Category: Energy Generation

Communities that host onshore wind farms could benefit from reduced electricity bills and investment in local infrastructure

According to UK Energy Secretary Edward Davey communities that host onshore wind farms could benefit from reduced electricity bills and investment in local infrastructure, The UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has launched of a call for evidence aimed at ensuring that communities secure financial, social and environmental benefit from hosting onshore wind farms.

The community benefits consultation will seek new information on:

  • Barriers to community engagement and how to address these;
  • How wind farms could deliver wider environmental and social benefits to communities e.g. by providing grants for playgrounds;
  • Best practice in local consultation by developers;
  • Ways to maximise participation by local businesses in the economic supply chain for wind projects; and
  • Innovative ways to reward host communities, such as offsetting electricity bills.

The Government will also seek the latest information on the cost of onshore wind to confirm whether subsidies from April 2014 have been set at the correct level.

DECC Press Release

DECC Consultation documents

Survey finds UK SMEs turning to renewable energy generation

According to new research from Opus Energy there is a growing level of interest among small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in generating renewable energy from their own businesses, with one third (32%) expecting to introduce solar panels, wind turbines or anaerobic digestion for example, and 38% expecting to be generating their own renewable energy within five years.

Despite recent cuts in energy tariffs, and perhaps faced with finding new ways to generate income (42% highlight the revenue opportunity behind any decision), a large number of SME business leaders questioned in the Opus Energy survey expect to be generating renewable energy within the next five years, with younger business owners (aged 18-34) more likely to make the investment sooner.

Despite cuts in subsidies, the opportunity to generate additional income appears to be a key motivator for the growing number of SMEs looking to generate green energy, with 42 per cent citing the opportunity to create new revenue streams behind any decision to invest.

Further information

UK’s First Marine Energy Park to harvest 27 Gigawatts of Wave Power by 2050

The UK’s climate Change Minister Greg Barker has announced that South West England will soon be home to the country’s first Marine Energy Park. The park, once completed, will stretch from Bristol to the Isles of Scilly and will have the potential to generate 27 gigawatts of power from the waves and tides of the area by 2050 – the same amount of power generated by 8 coal-fired plants. The project will draw on public and private resources with a huge boost from the world’s leading wave energy research and development facilities located along the future Marine Energy Park’s coastline.

During his visit, the Minister launched the South West Marine Energy Park Prospectus which outlines how the region’s public and private sector will work together with the government and other key national bodies such as the Crown Estate.
In the past seven years £100 million has been invested in the south west marine energy industry creating world leading research and demonstration facilities. Such investment has supported the development of the largest consented area for marine technologies in the world at Cornwall’s Wave Hub, the Fab–Test nursery site at Falmouth, the new marine science building at Plymouth and globally–leading research facilities at  Exeter University and the National Composites Centre at Bristol.
To help develop and commercialise wave and tidal technology, it is claimed that the UK has the most comprehensive marine energy support programme in the world. This provides help from the earliest stages of university research through to demonstration and roll-out under the Renewables Obligation.

Windstalks : wind power without the blades

Here’s a very interesting idea for generating electricity from windstalks rather than using wind blades. New York design firm Atelier DNA consider that these wind stalks will generate as much electricity in the same area as conventional wind farms. However, the land underneath wind stalks could not be used for agricultural purposes as conventional land-based wind farms do. But could the idea be used on old industrial sites brownfield sites like some of Liverpool or London Docklands. What about on the roofs of concrete buildings – Wind Stalk – micro-generation plants? On a micro-scale don’t they look like spikes that are used to keep birds off windows ledges? Could we have nano-generation energy plants?

Read on for more information about this idea.

Atelier DNA’s “Windstalk”project came in second in the Land Art Generator competition a contest sponsored by Madsar to identify the best work of art that generates renewable energy from a pool of international submissions.

The proposed design calls for 1,203 ““stalks,” each 180-feet high with concrete bases that are between about 33- and 66-feet wide. The carbon-fiber stalks, reinforced with resin, are about a foot wide at the base tapering to about 2 inches at the top. Each stalk will contain alternating layers of electrodes and ceramic discs made from piezoelectric material, which generates a current when put under pressure. In the case of the stalks, the discs will compress as they sway in the wind, creating a charge.

Read the full article in Discovery News


Managing grid-connected PV (photovoltaic) Power

Recent research from Strategic Business Insights (SBI) has highlighted that a long-term challenge to the widespread adoption of grid-connected PV (photovoltaic) power is managing the instability that can be introduced into the grid because of the intermittent and variable nature of PV power generation. Every type of solar installation loses power output rapidly when a cloud passes overhead. Cloud cover diminishes a major power source, disrupting power to potentially thousands of customers. Dramatic and immediate shifts in the nature of the power flowing throughout the grid can disrupt distribution across even larger areas because of how interconnected the system is—consider that the Northeastern Blackout of 2003 was traced back to instability caused by a power plant in Ohio.

SBI considers that large-scale grid-tied energy storage is the most direct solution to managing the fluctuations in power output from PV systems. Read more