A new £103m renewable energy fund set up by the Scottish Government brings with it a whole host of community-level opportunities for the country. Jamie Mckenzie reports.
Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing announced a new £103 million investment fund on March 22 that will drive the growth of renewable energy in Scotland for generations to come.
Money from the Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF) will initially target communities and rural businesses at early-stage development to help support the growth of renewable energy projects. In addition, the cash will support district heating schemes, and benefit wave and tidal developers with in the deployment of array projects.
The REIF represents the rest of the £200 million from the Fossil Fuel Levy fund released by George Osborne back in November 2011.
It complements the funding from the Green Investment Bank (GIB), which was also boosted by the Fossil Fuel Levy fund but addresses renewable projects closer to commercial-scale deployment.
Energy minister Ewing, said, “This £103 million Renewable Energy Investment Fund will allow communities all over Scotland to reap the benefits of our green energy revolution.
“Scotland has astounding green energy potential and vast natural resources, and we have a responsibility to make sure our nation seizes this opportunity to create tens of thousands of new jobs and secure billions of pounds of investment in our economy.
“This fund will help us make the most of our potential. Some have called on us to increase funding for marine technologies – this fund does that, demonstrates our commitment to marine and will ensure marine renewable projects become commercial realities.”
Approximately 10% of Europe’s wave power is off Scotland’s coasts, and the country boasts 25% of Europe’s tidal stream potential according to the Offshore Valuation 2010, with marine energy having the potential to provide a fifth of the electricity consumed in the UK.
This highlights a big appetite for funding research and development and creating jobs in the marine energy sector. The REIF will help feed this appetite and leverage further inward private investment.
Funding marine energy technology development will also help the government meet its flagship target of generating 100% gross annual electricity consumption from renewable energy by 2020.
Welcoming the £103m REIF, Stan Blackley, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, explained the possible extent of the community-scale benefits of the funding:
“Community renewables bring multiple benefits, not only reducing carbon emissions, but bringing direct financial benefits that can be used to regenerate communities and help those most in need.
“In fact, when income received by communities from their own renewables is then reinvested in measures such as waste reduction, community transport or home insulation, they can have a double positive effect for both the community and the environment.”
Unsurprisingly, wind energy is at the core of Scotland’s community renewables projects, with single 900Kw wind turbine projects like that at Westerlay, Orkney generating large sustainable incomes that can be reinvested in a variety of measures to further increase community sustainability.
For instance, community renewables incomes can be used to provide education on how to improve household energy conservation – a key area of concern for Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation. Cash could also help implement stronger access to education about energy conservation in community schools.
Savings could also be reinvested into changing attitudes towards waste, viewing it as a resource rather than a problem by echoing the simple three step mantra – reduce, re-use and recycle. It is a concept that was recently covered by Blue & Green Tomorrow, which noted that education was the key to achieving a “zero waste” Scotland.
The money could also finance green businesses start-ups that operate door-to-door household waste sorting strategies to increase the convenience and appeal of recycling for the individual, while creating jobs and making money locally.
Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Blackley also highlighted that other not-for-profit organisations that can be classed as “communities of interest”, such as cooperatives, credit unions and non-governmental organisations, would benefit from the REIF, as they represent a large number of Scottish people who may want to support renewable projects.
Funding the development of bottom-up community scale renewable projects continues to demonstrate the positive ambitions of a nation not only shifting towards a clean renewables economy but at the same time, creating new jobs that can help regenerate the socio-economic fabric of those communities most in need. Indeed, the REIF is another important milestone in Scotland’s drive down the road to 100% sustainability.
More can be discovered about the details of Scotland’s existing community level energy generation and carbon reduction projects at Community Energy Scotland. And if you are interested in switching to renewable electricity for your home or business, visit Good Energy – the UK’s only 100% renewable energy supplier.
Picture source: Lewis Castle UHI
What Kitchen Suits Your Style? Modern, Classic or Shaker?
A kitchen is the centre of the home. Your kitchen ranges between where friends and family gather, talk about their day, cook meals, have drinks, to somewhere you can just enjoy each other’s company. The kitchen is the heart of the home. But, everyone’s lifestyle is different. Everyone’s taste is different. So, you need a kitchen that not only mirrors your lifestyle but matches your taste too. Whilst some prefer a more traditional design, others want a modern feel or flair – and it’s all down to personal taste.
When it comes to redesigning your kitchen, what style would you go for? It’s a difficult one isn’t it. With so many different styles to go for, how can you know exactly what you want until you’ve seen it in action? Leading kitchen designer, Roman Kitchens, based in Essex, have provided three examples of bespoke kitchens and styles they specialise in, accompanied with beautiful images. This design guide will get you one step closer to picking your dream kitchen for your home.
New home in the city centre? Or even a sleek new modern build? You want a trendy and modern kitchen to reflect your city lifestyle. In modern kitchen design, colours are bolder and fresher, with sleek design and utilities that are distinctive and vibrant.
This modern kitchen is sleek and smooth with flawless design and beauty. Minimalism doesn’t stop this kitchen standing out. Featured walls of wood and vibrant mint green draw the eye, whilst the white surfaces reflect the light, illuminating every nook and cranny of this kitchen. This kitchen features products from Rotpunkt, innovators of modern kitchen design. Made with German engineering, a Rotpunkt Kitchen is the ultimate modern addition to your home. Rotpunkt Kitchens have timeless design and amazing functionality, they work for every purpose and are eco-friendly. Sourced from natural materials, a Rotpunkt kitchen uses 37% less timber, conserving natural forests and being more environmentally conscious.
Prefer a homely and traditional feel? Classic kitchens are warm, welcoming and filled with wood. Wood flooring, wood fixtures, wood furniture – you name it! You can bring a rustic feel to your urban home with a classic kitchen. Subtle colours and beautiful finishes, Classic kitchens are for taking it back to the basics with a definitive look and feel.
With stated handles for cupboards, Classic kitchens are effortlessly timeless. They convey an elegant but relaxing nature. Giving off countryside vibes, natural elements convey a British countryside feel. The wood featured in a classic kitchen can range between oaks and walnut, creating a warmth and original feel to your home. Soft English heritage colours add a certain mood to your home, softening the light making it cosier.
Any kitchen planner will tell you that the meeting point between traditional and modern design, is a Shaker kitchen. They have a distinctive style and innovative feel. Shakers are fresh, mixing different colour tones with stylish wood and vinyl. The most important feature of a Shaker kitchen is functionality – every feature needs to serve a purpose in the kitchen. Paired with stylish and unique furniture, a Shaker kitchen is an ideal addition to any home.
The ultimate marriage between Classic and Modern kitchens, this Shaker kitchen has deep colour tones with copper emphasis features. All the fittings and fixtures blur the line of modern and tradition, with a Classic look but modern colour vibe. Unique furniture and design make Shaker Kitchens perfect for the middle ground in kitchen design. Minimal but beautifully dressed. Traditional but bold and modern at the same time. Storage solutions are part of the functionality of Shaker kitchens, but don’t detour from conveying yours as a luxury kitchen.
Whatever you choose for your new kitchen, be it Modern, Classic or Shaker – pick whatever suits you. Taste is, and always will be, subjective – it’s down to you.
Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy
Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.
Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.
Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.
How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:
- They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
- They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
- They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
- They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.
Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.
Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use
The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.
Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.
Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers
Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.
Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.
Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy
Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:
- Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
- Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
- Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.
You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.