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#World Environment Day

#World Environment Day

Yesterday was world environment day, established in 1972 by the United Nations Assembly with the purpose of raising awareness of environmental issues across the board, from global warming and marine pollution to over population. The first World Environment day happened in 1974, themed ‘Only on earth’.

World Environment Day is seen as platform for action and is celebrated in a different county each year focusing on a particular issue. China is hosting this year with the theme #beatairpollution.

The UN estimate that as many as 6.5 million deaths each year are caused as a direct result of air pollution.  They have said “World Environment Day will focus on the theme of air pollution — a call for action to combat one of the greatest environmental emerging challenges of our time.

“World Environment Day invites us all to consider how we can make changes in our daily lives to reduce air pollution, which in turn can both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and benefit people’s health.

“The good news is that air pollution is largely avoidable, and its negative consequences are preventable. Solutions are known and can be implemented. The world needs to act now.”

This echoes the Committee on Climate Change report that was issued at the start of May 2019 which proposed setting a target of 2050 to achieve net-zero Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, with Scotland reaching this by 2045, five years before the rest of the UK.

Yesterday Gillian Martin Convener of the Scottish Environment Committee called for greater action on emission targets saying “The climate emergency is real and the stark fact is that we have to take urgent action in the short term in order to address global warming.

Our Committee welcomes the Scottish Government’s swift response to the CCC’s report and the commitment that Scotland will play its part in tackling it.

While the targets are challenging we need to focus on the opportunities and benefits of early action and we need to support those most impacted in making the transition.

This is why we have called for a higher level of ambition across all sectors and for clearer plans to be put in place for every sector so we ensure that our generation can address the catastrophic harm being done to our natural environment.”

Last week the Department for Transport (DfT) announced new plans to lessen the environmental impact of air pollution from aviation.  The aviation minister, Baroness Vere, said “Like our road and rail infrastructure on the ground, we need to keep our infrastructure in the sky up to date to keep people moving.

It hasn’t fundamentally changed since the 1950s, and without action, one in three flights could faces delays of half an hour or more by 2030.”

It is a complex and pressing task, but it will make flying cleaner, quieter and quicker, as we make our aviation sector one of the greenest in the world.”

The DfT are proposing an overhaul of how flight lanes allowing for more direct traffic to destinations, rather than the established routes and better co-ordination of air traffic to avoid stacking of aircraft waiting to land.  They claim this work could see planes burning a fifth less fuel, equivalent to 400,000 fewer flights a year, increasing capacity and reducing delays.

Organic movements like Extinction Rebellion and the work of climate activists Greta Thunberg and Sir David Attenborough have promoted a notable change in mood among the general public, pushing all things environmental to the top of the agenda for Governments across the world.

Coal-Free Generation Week

Coal-Free Generation Week

National Grid announced earlier this month that the UK had its first coal free electricity week in a 100yrs. This is in line with the Government plans to phase out coal entirely by 2025 and marks the first week since the UK’s first coal-fired power station opened the Holborn Viaduct Power Station in 1882.

This builds on the milestones in 2017 where we had our first coal free days since Victorian times and in May 2016 where Solar out preformed coal for the first time.

Fintan Slye, director of National Grid ESO said “We have been working with industry over the last few years to ensure the services we require to operate the network are not dependent on coal,”

“We have been forecasting the closure of coal plant and reduced running for some time – due to us having to manage more renewables on the system.  Transmission owners have invested in their networks accordingly and we have refined our operational strategies and real-time operation of the network to ensure continued secure and economic operation.

“As more and more renewables come onto our energy system, coal-free runs like this are going to be a regular occurrence.  We believe that by 2025 we will be able to fully operate Great Britain’s electricity system with zero carbon.”

The majority of electricity is still generated from fossil fuel, Natural Gas making up 46% of the total with Nuclear at 21.2% and combined renewables making up the 32.8% remainder.

At present there are eight nuclear sites currently generating power in the UK however only one of these is planned to be operating by 2030. There are six sites that have licenses to build new nuclear power stations however, only one of these is under construction with three cancelled and two struggling to get the green light to proceed.

Hopes of gas with carbon capture and storage(CCS) have also fallen by the wayside with no commercial scale applications available or in the pipeline leaving a gap in future generation. The Government’s own recent announcement of 30GW of offshore wind will likely have to increase to take fill the gap from from Nuclear and Gas CCS.

This leaves us with the renewable industry old bug bare of intermittence, as more power is produced from renewable sources the less control we have over when it is generated. This sets the stage for a massive increase in the energy storage needled. Indeed National Grid’s own recent energy scenarios have estimated between 11GW and 28GW of storage needed by 2050. There is currently 2.8GW of Storage available in UK.

To facilitate this increase in Storage there has been a push for new battery technologies that have been deployed across the UK, however to hit the level of storage required, the only proven technology currently available at scale is pumped storage hydro(PSH).

ILI currently have 3 Pump Storage Hydro sites in Scotland the most advanced being a 450MW scheme Red John in Inverness currently in planning. The capacity of these projects would be over 2GW almost doubling the current storage capacity in the UK.

Climate Emergency

Climate Emergency

Last night UK MP’s approved a motion to declare an ‘environment and climate emergency’, this was on the back of the Welsh assembly and the SNP also declaring a ‘climate emergency’ earlier in the week with the SNP also pledging today that Scotland will have a target of net-zero emissions by 2045.

A report commissioned by Greenpeace, the results of which were released today, states that two thirds of Britons believe that there is a current climate emergency and 76% would alter their voting patterns to help protect the planet.

Environmental lobbyists and protests groups have been putting forward a raft of proposals including a reduction of carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 – the existing UK deadline is 2050 – which they claim will help avert future doomsday situations.

Our recent past was focused on coal fuelled power plants capable of generating vast amounts of energy on demand with the negative affect of producing thousands of tonnes of harmful greenhouse gases including CO2.

The UK has been gradually phasing out coal plants with the last of them due to be decommissioned in 2025. This does leave a gap in our generation capabilities hampered more with the recent news that five of the proposed six new nuclear power plants are unlikely to be built and seven of the current eight set to be decommissioned by 2030.

Renewable energy generation offers a solution to the energy gap, but it is not without its limitations. There is currently over 42GW of installed renewable energy capacity in the UK. In Scotland alone the overall renewable energy generation capacity doubled between 2007 and 2015.

A continued rise in energy generation of this type would go far in reducing our carbon emissions but it does offer the flexibility that more traditional generations methods do. This is due to the intermittent nature of renewable energy generation. You can’t will the wind to blow or the sun to shine during high demand peaks. Nor can you ask either to stop when levels of demand drop well below levels of supply.

National Grid now believe that a zero-carbon electricity network is possible by 2025 and recently released proposals on how this could be achieved, however this would require a massive increase in the energy storage available in the system. They have estimated a minimum of 13GW of storage would be required to operate carbon neutral, there is currently 2.8GW of storage available.

Increasing to this level of energy storage does not come easy and we have been looking to new technologies such as batteries to help, but at the scale required the only proven technology currently available is Pumped Storage Hydro.

Pumped Storage Hydro however can offer a viable solution to this issue storing vast amounts of renewable energy ready to send it to the grid on demand. These projects however take a long time to develop both through the planning process and development stage which is why we must act now to promote this practical and workable solution to problem which belongs to us all.

National Grid “System Stability”

National Grid “System Stability”

Last week, National Grid System Operator released their “System Operator Innovation Strategy” for 2019/20.  This listed their top 10 priorities for 2019/20, with system stability now at the top. 

This move in priorities from National Grid has been motivated by a need to enable more non-synchronous generation i.e. renewable energy –  primarily wind and solar – along with the decrease in conventional synchronous generation: coal, gas and nuclear.

As more renewables are brought on stream, this creates issues with faster frequency changes due to intermittency. This affects levels of inertia and voltage management, making it ‘difficult for synchronous and non-synchronous generation generators to operate safely’.

Kayte O’Neill, head of strategy and regulation at National Grid System Operator, said

“The System Operator is evolving to keep up with this rapid change… We have responded to rapid decentralisation and decarbonisation in many ways, including introducing a dedicated distributed energy resource desk into our electricity control room and by taking a leading role in the discussion of decarbonisation of gas.

“To achieve these key transformations, we must innovate together as an industry. At the heart of the energy system, the System Operator is in a unique position to drive many of the changes needed to deliver the future vision we all share.

“[This document]… is a call to arms from the System Operator to the energy industry. We look forward to working with you this year to support System Operator innovation and to help deliver the futureGB energy system.”

This Innovation Strategy is following on the back of the ‘Zero Carbon Operation 2025’ report (released by their sister company, National Grid Electricity System Operator, at the start of April),  which states their ambition to “ have transformed the operation of the electricity system such that we can operate it safely and securely at zero carbon whenever there is sufficient renewable generation on-line and available to meet the total national load.”

Fintan Slye, Director of ESO, said: “Zero carbon operation of the electricity system by 2025 means a fundamental change to how our system was designed to operate; integrating newer technologies right across the system – from large-scale offshore wind to domestic scale solar panels – and increasing demand-side participation, using new smart digital systems to manage and control the system in real-time.

“Operating a zero-carbon electricity system in 2025, whenever there is sufficient renewable generation, is a major stepping stone to full decarbonisation of the entire electricity system; enabling new technologies and removing barriers to ever-increasing levels of renewables.”

It’s clear that the push for a decarbonised energy system will need major changes to how the Grid operates.As part of this transition, and to  help maintain system stability, energy storage will be a key enabler.

As it stands, energy from renewable sources is curtailed at times of high supply and low demand. This was seen last month when the energy market experienced negative pricing, causing National Grid to curtail generation for a time.

As we increase the amount of storage capacity available in the system, we will be able to store this otherwise curtailed energy for times of need, facilitating further deployment of energy from renewable sources. ILI Group believe that pumped storage hydro is the only proven technology for storing at the grid-level capacity required, as well as providing a range of ancillary services, such as frequency response,  inertia and voltage management.

Our 450MW site, Red John,  is currently in planning, with further 2 sites planned for submission later this year, bringing a total of 2GW of PSH to the market.

Energy Network Balancing

Energy Network Balancing

Last Monday saw wholesale energy prices dip to negative levels for more than six hours meaning suppliers where having to pay to produce energy, forcing National Grid to order power plants to turn down production.

This event was off the back of unseasonably warm and bright conditions meaning more of the public where outside enjoying the weather creating a drop-in demand alongside a surge in solar production going from a seasonal average of 3.5GW to 7. 7GW. This kind of event is not that unusual and similar events where seen last year in January and August.

Common sense would dictate that if power producers where having to pay for their power to enter the system, they would naturally curtail producing to continue to be profitable, however this leaves out the vast array of subsidies that some producers are receiving in the form of ROCs, Fits, or even PPA agreements.

What this means in practice is that some producers would need much higher negative market figures before they would not be making a profit i.e if the market price is -£70MWh and the subsidy is £150 a MWh, they would still be making £80 a MWh. This leaves Nation Grid with the problem of balancing the system which it does by restricting generators who then receive payment for the energy they have to restrict (curtailment charges), these are negotiated between Nation Grid and each generator. Last year there was 125M of curtailment charges paid to wind farm operators, these are recouped through energy bills from the consumer.

On the other side of this storage operators i.e grid scale battery and pump storage hydro meant they could use this negative pricing to purchase power to store the energy. In effect being paid to fill up their batteries or pump water to the top of the reservoir.

As we move towards low-carbon generation and away from thermal generation i.e coal plants closures by 2024 plus the difficulty the Government is having with nuclear generation we are going to become more and more reliant on the intermittent generation of renewable energy, meaning these types of events will only increase. 

It’s clear that large scale renewable deployment comes the need for large scale storage whether that comes from pumped storage hydro, batteries or other technologies. National Grid’s 2018 future energy scenarios report forecasts that up to 29GW of total storage capacity will be needed by 2050.

As the amount of storage increases this will reduce the need for National Grid to curtail renewable generation making sure the country maximises the potential of renewable energy, reduces the costs to the consumers and keeps the lights on.

What is Pump Storage Hydro?

What is Pump Storage Hydro?

The wind doesn’t always blow, the sun doesn’t always shine. It can’t be relied on to match consumer demand for electricity, meaning other sources of generation are need to be ready as back up i.e. gas, coal or nuclear.

Currently renewable generation is switched off when not required (curtailment). This means that potential renewable energy is wasted, and National Grid currently pay developers to switch off generation. Last year they paid over £125M in curtailment charges to wind farm operators, these charges are recouped by National Grid through consumer energy bills.

Pump Storage Hydro offers a way to store excess renewable energy at times when demand is not required so it can be stored until needed. The system uses electricity to pump water from a lower reservoir to a higher reservoir. This pumping happens at times when there is more energy being produced on the grid network than is needed. This energy is stored until it is required, when the water is allowed to flow back through a hydro-turbine, generating electricity to meet sudden or predicted spikes in consumer demand.

This cycle of pumping and generating repeats daily as required. Pumped storage utilises excess generated electricity when consumer demand is low and generates electricity when demand increases.

A typical conventional pumped storage hydro power plant consists of four components:

1. Water reservoirs: normally two interconnected water reservoirs.

2. Water piping: tunnels that allow moving water from one reservoir to another.

3. Powerhouse: facility with one or more pump/turbine and motor/generator assemblies that allow pumping water into the upper reservoir at off-peak hours and discharging water into the lower reservoir.

4. Grid connection: power transmission lines to move the generated power from the plant into the grid. Components are often housed underground.

There are 4 operational PSH plants in the UK with a combined generation capacity of 2.8GW. We are proposing 3 new projects in Scotland the most advanced being a 450MW scheme Red John in Inverness currently in planning. The capacity of these projects would be over 2GW, this would almost double the current PSH generation capacity in the UK.

Energy Storage Gap in New Offshore Wind Plans

Energy Storage Gap in New Offshore Wind Plans

On Wednesday the UK Government announced a Sector deal with the offshore wind industry that would see 30% of UK power coming from offshore wind by 2030, increasing capacity from 7.9GW currently to 30 GW.

The remaining 70% is planned to come from nuclear and Gas plants with carbon capture but with 5 of the 6 planned nuclear plants unlikely to go ahead and no commercial scale gas with carbon capture planned there is a growing concern as to how the UK will be able to keep the lights on while continuing the transition to low-carbon energy.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry 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 five-fold increase in exports.”

However, John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, thought these figures should be higher: “The Government’s plans for a fleet of new nuclear reactors has collapsed. This leaves Britain with a big energy gap in the future. It means the Government’s latest offshore wind target of 30 gigawatts by 2030 is woefully inadequate.

“Renewable power now presents the best opportunity for cheaper, cleaner and faster decarbonisation. Wind and solar must be tripled between now and 2030, with offshore wind the future backbone of the UK’s energy system.”

Our own Mark Wilson said: “Government focus on renewable energy can only be a good thing however without a coherent energy storage plan the true potential of renewable energy will be squandered. This announcement makes the case for Pumped Storage Hydro even more urgent and persuasive.

“UK wind developers were paid 125M in curtailment charges last year alone – in other words, they were paid not to produce electricity.  Our plans will go a long way to help get the maximum benefit of new renewable energy for the country and the environment.”

This was echoed by former UK Energy Minister, Brian Wilson saying “One way or another, there has to be back-up to the intermittency of renewable generation, and this creates a huge opportunity for UK industry. In Scotland, Pumped Storage Hydro – which provides 95 per cent of storage around the world – is the obvious answer instead of relying on imports via interconnectors.

“Hydro power has served Scotland exceptionally well in the past and can do so for many years to come. This is an opportunity to give an established technology a new lease of life with huge potential benefits for the Scottish economy while at the same time helping to solve the inescapable challenges posed by reliance on renewable generation”.

ILI currently have 3 Pump Storage Hydro sites in Scotland the most advanced being a 450MW scheme Red John in Inverness. The capacity of these projects would be over 2GW, this would almost double the current PSH capacity in the UK.

Scotland Tackles Climate Change

Scotland Tackles Climate Change

As the climate summit COP24 (Conference of Parties) in Katowice, Poland this week stark warnings emerged with senior figures stating that the “world is at a crossroads” and that climate change was now a “matter of life and death.”

Sir David Attenborough speaking at the summit opening said “The world’s people have spoken – time is running out. They want you, the decision makers, to act now. Leaders of the world, you must lead.”

Key to reaching the required targets on worldwide temperature rises – and going some way in preventing this man-made catastrophe – is for nations to vastly reduce their carbon emissions which mostly come from energy generation and transport.

Yesterday at the House of Lords Strathclyde University launched a paper which states that Pump Storage Hydro, a tried and tested method of energy production (and storage), added to the UK energy mix could see massive savings in carbon emission outputs as well as potential consumer savings.

Renewable energy offers a sure way of reducing carbon emissions normally associated with energy production as it does not burn carbon heavy fossil fuels in order to generate energy. However, the issue with renewable energy production is that is can be intermittent leaving potential shortfalls in the energy system particularly when demand is high. In addition, it is feasible that surpluses may be produced when production is high but demand low.

Pump Storage Hydro, installed at the correct amounts, could both generate energy quickly in order to meet demand during peak times and use surplus renewable energy during low demand periods to pump water back up and “refill its battery” ready for the next period of high demand.

In 2016, Carbon Trust/Imperial College produced analysis on the benefits of storage to the UK power system. This analysis was subsequently used by the National Infrastructure Commission in their 2016 ‘Smart Power’ report and concluded the following;

  • The Carbon Trust/Imperial report concluded that base savings of up to £2.4 billion per annum could be realised by installing around 6GW of additional storage capacity by 2030.
  • The report estimated that consumers would save around £50 per year if the 6GW was built, based on them only receiving 50% of the available savings.
  • This £2.4bn saving is only due to the reduction of investment in gas plant
    and the use of gas.  It does not include saving from reducing investment in networks, or from other savings.
  • The report identified that an additional £5 billion per annum could be saved by better optimisation of the power system, making a total of some £7.4 billion pa. These are partly attributable to the availability of storage to help manage the power system, reducing the need for generation and network investment.

So just 6GW of Energy storage could give a potential saving for the consumer of up to £150 per annum offsetting the increases in energy bills relating to renewable energy subsidies. At present there is 4GW of new Pump Storage Hydro facilities in the pipeline in the UK.

Last week a report from the Institution of Engineers in Scotland (IESIS) claimed that a massive gap in the electricity system caused by the closure of coal-fired power stations and growth of unpredictable renewable generation has created the real prospect of complete power failure which could lead to sustained black-outs and power outages and that longer periods with no power could lead to “deaths, severe societal and industrial disruption, civil disturbance and loss of production”.

The IESIS report also warned that the loss of carbon heavy power generating stations means that having to restore electricity in a “black start” situation – following a complete loss of power – would take several days.

Pump Storage Hydro could ease any black start issues if used should such a situation arise. In addition, the technology is proven and is already in use in the UK and in many installations throughout the world.

The Strathclyde University paper also points out that in order to develop projects at the scale required the UK government must produce policy security in order to attract and maintain the required investment and that it has access to the same markets as other energy generation technologies offering a level playing field from the outset. Like most other technologies it does not require a subsidy.

Professor Karen Turner from the University said: “Our work focused particularly on Pump Storage Hydro as a mature technology, but our conclusions are relevant across the wider portfolio of potential Electrical Energy Storage (EES) options. We draw three main conclusions from our research. First, that there is a need to account for and articulate the value of EES. Second, a market framework that recognises this value is needed. Third, development through both of these stages requires greater policy certainty and clarity round low carbon economic development pathways in general, and the outcomes that may be served by EES in particular.”

Most importantly though is that it will reduce carbon emissions by millions of tonnes every year and can play a major role in ensuring that global temperatures do not exceed a 1.5 degree rise and contribute to the safeguarding of the planet for our grandchildren, their grandchildren and many future generations to come.

Speaking also at the launch former UK Energy Minister Brian Wilson said: “As a long-term advocate of hydro-electricity, I welcome this paper which gives PSH a long overdue place in the debate about how to address the critical issue of intermittency. This is already extremely urgent due to the pressure to increase generation from renewables.

“There is no one silver bullet but PSH certainly has a significant part to play. The fact that Scotland’s terrain can offer excellent sites for these developments, with minimal negative impacts, means that this is a technology which can bring massive economic as well as environmental benefits”

 

Scotland’s Energy Security

Scotland’s Energy Security

A new report from the Institution of Engineers in Scotland (IESIS) has claimed that a massive gap in the electricity system caused by the closure of coal-fired power stations and growth of unpredictable renewable generation has created the real prospect of complete power failure which could lead to sustained black-outs and power outages.

They go on to say that longer periods with no power could lead to “deaths, severe societal and industrial disruption, civil disturbance and loss of production”.

The organisation always warns that the loss of carbon heavy power generating stations such as Longannet – which closed two years ago – means that having to restore electricity in a “black start” situation – following a complete loss of power – would take several days.

Although the threat of civil disturbance does seem like a stretch of the imagination the report points to power losses of several days in other countries leading to this type of situation and warns “A lengthy delay would have severe negative consequences – the supply of food, water, heat, money, petrol would be compromised; there would be limited communications. The situation would be nightmarish.”

The Institute concludes its report by calling on the Scottish and UK Governments to radically change how the electricity system is governed, with the creation of a new national energy authority with specific responsibility for safeguarding its long-term sustainability and avoiding blackouts.

With Scottish Power becoming the first major energy provider to switch to 100% green energy production by selling its remaining fossil fuel production plants earlier this year and the scheduled closure of nuclear power plant Hunterston B in 2023 it is feared that the increased reliance on renewable energy generation could lead to intermittent losses.

This could be exasperated with an increase on energy demand due to a sharp increase in electric vehicles and rises in domestic heat coming from electricity as opposed to gas.

Iain MacLeod, of the IESIS, said: “The electricity system was designed with generation coming mainly from coal and nuclear energy. However, as we change generation sources to include intermittent renewables, we must review how the system works with these new inputs. The risks involved when introducing new sources of generation need to be controlled. Intermittent renewable energy sources do not supply the same level of functionality as power stations to meet demand at all times and avoid operational faults. Intermittency issues … relevant to wind and solar energy have not been adequately explored.”

The Institute’s report, Engineering for Energy: A Proposal for Governance of the Energy System, which it plans to take to the Scottish and UK governments argues that Longannet was closed “well before assessments of the impact of its closure had been completed” and adds that transmission is now being upgraded “before detailed decisions about the siting of generation facilities have been made.”

In addition, integrating new energy sources to the current network could lead to an increase in cost to the consumer with the report adding “The extra generation and storage needed to safeguard security of supply, the facilities required to ensure it is stable, extra transmission facilities, and energy losses over power lines from remote locations will all contribute to rising costs.”

SP Energy Networks, which owns and maintains the transmission network in central and southern Scotland, say: “The resilience of the system, and the ability to deliver an efficient and timely Black Start restoration, minimising the social and economic aspects of such an event, continue to be areas of particular focus.”

Alexander Burnett, Scottish Conservative energy spokesman said: “No-one disputes the need for Scotland, and everywhere else, to move towards cleaner generation of energy. But this has to be done in a sustainable way which ensures there are no blackouts and enough power to meet the needs of the country”.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “While electricity policy is reserved to the UK Government, we are working closely with National Grid and the Scottish network companies to ensure that Scotland has a secure and stable supply of electricity.  Renewable generation now plays substantial role in meeting electricity demand across Scotland and reducing the carbon intensity of the electricity that we generate. Our energy strategy highlights the need to plan and deliver a secure, flexible and resilient electricity system.”

Prior to the closure of the coal and gas plants in Scotland we were a net exporter of energy to the rest of the UK and beyond. However, this has since changed and we need the security of a potential 1.6GW or power which can be imported from England at any given time. Due to the nature of our renewable energy production this can fluctuate on a daily or even an hourly basis. A windy morning for example could lead to an excess of energy but a calm afternoon could mean having to import. This is happening on a more regular basis over the past year.

We believe that a solution to this issue already exists and can implemented relatively quickly. Intermittent energy production requires industrial scale storage to ensure that it can meet the demand required throughout the daily peaks and troughs. And while battery storage can certainly help with this the amount required to be able to handle the highest demand scenarios would mean acres and acres of battery storage units.

Pump storage hydro however can meet this gap and give us the energy security that the Institute’s report seeks. At ILI Energy we are currently planning on developing three individual plants in different locations which will have the potential to store and generate 1.6GW of power. In addition, they will use excess renewable energy – when production is in surplus – to flow the water back to the top pond making it fully renewable.

We are currently at the planning stage with these three projects with two in consultation and one being submitted for planning approval earlier this month. For information on this project and details on the planning submission please go to the project website http://www.redjohnpsh.co.uk/

 

Rural Scotland supports new onshore wind developments

Rural Scotland supports new onshore wind developments

In the wake of the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report last week the focus on what can be done to remedy  the situation has intensified. Carbon emissions must be reduced – and even reversed – on both macro and micro levels with everybody contributing, from governments to corporations to individuals.

The best place to start is with our energy generation with carbon intense fossil fuels still producing vast amounts of energy and in turn adding vast amounts of carbon to our atmosphere.

Over the past 25 years the move to renewable energy generation has increased with a particular sharp rise in the past ten years which has led the UK to be able to generate approximately 25% of its electricity demand via renewable low carbon sources.

However, things could be – and should be – better, much better. Scotland has an abundance of renewable sources and in particular, is the windiest country in Europe however we lag significantly behind our European neighbours when it comes to generating electricity via wind turbines.

In 2015 the new UK Government vastly reduced all subsidies for new onshore wind development, with all support due to end in April 2019, bringing to a halt a blossoming industry which was well on its way to having the capacity to generate 50% of our electricity.

A number of reasons were given at the time including cost, intermittency, and low public approval, particularly in areas where turbines are situated. Since then however the cost of onshore wind developments has reduced dramatically and intermittency issues can be resolved using modern storage methods including pump storage hydro and industrial batteries.

This week the results of an independent survey carried out by Survation and commissioned by Scottish Renewables showed that those living in rural Scotland – and most likely to find themselves living close to renewable developments – were generally in favour of the use of onshore wind with 66% supporting it, 22% saying they have no opinion or don’t know and only 11% opposed to new onshore wind farms.

It wasn’t just onshore wind that got the rural seal of approval with solar power (83% support), wave and tidal energy (83% support), offshore wind energy (78% support) and biomass (69% support) all receiving support well above 50%.

Contrasting that, support for building new fossil fuel (coal, gas or oil) power stations or extending the life of existing garnered only 42% with fracking at just 31%.

Jenny Hogan, Deputy Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables said: “This latest poll was focussed, for the first time ever, on discovering what Scots in rural areas think about renewables like wind and solar power.

“The nature of Scotland’s renewable energy resource – our wind, tides, forestry and even our long summer evenings, among others – means many renewable energy developments take place in rural areas, providing jobs and economic opportunities which otherwise may not have existed.

“This independent polling shows that not only do rural Scots support the development of renewables, but that their opposition to policies which promote extracting and burning fossil fuels is unmistakeable.

“The fact is that the continued deployment of clean power technologies like wind, solar and biomass is backed by the very people who will benefit most tangibly from these developments.”

Gina Hanrahan, WWF Head of Policy, said: “Not only is onshore wind the cheapest form of new energy, this poll shows it’s also one of the most popular, alongside solar, wave and tidal.

“Just last week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sent a clarion call to all nations to act urgently and decisively to bring emissions down, and embracing renewables is one of the best ways of doing this.

“This poll is just another nail in the coffin for the myth that renewables are unpopular, and instead shows that people recognise the economic, social and environmental benefits harnessing our renewable potential can bring to Scotland’s rural areas.”

It comes as no surprise to us at ILI Energy that onshore wind remains popular with rural Scots. We developed a number of onshore wind turbines in various rural areas throughout the country and the response was mainly positive.

Locals could see the economic benefits such developments brought to their area and were onboard with the environmental benefits they brought everyone.

In 2018 there is no reason not to re-establish the onshore wind industry with the introduction of new developments throughout the country. It is the least expensive form of new build power generation, excess energy can be stored for use at peak times, and it has widespread public approval.

The Climate Change report released last week was unequivocal, we must reduce our carbon emissions dramatically and immediately. New onshore wind developments isn’t the answer on its own but it could be, with the right backing, one of the biggest contributors to achieving carbon neutrality.

 

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