon electricity and potentially hydrogen. Following is a short exposition of each energy vector.

 

HEAT PUMPS

Heat pumps are an old but current technology – the first was invented by Peter von Rittinger in 1867. They can be considered zero carbon at the point of use. However, the carbon intensity of the system is dictated by the electrical grid generation method. A heat pump works by extracting heat from air outside and elevating its temperature using a compressor. Compressed heat Is then transferred into a body of water for heating and DHW.

Residual heat is stored in a hot water cylinder used for showers and baths. If installed correctly on to an appropriate property a heat pump will prove to be an energy efficient, effective tool of decarbonisation to the end-user.

Heat pumps are widely used in Scandinavian countries and other major European economies such as Germany. Mainstream UK media support heat pumps as do governmental grants that supply most initial purchase costs. Heat pumps are available with approved technology that encourages decarbonisation.

SOLAR ENERGY

 

Solar energy absorbs sunlight into photovoltaic panels which produces an electrical charge. This charge of electricity is then converted and transported into a domestic or commercial application. The UK government encourages domestic renewable energy installation. Homeowners can partly subsidise their solar panels through several governmental grants.
One example of UK homeowners incentivised towards solar thermal installation through a governmental scheme is the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) which allows homeowners to receive payments for unused excess energy exported back to the national grid.

Solar power is viewed as holding the potential to contribute meaningfully towards the current and future domestic UK energy mix as well as multiple others across the globe. Only recently it was announced that Global renewable energy company – Low Carbon, has announced construction of 3 new large solar farms in Essex, Derbyshire and Buckinghamshire. Construction in Buckinghamshire will begin immediately. Once complete the facility will provide clean power to more than 7300 homes. Capacity of this site will be 23.4MW. Work on the 28.8MW Derbyshire and 23MW Essex locations will begin in the early new year – 2023. Similar installations are being constructed across every continent.

WIND ENERGY

Renewable wind energy is created when wind turbines are pushed by natural currents of air which is then converted into electricity via a generator. Current UK direction of onshore wind energy is convoluted. At present there is a ban on installing new onshore wind farms inside the UK. However, some media outlets report that the ban is lifted, others maintain the ban is still in effect. Offshore wind farm capacity is being expanded to meet future demand. There are several new installations being constructed inside UK and Irish waters.

Offshore wind facilities under construction and due to begin operations. Amongst the new sites to be introduced is the Dogger Bank Wind Farm off the coast of Yorkshire, Northeast England which will begin operations in 2025. £8.27 billion has been invested into this project and is a joint venture undertaken by SSE Renewables, Equinor and Eni Plenitude.

WAVE ENERGY

Wave energy is created once captured kinetic energy gathered by tidal movements pushes a turbine, which in turn produces electricity. Wave and wind energy rely on the same concept of utilising kinetic energy to generate power. Wave energy is considered 100% carbon neutral. Wave energy is expensive to produce and maintain but is also effective. UK policy adjustments in market and planning legislation could see wave power become expanded to meet future demand.

Further on-land construction work is continuing on the £35 million Holy Island Tidal Energy Scheme, in North Wales. 35 sq km of seabed will be used to generate as much as 240MW of clean tidal electricity, enough to power 180,000 domestic properties.

rDME

Renewable DiMethyl Ether – known as rDME – is a molecule-based fuel that can be produced through a wide range of renewable feedstocks which allows for quick and long-term sustainable production. rDME contains a similar chemical composition to Butane and propane and can be mixed with LPG in existing appliances to continue product operations.

rDME combusts cleanly and releases no “soot” emissions. It has many fuel properties that make it easily used in sites and appliances currently using diesel as a fuel. It has a very high cetane number, which is a measure of the fuel’s ignitibility in compression ignition engines.

Future capacity of rDME is set to rise sharply, further increasing the likelihood of rDME being introduced nationally at some stage soon. A demonstration plant is to be opened later this year, whist the first operational commercial site manufacturing rDME will be on-line in 2024 in Teesside.

LGP & BioLPG

LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) is a low carbon fuel source that is supplied in two forms – propane and butane. BioLPG is 100% carbon neutral and produced through renewable feedstocks such as plant and vegetable waste. Both are considered future forms of carbon friendly energy.

LPG producers see a role for Bio-LPG in the future whether that be blended with LPG or BioLPG. The fuel can be theoretically drop in, meaning limited disruption and user familiarity. Companies have invested over £260 million to date in developing clean liquid gases, including bioLPG and rDME to market. During the transition to renewable liquid gases LPG will remain a valuable part of the low carbon energy mix.

As economies and industry attempt to decarbonise fuel supplies, demand for LPG and BioLPG will rise. Legislation amendments introduced by the US, EU and Japan could see both demand and produced volume of BioLPG increase.

NUCLEAR ENERGY

Nuclear energy occurs when a reaction from either uranium or plutonium is stimulated to generate electricity. The UK government is keen to expand nuclear capacity.

As of writing, it has been confirmed that the UK government will inject £700 million of taxpayer’s money in developing Sizewell C nuclear power plant. Doing so will provide 6 million homes with low carbon electricity for more than 50 years and strengthen national energy security.

HYDROGEN

Hydrogen is produced in various forms signalled by a spectrum of assorted colours: blue, green, pink, brown, grey, yellow and turquoise.

 

  • Blue hydrogen is formed once natural gas is heated with steam in a process called Steam Methene Reforming (SMR). Hydrogen and carbon dioxide are created as a result meaning that emissions must be captured and stored for blue hydrogen to become a low carbon fuel source.
  • Grey hydrogen uses Steam Methene Reforming without capturing any emissions.
  • Green hydrogen occurs once water molecules are split into oxygen and hydrogen using renewable energy to power an electrolyser which sits in a water basin. Green hydrogen is considered 100% carbon neutral and is regarded as a source of future clean energy.
  • Pink hydrogen is created through nuclear powered electrolysis whilst yellow hydrogen is produced through solar powered electrolysis.
  • Turquoise hydrogen is made using a process called methane pyrolysis which produces hydrogen and solid carbon.

 

An extensive list of major international energy companies, such as BP and Equinor has announced various projects costing billons that explore the introduction of hydrogen as a major contributor towards future global energy needs. Spanish renewable energy company Iberdrola are planning to develop a green hydrogen production facility at the UK’s largest port in Felixstowe. Iberdrola is prepared to invest £150 million in the project which is expected to be operational in 2026.

Closer to home the UK issued its Hydrogen strategy in 2021, with the objective of achieving 10GW of Low Carbon Hydrogen by 2030. The strategy is also seeing rapid developments in pilot schemes using 100% hydrogen across the UK.


CLICK HERE

For more information on the RINNAI product range

 


 

Rinnai’s H3 range includes all mainstream varieties of renewable energy alternative options including, LOW-GWP heat pumps (4kw – 110kw) Hydrogen Blends 20% ready and BioLPG ready water heaters and boilers and market leading solar thermal. All options focus on creating decarbonisation pathways that are technically, practically and economically feasible based upon real life requirements. The H3 range is supported by in house design support along with carbon and cost modelling.

 

Rinnai can offer multiple avenues of cost reducing decarbonisation across various energy vectors. To create a healthier way of living, Rinnai is expanding customer choices in hot water provision as well as heating domestic and commercial buildings through a wide range of renewable energy systems. Rinnai’s solar thermal water heating systems are a market leading solution that saves up to 3.5x more carbon per m2 compared to conventional solar technology. This combined with the Rinnai Hydrogen and BioLPG ready condensing water heaters water heating system will save carbon and cost as the Rinnai water heaters will modulate from 58kw – 4.4kW dependent on the solar input therefore only using gas to boost the temperature when needed – harnessing renewable gains and not compromising on performance.

Core design values of Rinnai VirtuHOT solar thermal collectors have benefited from multiple workshops with experienced installers, whose valuable insights have been integrated into design and innovation. This has resulted in a system that is focussed on installer needs to simplify transportation, installation, and maintenance. From an in-life end user perspective the Rinnai VirtuHot system will deliver 50% greater financial returns per m2 in comparison to conventional solar technology, reducing ROI and saving energy and carbon in the process. The Rinnai condensing water heaters and VirtuHOT solar thermal array are backed with a warranty of up to 10 years to give additional peace of mind for installers and end users.

Rinnai intelligent condensing continuous flow water heaters can save more than 30% in operational running costs when compared to gas fired storage systems, helping to reduce fuel costs and exposure to ever-increasing energy and climate change legislation. All Rinnai & Naked Energy solar thermal products are precisely aligned with the hot water heating systems & units which are hydrogen blends-ready 20% and renewable liquid fuel (BioLPG and rDME) ready combustion technologies.

Rinnai’s H3 range of decarbonising products include commercial and domestic heat pumps that contain a variety of features: the HPIH range of commercial heat pumps is suited towards schools, restaurants, and small retail outlets. Rinnai’s HPIH Monobloc Air Source Heat Pumps – 21, 26, 28 & 32kW range can allow for up to seven units to be cascaded together or operate alone as one unit. Once joined together – can serve increased demand for heating and hot water.

The HPIH series includes a range of controls and system peripherals which ensures that all technical machinations can be monitored. Rinnai’s HPIH commercial heat pumps also deploy the refrigerant – R32. The HPIH use maintains an ERP rating of A++ making this range of heat pumps an ideal economic and environmental option for new build and refurbishment projects.

Rinnai’s HPHP series of LOW GWP heat pumps range from 48kw – 70kw. State-of-the-art technology added in the injection process outperforms gas compression technology and ensures that even with outside temperatures of –25 Celsius, heating, and hot water of up to 60 + Celsius can still be delivered.

Rinnai’s HPI SL range models perform with ultra-low sound capability ensuring compatibility with areas that hold strict sound compliance standards. All units operate in three different modes: heating, cooling and DHW and include specific system programmes that enhance product performance in all modes.


Rinnai’s H3 range is supported by free training courses, CPDs, FREE design services and extensive warranty options

 

CLICK HERE FOR FURTHER DETAILS


  RINNAI H3 PRODUCT ROADMAP TO LOWER CARBON AND NET ZERO DE-CARBONISATION

Rinnai’s product and service offering is based on H3- Hydrogen, Heating and Heat Pumps – which allows any site in either residential or commercial sites to maximise the energy efficiency and performance in striving for NetZero and Decarbonisation. Additionally, Rinnai is developing and introducing electrical formats to all existing product ranges within the next few months. Rinnai’s new “H3” range of products includes a wide selection of commercial heat pumps as well as hydrogen blends-ready and hybrid hot water heating systems.

Rinnai is a world leading manufacturer of hot water heaters and produces over two million units a year. The company operates on each of the five continents and the brand has gained an established reputation for high performance, robust cost efficiency and extended working lives.

Rinnai’s commercial and domestic hot water products offer a limitless supply of instantaneous temperature controlled hot water and all units are designed to align with present and future energy sources and accept either natural gas or hydrogen gas blends. Rinnai units are also suited for off-grid customers who require LPG and BioLPG or rDME.

Rinnai units are UKCA certified, A-rated water efficiency, accessed through multiple fuel options and are available for purchase 24/7, 365 days a year. Any unit can be delivered to any UK site within 24 hours. System design services are available if needed and cost comparison services are accessible to all customers who require further cost detail.

Rinnai’s Innovation Manifesto clearly outlines the path to carbon neutrality and maintains a pledge to fully decarbonize company operations by 2050. Rinnai will further support the global clean energy transition by introducing a wide variety of domestic heating options across multiple energy vectors.

Rinnai is committed to decarbonisation. Rinnai’s water heating products are all hydrogen-blends ready NOW including the world’s first 100% hydrogen powered water heater. Rinnai products also accept BioLPG capable of delivering NetZero carbon emissions. Rinnai offer comprehensive training courses and technical support in all aspects of the water heating industry. More information can be found on Rinnai’s website and its “Help Me Choose” webpage.

 CLICK HERE For more information on the RINNAI product range

 

Cost of living causing consumers to think again about retrofitting

 

RICS and YouGov survey shows homes therefore less likely to be able to cope with climate impacts or to mitigate rising energy costs

The cost of living crisis, has cast new doubt on the progress towards the United Kingdom’s Net-Zero ambition. Previous research from RICS* had found that homeowners were citing cost of retrofitting as a barrier, but despite new policy measures, new research from RICS and YouGov shows that consumers are now concerned about paying for the cost of living above upgrading their homes.

Retrofitting has obvious benefits, such as being able to maintain a constant temperature in the home, as well as increasing the desirability of your property – the December 2019 Residential Market Survey*, prior to the energy crisis, cited almost two thirds of the survey’s respondents believed that the willingness to pay for energy efficient homes would rise in the next three years.

However, the latest consumer research from RICS and YouGov shows that homeowners are unsurprisingly looking to concentrate spending on escalating household costs.

The new research backs up previous calls made by the institution in 2020 for more policy measures to incentivise industry and consumers to retrofit the UK housing stock. The research found that while 34% of homeowners said they would invest in green technology to lower bills in the future, 45% would be focusing on using any savings to pay for their existing living expenses, meaning more incentives and cheaper options must be made available if the country is to stay on track to meet target and green 15million properties*.

This latest research follows the RICS January 2020 Residential Market Survey* where members operating in the residential sales and lettings market stated that without strong market driven incentives, regulation was the policy lever with the greatest potential to improve energy efficiency outcomes. Alternatively, a tax policy could achieve a similar effect through a mix of stamp duty and a reduction of VAT on home improvements.

Currently, the Government’s ambition to hit Net-Zero carbon emissions requires significant numbers of private homeowners to retrofit their properties to make them greener.

51% who confirmed they hadn’t already installed new energy saving measures in their homes but would know how to, said it was because of the costs involved. And of the same group, even those who would consider it to make their home more attractive to prospective buyers, 40% said they’d only consider spending around £1000 to £5000 on energy improvements, which could pay for some solar panels** but wouldn’t cover the heat-pump.

As the cost of living continues to consume more household finances, measures are needed to avoid many properties failing to meet targets and becoming un-mortgageable. To review the potential impact that failure to support consumers would have on the housing market, most homeowners (55%) would consider installing energy saving schemes if they knew it would make their property more attractive when it came to selling up. With figures from Rightmove showing that greener homes can attract a higher premium, properties need more than an EPC assessment to help inform decisions**.

As EPCs aren’t the best measure for all properties, as some listed buildings can’t have triple glazing for example, RICS is recommending and working with lenders and government to look into ‘Retrofit Surveys’ which would enlist the expertise of a professional – such as a building surveyor- to provide detailed advice on what technologies homeowners could install to help inform their decisions. This is supported with 77% of homeowners saying they’d find this advice helpful when thinking of buying a new home.

Sam Rees, Senior Public Affairs Officer at RICS, said:

“The retrofitting of millions of UK homes will be essential to helping to meet our net zero ambitions, however homeowners’ immediate concerns are understandably with the rising cost of living, especially their energy bills. It is important to recognise that retrofitting and the cost of living are not mutually exclusive issues.

“A suitably retrofitted, low-carbon home can help with the long-term challenges of the cost of living and reducing high levels of energy consumption. Achieving this however is not cheap. With the UK Government giving financial support to homeowners to support them with rising energy prices, RICS is calling on the government to extend this support and provide additional financial incentives to homeowners to encourage retrofitting and ultimately helping to tackle the cause of high energy usage.

“Before any significant investment is made on retrofit measures, RICS urges homeowners and the government to ensure a retrofit assessment is undertaken on the property first – ensuring that no unintended consequences occur such as overheating or increased energy demand. This is critical to protecting consumers and RICS is undertaking significant research to support such assessments.”

FURTHER INFORMATION

*RICS UK Residential Market Surveys UK Residential Market Survey (rics.org)

**Rightmove-Green-Homes-Report.pdf

The top energy saving measures homeowners who know how to make their home more environmentally friendly said they already had installed in their property were:

Double or triple glazed windows – 71%
Energy-efficient lighting – 69%
Loft/cavity wall insultation – 63%
Energy efficient appliances – 52%
Solar panels – 17%
Air source heat pumps 5%
Geothermal heating – 2%

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 4357 adults of which 2776 are homeowners. Fieldwork was undertaken between 31st May – 3rd June 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

* 15 million homes need energy efficiency upgrades – Lloyds Banking Group plc

** Solar panels typically cost between £2,900 and £6,700 according to the Energy Saving’s Trust.

Home energy improvements which cut emissions and bills for over 300,000 low-income families every year will only be done by trusted tradesmen, under new government plans.

The government’s new quality scheme, delivered by ‘TrustMark’, will increase protection for low-income and vulnerable households, helped with free energy-saving measures like insulation and new boilers, under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO).

Emissions from buildings account for nearly 25% of overall carbon emissions, which the government is committed to reducing. Just weeks ago, the UK became the first G7 economy to put into law a commitment that Britain will reach net zero greenhouse gas emission economy by 2050.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Chris Skidmore, said “Driving up the energy efficiency of Britain’s homes is key to us reducing emissions from households, saving people money on their bills as we legislate to become a net zero emissions economy and end our contribution to global warming entirely.

“This new scheme will guarantee low-income households the peace of mind that workmen installing energy efficiency measures in their homes are trusted tradesmen.”

Around 15% of households take an energy efficiency measure each year, with over one million installing additional or replacement loft insulation and over one million upgrading to double glazed windows.

The new ‘Each Home Counts’ quality mark will help reassure households having work done on their homes that the companies have met the appropriate standards for installing insulation and new central heating systems in their homes.

Consumers who want energy efficiency measures installed on their own homes will be able to search the TrustMark website for trusted and certified tradesmen, checking their installers are recognised before they start work on their homes.

The new mark builds on the well-established government-endorsed ‘TrustMark’ scheme, which vets businesses. It ensures they meet industry standards, have good technical competence and trading practices, and have a commitment to providing good customer service.

Customers can already access free and impartial advice on reducing their energy bills, making their homes warmer and planning green home improvements from Simple Energy Advice.

Energy efficiency industry is worth £20.3 billion in Great Britain, employing nearly 150,000 and selling exports worth over £1 billion every year.

With government legislating for net-zero by 2050, what does this mean for UK energy markets and business models?

Getting to net-zero will require economy-wide changes that extend well beyond the energy system, leading to rapid and unprecedented change in all aspects of society.

Research published today by the UK Energy Research Centre shines a light on the level of disruption that could be required by some sectors to meet net-zero targets.

With many businesses making strong commitments to a net-zero carbon future, the report highlights the stark future facing specific sectors. Some will need to make fundamental change to their business models and operating practices, whilst others could be required to phase out core assets. Government may need to play a role in purposefully disrupting specific sectors to ensure the move away from high carbon business models, facilitating the transition a zero-carbon economy.

Sector specific impacts

The in-depth analysis presented in ‘Disrupting the UK energy systems: causes, impacts and policy implications’ focuses on four key areas of the economy, highlighting how they may need to change to remain competitive and meet future carbon targets.

Heat: All approaches for heat decarbonisation are potentially disruptive, with policymakers favouring those that are less disruptive to consumers. Since it is unlikely that rapid deployment of low carbon heating will be driven by consumers or the energy industry, significant policy and governance interventions will be needed to drive the sustainable heat transformation.

Transport: Following the ‘Road to Zero’ pathway for road transport is unlikely to be disruptive, but it is not enough to meet our climate change targets. The stricter targets for phasing out conventional vehicles that will be required will lead to some disruption. Vehicle manufacturers, the maintenance and repair sector and the Treasury may all feel the strain.

Electricity: Strategies of the Big 6 energy companies have changed considerably in recent years, with varying degrees of disruption to their traditional business model. It remains to be seen whether they will be able to continue to adapt to rapid change – or be overtaken by new entrants.

Construction: To deliver low-carbon building performance will require disruptive changes to the way the construction sector operates. With new-build accounting for less than 1% of the total stock, major reductions in energy demand will need to come through retrofit of existing buildings.

The report identifies how policy makers plan for disruptions to existing systems. With the right tools and with a flexible and adaptive approach to policy implementation, decision makers can better respond to unexpected consequences and ensure delivery of key policy objectives.

Prof Jim Watson, UKERC Director and Professor of Energy Policy, UCL said “The move to legislate for net-zero is welcome progress, but we need economy-wide action to make this a reality.
This includes policies that deliberately disrupt established markets and business models in some sectors – and address any negative impacts.”

Prof Jillian Anable, UKERC Co-Director and Professor of Transport and Energy, University of Leeds added “The UK transport sector is nearly 100% fuelled by fossil fuels, with only tiny niches of electrified and bio-fuelled vehicles.

Whilst politically challenging, the sector can only hope to reach ‘net-zero’ through whole-scale change that involves reducing hyper-mobility and fuel switching. This will lead to disruption to actors, global networks, governance and lifestyles.”

Labour is announcing that climate change will be a core part of the curriculum from primary school onwards. The announcement comes on the same day that the UK Climate Strike Network hosts more school strikes across the country.

Under plans set out by Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner, the next Labour government will ensure all young people are educated about the ecological and social impact of climate change.

A review of the curriculum will also make certain that it focuses on the knowledge and skills that young people need in a world that will be increasingly shaped by climate change, particularly in renewable energy and green technology jobs.

Climate change adaptation and mitigation will drastically increase future demand for the knowledge and skills required for the green jobs of the future, with these skills severely underrepresented in the current curriculum.

As part of the review, an expert panel will consider how climate change and its impact are taught from primary school onwards.

One of the key demands of the climate school strikes is that the national curriculum is reformed to address the ecological crisis as an educational priority. Currently, teaching climate change is restricted to Chemistry and Geography in Key Stages 3 and 4.

Under the Conservatives, the curriculum has narrowed, with Michael Gove scrapping the last Labour government’s plans to start teaching children about the environment and climate change when they are in primary school.

Angela Rayner MP, Shadow Education Secretary, said “Today, young people are taking to the streets to send a  clear message to the government that climate change will be a fundamental and defining feature of their adult lives, and we must take the action needed to tackle it.

“We need to equip people with the knowledge to understand the enormous changes we face, and skills to work with the new green technologies that we must develop to deal with them.

“That must be part of a broad education and that prepares pupils for adult life. Climate change should be a core part of the school curriculum, and under a Labour government it will be.

“As well as teaching young people about the impact of climate change, their education must prepare them for the jobs of the future. As part of Labour’s Green Industrial Revolution to create 400,000 skilled jobs across the country, young people will be taught the skills they need.”

Clean, green offshore wind is set to power more than 30% of British electricity by 2030, Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry has announced with the launch of the new joint government-industry Offshore Wind Sector Deal.

This deal will mean for the first time in UK history there will be more electricity from renewables than fossil fuels, with 70% of British electricity predicted to be from low carbon sources by 2030 and over £40 billion of infrastructure investment in the UK.

This is the tenth Sector Deal from the modern Industrial Strategy signed by Business Secretary Greg Clark. It is backed by UK renewables companies and marks a revolution in the offshore wind industry, which 20 years ago was only in its infancy. It could see the number of jobs triple to 27,000 by 2030.

The deal will also:

  • increase the sector target for the amount of UK content in homegrown offshore wind projects to 60%, making sure that the £557 million pledged by the government in July 2018 for further clean power auctions over the next ten years will directly benefit local communities from Wick to the Isle of Wight
  • spearhead a new £250 million Offshore Wind Growth Partnership to make sure UK companies in areas like the North East, East Anglia, Humber and the Solent and continue to be competitive and are leaders internationally in the next generation of offshore wind innovations in areas such as robotics, advanced manufacturing, new materials, floating wind and larger turbines
  • boost global exports to areas like Europe, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States fivefold to £2.6 billion per year by 2030 through partnership between the Department of Trade and industry to support smaller supply chain companies to export for the first time
  • reduce the cost of projects in the 2020s and overall system costs, so projects commissioning in 2030 will cost consumers less as we move towards a subsidy free world
  • see Crown Estate & Crown Estate Scotland release new seabed land from 2019 for new offshore wind developments
  • UK government alongside the deal will provide over £4 million pounds for British business to share expertise globally and open new markets for UK industry through a technical assistance programme to help countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan and the Philippines skip dirty coal power and develop their own offshore wind projects

Claire Perry, Energy & Clean Growth Minister said “This new Sector Deal will drive a surge in the clean, green offshore wind revolution that is powering homes and businesses across the UK, bringing investment into coastal communities and ensuring we maintain our position as global leaders in this growing sector.

“By 2030 a third of our electricity will come from offshore wind, generating thousands of high-quality jobs across the UK, a strong UK supply chain and a fivefold increase in exports. This is our modern Industrial Strategy in action.”

The Co-Chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council and Ørsted UK Country Manager for Offshore, Benj Sykes, said “Now that we’ve sealed this transformative deal with our partners in government, as a key part of the UK’s Industrial Strategy, offshore wind is set to take its place at the heart of our low-carbon, affordable and reliable electricity system of the future.

“This relentlessly innovative sector is revitalising parts of the country which have never seen opportunities like this for years, especially coastal communities from Wick in the northern Scotland to the Isle of Wight, and from Barrow-in-Furness to the Humber. Companies are burgeoning in clusters, creating new centres of excellence in this clean growth boom. The Sector Deal will ensure that even more of these companies win work not only on here, but around the world in a global offshore wind market set to be worth £30 billion a year by 2030.”

Keith Anderson, ScottishPower Chief Executive, concluded “ScottishPower is proof that offshore wind works, we’ve worked tirelessly to bring down costs and, having transitioned to 100% renewable energy, will be building more windfarms to help the UK shift to a clearer electric economy. Two of our offshore windfarms in the East Anglia will replace all of the old thermal generation we’ve sold and we are ready to invest more by actively pursuing future offshore projects both north and south of the border.

“We have a fantastic supply chain already in place in the UK, from businesses in and around East Anglia to across England, across Scotland as well as Northern Ireland. The Sector Deal will attract even more businesses in the UK to join the offshore wind supply chain and we are excited to see the transformative impact this will have on our projects.”

In addition, the deal will:

  • challenge the sector to more than double the number of women entering the industry to at least 33% by 2030, with the ambition of reaching 40% – up from 16% today
  • create an Offshore Energy Passport, recognised outside of the UK, will be developed for offshore wind workers to transfer their skills and expertise to other offshore renewable and oil and gas industries – allowing employees to work seamlessly across different offshore sectors
  • see further work with further education institutions to develop a sector-wide curriculum to deliver a skilled and diverse workforce across the country and facilitate skills transfer within the industry
  • prompt new targets for increasing the number of apprentices in the sector later this year

The cost of new offshore wind contracts has already outstripped projections and fallen by over 50% over the last two years, and today’s further investment will boost this trajectory, with offshore wind projects expected to be cheaper to build than fossil fuel plants by 2020. The Deal will see UK continuing as the largest European market for offshore wind, with 30GW of clean wind power being built by 2030 – the UK making up a fifth of global wind capacity.

The UK is already home to the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Walney Extension off the Cumbrian Coast, and construction is well underway on projects nearly double the size. Around 7,200 jobs have been created in this growing industry over the last 20 years, with a welcome surge in opportunities in everything from sea bedrock testing to expert blade production.

The Deal will look to seize on the opportunities presented by the UK’s 7,000 miles of coastline, as the industry continues to be a coastal catalyst for many of the UK’s former fishing villages and ports. Increased exports and strengthened supply chain networks will secure economic security for towns and cities across the UK.

 

Wind output in November broke through the 100% threshold for the first time, with 109% of total Scottish electricity demand being met from renewables, enough to power nearly 6 million homes.

Another milestone is that for 20 out of the 30 days, wind production outstripped demand.

Gina Hanrahan, Head of Policy at WWF Scotland said “Wind power breaking through the magic 100 per cent threshold is truly momentous. For months output has flirted around the 97 per cent mark, so it’s fantastic to reach this milestone.

“It’s also worth noting that 20 out of 30 days wind production outstripped demand.

“Most of this is onshore wind, which we know is popular, cheap and effective. But the UK Government needs to allow it to compete with other technologies, by unlocking market access for onshore wind if it’s to realise its full potential.”

  • National Grid demand for the month – 1,994,839 MWh. What % of this could have been provided by wind power – 109%
  • Best day – 28th November generation was 116,599MWh, 9.59m homes, 391% households. Demand that day was 60,492MWh – wind generation was 192% of that.
  • Worst day – 26th November 22,677 MWh, 1.86m homes, 75% of households
  • How many days generation was over 100% of household electricity requirement – 28
  • How many days generation exceeded overall electricity demand – 20

Alex Wilcox Brooke, Weather Energy Project Manager at Severn Wye Energy Agency said “Scottish wind power generation breaking the 100 per cent barrier in November is historic and serves as a timely reminder of the importance renewable energy now plays in the UK energy market.”

wind output

New small-scale renewable electricity providers to be guaranteed payment for excess electricity supplied to the grid under government proposals unveiled this week – protecting consumers from unfair costs associated with current scheme.

Plans for Smart Export Guarantee could build a bridge to the smarter energy system of the future, which can help unlock technological innovations like home energy storage and more efficient electric vehicle charging.

Households and businesses installing new solar panels will be guaranteed payment for power provided back to the grid under government proposals set out this week to unlock the smart energy systems of the future- an important upgrade to the current Feed-in Tariffs scheme.

The proposed ‘Smart Export Guarantee’ (SEG) would replace the existing ‘Feed-in Tariff’ scheme (FIT), with electricity suppliers paying new small-scale energy producers for excess electricity from homes and businesses being put back into the energy grid. The new scheme could create a whole new market, encouraging suppliers to competitively bid for this electricity, giving exporters the best market price while providing the local grid with more clean, green energy, unlocking greater choice and control for solar households over buying and selling their electricity.

With the cost of solar falling by 80% since 2008, it’s the right time to review the way these payments are made- with the scheme currently costing consumers approximately £1.2 billion a year. The SEG would mean households and businesses installing new renewable energy generators would be paid transparently for the energy they produce- protecting consumers from cost burdens, by using established smart technology.

Currently under the FIT scheme, accredited households and businesses who install small scale electricity generation are assumed to export 50% of the electricity they produce and are paid for it-even when the electricity is not needed by the grid or they export less than 50%.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said “This new scheme could help us to build a bridge to the smart energy system of the future, with consumers firmly at its heart – not only buying electricity but being guaranteed payments for excess electricity they can supply to the grid.

“It could also reduce strain on energy networks with a more decentralised and smarter local network delivering resilience much more cost effectively, unlocking innovative products for electric vehicles and home energy storage; a win-win for consumers and the environment and a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy.”

The proposals, combined with existing technologies like smart meters and battery storage could also help build a bridge to smarter more efficient energy systems of the future, with the potential to work together with electric vehicle and standalone batteries to store and sell electricity to the grid when demand is high; in turn cutting consumer bills, reducing strain on energy networks, and giving consumers more control of their energy use.

Government investment in clean energy is at the heart of its world-leading modern industrial strategy, with the Clean Growth Strategy pledging more than £2.5 billion investment in low carbon innovation by 2021. The FIT scheme, which closes to new applicants on 31 March 2019, has overachieved on its original objectives, outstripping installation predictions by nearly 100,000 with over 830,000 solar installations producing enough power for two million homes.

Some 560,000 households and business are currently generating electricity under the FIT scheme through a range of measures including anaerobic digestion (generating energy from waste products), wind power, biomass and hydro-electricity- but with the majority (99%) using solar panels fitted to rooftops.

Research reveals that the UK has the sixth-worst long-term rate of excess winter mortality out of 30 European countries. In addition, when taking into account cold weather beyond just the winter months, the UK ranks second-worst out of 30 European countries.

Over the last five years there has been an average of 32,000 excess winter deaths in the UK every year. Of these, 9,700 die due to a cold home – the same as the number of people who die from breast or prostate cancer each year. The fact that UK homes are amongst the least energy efficient in Europe confirms that these deaths are preventable.

Pedro Guertler, co-author of the report from E3G comments “The UK has one of the worst records on cold homes-related deaths in Europe and it is not only a public health tragedy, it is a national embarrassment. This epidemic is entirely preventable and E3G and NEA are calling on the UK Government to reinstate public capital investment in home energy efficiency to fix the cold homes crisis. As well as ending needless suffering and premature deaths, it would also address a wide range of national infrastructure priorities.”

Alongside existing private investment, E3G and NEA are calling on the Treasury to use public infrastructure capital – as opposed to revenue expenditure – to co-fund area- based energy efficiency schemes to systematically improve the quality of UK housing in every part of the country. The report says this is essential if the UK is to meet its fuel poverty and carbon emission reduction targets. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have already been developing these programmes with great success but the UK Government has yet to back similar programmes in England and the number of insulation measures installed in UK homes has crashed by 90% since 2012 due to ill-judged cuts to home energy improvement programmes.

Peter Smith, the co-author from NEA added “As the UK experiences one of the harshest winters for several years, it is important to remember that this causes needless hardship, places health at risk and leads to premature death. Beyond the terrible scale of cold related winter deaths, people experiencing fuel poverty can also struggle with poor mental health and this can sadly lead to total social isolation and even suicide. This preventable tragedy must end. The UK Government must support the strong case for the re-introduction of adequate public capital investment – a necessity if we are to make the UK’s homes warmer and safe for human habitation.”