Renewable Energy Opportunity and Innovation

Mars Incorporated, producers of Mars Bars, Snickers, Dolmio, and Pedigree Chum amongst other products have announced that their entire UK operations will now be run on renewable energy. The new Moy twenty turbine wind farm near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands will supply the energy to the confectionery and pet food manufacturer due to a ten year deal agreed with the wind farm operators, Eneco.

The Moy wind farm has an export capacity of 60 megawatts and a potential annual output of over 125,000 megawatt-hours the equivalent of the power used by 34,000 UK households, enough to supply Mars’ twelve UK sites

The agreement is part of the effort Mars have made to reduce its carbon footprint and help support UK climate and carbon emission targets. They have also stated that they are aiming for their entire global operations to be carbon neutral by 2040.

This latest deal follows on from a similar one Mars have completed in the US with a large scale wind farm in Texas providing the company’s US operations with clean renewable energy. The company also recently announced that it had achieved its 2015 target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by a quarter of its 2007 level.

Barry Parkin, chief sustainability officer for Mars Incorporated, said: “We’re proud that the brands that we make here will now be manufactured using renewable electricity, and that we are reducing our carbon footprint in the UK and around the world.

“As with our wind farm in Lamesa, Texas, Moy will contribute significantly to our effort to eliminate fossil fuel energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from our global operations by 2040.

“The Moy Wind Farm is part of our innovative and long-term approach to achieving our goal to be a successful and sustainable business for generations to come.”

Zoisa Walton, country director for Eneco UK, said: “This project is very special to Eneco as it brings together all the elements of our strategy – a renewable ­generating asset, a like-minded partner in Mars, and the opportunity to deliver real benefits to the local community. We are proud to be supplying Mars UK and to be working with them to create a more sustainable future.”

Additional power from the Moy scheme will be offered to local residents via a new green tariff called Highlands and Mearns Wind.

With more and more corporations opting to purchase electricity from the renewable sources the opportunity is there for more developments to benefit from this practice. However more must be done to ensure funding is available in order realise the potential of projects like these.

Also in Scotland this week the Crown Estate announced that it has granted a lease to energy provider Statoil for Hywind at Buchan Deep in the North Sea 25 kilometres from Peterhead, enabling construction to commence on the world’s largest floating wind farm.

The project will consist of five 6 mega-watt turbines which will be anchored in waters much deeper than that of a usual UK offshore wind farm. Instead of fixed foundations the turbines are supported by a floating steel tube filled with ballast, which is then anchored to the seabed.

This is second example of this type of project and follows a successful development of the Norwegian coast in 2009. The Hywind project received planning consent in October 2015 and Statoil took the decision to advance to the construction phase this year.

Initial on-shore works will commence this year with the turbines due to be installed in early 2017 with the first power exported from them towards the end of 2017.

Ronnie Quinn, general manager of The Crown Estate’s Scotland Portfolio said: “We have been working closely with Statoil, Scottish Government and other partners to help bring forward this innovative project which helps consolidate the position of Scotland and the UK as a global leader in the offshore renewables sector.

“Hywind is the first of its kind in the world. Its successful operation will demonstrate the viability of floating wind in deep water locations and bring forward cost reduction techniques that will move the whole sector forward.

“By working to share best practice and deploying our expertise in seabed leasing, we’ve been able to support the development of emerging technologies, from floating wind to tidal current energy, placing Scotland in a very strong position to secure global investment in low carbon energy.”

Leif Delp, project director for the Hywind Scotland project said: “We are very pleased to develop this project in Scotland, in a region with a huge wind resource and an experienced supply chain from oil and gas.

“Through the hard work of industry and supportive government policies, the UK and Scotland is taking a position at the forefront of developing offshore wind as a competitive new energy source.”

Lindsay Roberts, Senior Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “The granting of Hywind’s lease marks an important milestone for the project.

“Floating offshore wind is an exciting technology with huge, global potential, and it’s great to have this world first in Scottish waters.”

The Hywind project is another positive step forward for renewable energy technology and those involved should be congratulated for achieving this milestone.  However it is crucial for us to continue to adapt and advance in order to make best of the resources available. The potential funding this and similar projects could attain will go a long way in helping future developments  continue to push the boundaries of what is capable in renewable energy generation.

Energy will always be in demand. The cleaner, safer, and more cost effective it is the more it will benefit all of us.

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