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Scottish Government hosts renewables roundtable & meets UK Energy Secretary

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The Scottish Government took its campaign on the future of renewable energy to London as it renewed calls for the UK Government to change course on its cuts in support for renewable energy.

Scottish Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, hosted a Renewables Roundtable this morning, with representatives from across the renewables industry, environmental NGOs and business organisations to discuss the impact of recent UK Government decisions on renewables.

The UK Government’s energy policy is costing the renewables industry millions as investor confidence recedes, and comes despite the UK wanting to take a leading role at the upcoming Paris climate change talks, and despite concern on decreasing UK energy generation margins.

A recent report from Scottish Renewables suggests “around two gigawatts of onshore wind projects in Scotland have been put at risk. These are projects that could bring around £3 billion pounds of investment.”

In addition the UK Government’s own impact assessment shows that 63 million tonnes more CO2 will be released into the atmosphere as a result of their cuts in renewable energy. And their cuts come as National Grid’s assessment show a further tightening of the gap between electricity supply and demand.

The feedback from the Renewables Roundtable will inform Mr Ewing when he meets with the UK Energy Secretary Amber Rudd later today. Mr Ewing, alongside representatives from onshore and offshore wind, solar, and environmental groups, are asking the UK Government for clarity on a number of issues:

– A Renewables Obligation grace period which includes everything already in the planning system

– A date for the next Contract for Difference (CfD) funding round to give certainty for developers

– A route to market for new onshore wind farms

– Concessions for community energy as part of the Feed-In Tariff (FITs) scheme

Speaking ahead of the summit Mr Ewing said: “Recent decisions on renewable energy by the UK Government can only be described as anti-business, anti-environment and anti-energy security. The impacts are spreading right across Scotland and the UK. It not just the renewables industry that are affected but also the wider supply chain, including ports and harbours, transmission and distribution, consultancy, communities and the civil engineering sector.

“We have made repeated calls to extend the grace period for all projects currently in the planning system and I am disappointed this doesn’t appear to have been accepted. As the Energy Bill progresses in Westminister we will continue to argue that it is in the interests of business, environment and energy security for the UK Government to mitigate their hard-line stance.

“It’s particularly perverse for the Prime Minister to want the UK to play a leading role in the climate talks when his own policies are slashing green energy.

“As well as the UK Government’s recent announcements on renewable support include early closure of the Renewables Obligations for onshore wind and solar PV projects, uncertainty around Contracts for Difference and most recently the drastic cuts to tariffs under the FITs scheme and the removal of FITS pre-accreditation.

“These sudden and unexpected shifts have brought about widespread uncertainty and concern and will not only impact Scotland but rest of the UK.

“The UK Government need to consider what urgent actions it can take to restore confidence in the sector with investors. Today’s Renewable Roundtable will help galvanise London based organisations in defence of the renewables sector, and will inform our discussions later today with the UK Government.”

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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