Renewable Heat and a Record Breaking Turbine

In our previous blog I spoke of our need to address the issue of renewable heat generation and highlighted an innovative new project designed to help combat this. This month the Scottish Renewables first Low Carbon Conference will hear just how challenging the issue of renewable heat is and what we have to do in order to meet our 2020 targets.

Up until now sector progress has been slow with only 3% of heat coming from renewable sources. We therefore now have just over five and half years to dramatically increase that to reach our target of 11%.

Scotland’s commitment to renewable heat and achieving this target will be a major topic of the Low Carbon Conference, which be held in Perth on the 28th of April, the opening session of the conference being “Is Scotland serious about heat?”

Policy manager at Scottish Renewables Stephanie Clark explained that a major change of mindset was required in order to reach our goal. “More than half of the energy consumed in Scotland is in the form of heat. As a society, we take warm homes and workplaces and constant hot water for granted, but the time is now right for us to re-think our relationship with heat and the way it is generated, transported and used.

“We have a chance of reaching what is a very ambitious 2020 target, but we have to act now. If we can do it, consumers and businesses will be insulated from the price fluctuations and uncertainty of supply associated with gas. We can also create hundreds of jobs and help thousands of families out of fuel poverty by using more sustainable forms of warmth like wood, solar and heat pumps.”

She added “Most of our homes, businesses and public buildings are warmed by conventional gas boilers, and we must kick that addiction. District heating, for example, is a great way for hundreds of homes to share one heat source, but we have yet to see a consensus on its importance in Scotland.”

Projects and developments from continental Europe will be examined at the conference to see if they can help effect change in Scotland. Kate Read, Policy Manager at independent regulator Ofgem will speak at session dedicated to the Renewable Heat Incentive to judge how well the scheme is performing and whether the incentives provided are enough to increase uptake and develop the supply chain.

The conference will conclude with an innovation showcase presented by heat pump expert and Star Renewable Energy Director Dave Pearson who will guide the delegates through a variety of technologies which can help us meet our renewable heat target.

There was further good news for the Scottish Renewable Energy industry last week when wind turbine in Orkney set the landmark record of being the first in the UK to generate 100 million kilowatt hours of electricity.

The instillation which sits on the extremely exposed Burgar Hill, the windiest location for a turbine, in Europe, was installed in 2002 as a prototype but now produces enough electricity to supply 1,400 households and day.

When constructed 13 years ago, at 2.75megawatts output and standing at 70m it was one of the largest wind turbines in world. Locally the wind speeds are an extremely high average of 11.5m/s; winds a large turbine like this can utilise to great effect. It is currently maintained by local engineering firm Bryan Rendall Electrical on behalf energy firm Thorfinn Speaking of achieving this record the company’s marketing manager Tracy Jackson said “The NM92 wind turbine on Burgar Hill turned 100,000,000 kilowatt hours (kwh) on the counter at 3:30am on Tuesday. This is the first single turbine in the UK to have reached that milestone and to have generated over 100,000,000kwh.”

Speaking of the record breaking news WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “Once again Orkney and Scotland are leading the way when it comes to UK renewables.

“Orkney can already proudly boast it produces more electricity from renewable sources than the islands consume and is a hotspot in the UK for electric vehicles.

“It’s fantastic news that Orkney can claim yet another renewables record by being home to the first wind turbine to generate over a hundred million kilowatt hours of electricity. In the decade that has passed since the Burgar Hill wind project was established, wind power output in Scotland has more than quadrupled, helping to cut carbon, create jobs and keep the lights on.”

Stephanie Clark, Scottish Renewables policy manage, said “Orkney constantly manages to amaze with the sheer variety and inventive application of renewable energy technology deployed there – no wonder, when it’s very name means ‘energy islands’ in Icelandic.

“The cable which connects the islands to the GB electricity grid is too small, and until an upgrade is installed there are limits to the amount of power it can carry.

“Necessity has already produced world-first projects which have enabled more and more green energy generation to connect to the Orkney system, as well as a pilot scheme to convert wind electricity into hydrogen used to power a ferry, so it’s no surprise that this hugely-impressive milestone has been reached in Orkney.

“The team at Bryan Rendall Electrical are to be congratulated for a maintenance regime which has helped the turbine survive 14 Orkney winters – an application of technical know-how which proves Scotland’s renewable energy industry has much to teach the world.”

We have discussed the implications of the renewable heat issue in previously and it does concern us so we therefore welcome the intuitive taken by Scottish Renewables and the Low Carbon Conference and believe it can help drive us towards generating more of our heat energy from renewable sources.

With the right investment and encouragement we have shown we can be great innovators and although these issues exist at present together they can be overcome. It is something however that we all must to subscribe to and further assistance from Government bodies would go a long way in securing a sustainable heat energy future.

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