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Scottish renewables fund to create “double positive effect”

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.

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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.

Related articles:

Education key to achieving a “zero waste” Scotland

Scottish Government proposes a £1 billion oil fund

New wave of funding for marine energy sector

Ofgem likely to fund Scottish hook-up between renewable energy and grid

Picture source: Lewis Castle UHI

Environment

How to be More eco-Responsible in 2018

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Shutterstock / By KENG MERRY Paper Art | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kengmerrymikeymelody

Nowadays, more and more people are talking about being more eco-responsible. There is a constant growth of information regarding the importance of being aware of ecological issues and the methods of using eco-friendly necessities on daily basis.

Have you been considering becoming more eco-responsible after the New Year? If so, here are some useful tips that could help you make the difference in the following year:

1. Energy – produce it, save it

If you’re building a house or planning to expand your living space, think before deciding on the final square footage. Maybe you don’t really need that much space. Unnecessary square footage will force you to spend more building materials, but it will also result in having to use extra heating, air-conditioning, and electricity in it.

It’s even better if you seek professional help to reduce energy consumption. An energy audit can provide you some great piece of advice on how to save on your energy bills.

While buying appliances such as a refrigerator or a dishwasher, make sure they have “Energy Star” label on, as it means they are energy-efficient.

energy efficient

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By My Life Graphic

Regarding the production of energy, you can power your home with renewable energy. The most common way is to install rooftop solar panels. They can be used for producing electricity, as well as heat for the house. If powering the whole home is a big step for you, try with solar oven then – they trap the sunlight in order to heat food! Solar air conditioning is another interesting thing to try out – instead of providing you with heat, it cools your house!

2. Don’t be just another tourist

Think about the environment, as well your own enjoyment – try not to travel too far, as most forms of transport contribute to the climate change. Choose the most environmentally friendly means of transport that you can, as well as environmentally friendly accommodation. If you can go to a destination that is being recommended as an eco-travel destination – even better! Interesting countries such as Zambia, Vietnam or Nicaragua are among these destinations that are famous for its sustainability efforts.

3. Let your beauty be also eco-friendly

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Shutterstock / By Khakimullin Aleksandr

We all want to look beautiful. Unfortunately, sometimes (or very often) it comes with a price. Cruelty-free cosmetics are making its way on the world market but be careful with the labels – just because it says a product hasn’t been tested on animals, it doesn’t  mean that some of the product’s ingredients haven’t been tested on some poor animal.

To be sure which companies definitely stay away from the cruel testing on animals, check PETA Bunny list of cosmetic companies just to make sure which ones are truly and completely cruelty-free.

It’s also important if a brand uses toxic ingredients. Brands such as Tata Harper Skincare or Dr Bronner’s use only organic ingredients and biodegradable packaging, as well as being cruelty-free. Of course, this list is longer, so you’ll have to do some online research.

4. Know thy recycling

People often make mistakes while wanting to do something good for the environment. For example, plastic grocery bags, take-out containers, paper coffee cups and shredded paper cannot be recycled in your curb for many reasons, so don’t throw them into recycling bins. The same applies to pizza boxes, household glass, ceramics, and pottery – whether they are contaminated by grease or difficult to recycle, they just can’t go through the usual recycling process.

People usually forget to do is to rinse plastic and metal containers – they always have some residue, so be thorough. Also, bottle caps are allowed, too, so don’t separate them from the bottles. However, yard waste isn’t recyclable, so any yard waste or junk you are unsure of – just contact rubbish removal services instead of piling it up in public containers or in your own yard.

5. Fashion can be both eco-friendly and cool

Believe it or not, there are actually places where you can buy clothes that are eco-friendly, sustainable, as well as ethical. And they look cool, too! Companies like Everlane are very transparent about where their clothes are manufactured and how the price is set. PACT is another great company that uses non-GMO, organic cotton and non-toxic dyes for their clothing, while simultaneously using renewable energy factories. Soko is a company that uses natural and recycled materials in making their clothes and jewelry.

All in all

The truth is – being eco-responsible can be done in many ways. There are tons of small things we could change when it comes to our habits that would make a positive influence on the environment. The point is to start doing research on things that can be done by every person and it can start with the only thing that person has the control of – their own household.

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Energy

Top 5 Changes You can Make in Your Life to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

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Saving money and reducing your carbon footprint? What isn’t to love? - Image from Shutterstock - https://www.shutterstock.com/g/thodonal88

In a world, where war rages and global warming threatens our very existence, the inhabitants of earth need to be extra vigilant in their efforts to go green. This includes reducing your carbon footprint on the earth and leading a more sustainable life.

Many homeowners feel perplexed by all of the options available to reduce their carbon footprint. They may even feel (falsely) that making their household more green will fail to make that much of a difference in the fight to save our planet.

Even a single home going green has a massive impact on the environment. We can win this battle on home at a time. If you’re interested in accepting the challenge of making your household a green home, read on below for a few of the top changes you can make in your life to reduce your carbon footprint. We all stand to benefit from making the earth safer for future generations – and your wallet won’t complain when you start to see the savings in annual energy costs.

Switch From Dirty Energy to Clean Solar

The ION Solar reviews tell it all–solar is the best way to go. Whether your goal is to slash your energy bills, or to reduce your carbon footprint, the sun is a fantastic source of renewable energy.

It’s important to get past the hype from solar installers. Instead, listen to the plethora of impartial customer reviews that mention everything from a $20 energy bill, to the incredible feeling of knowing that you are doing your part by going green and minimizing harmful emissions in to our atmosphere.

The average investment is $15,000 to $30,000 for installation and purchase of solar panels. Optional battery power packs can help provide consistent power during both night and day. And many government agencies provide federal, state or local grants to help offset upfront investments in clean energy.

Depending on which installed you choose, your household may qualify for low-interest or zero interest loans to cover the up-front cost of your installation. And the loan payments are usually less than your current monthly power bill.

It really is a win-win, as home buyers are looking for homes that feature this technology – meaning solar power installation improves the resale value of your property.

Home Modifications

And there are a number of additional home modifications that can help improve the energy efficiency of your home. A programmable thermostat can better manage energy consumption from home cooling and heating systems while you’re away from home. And weather stripping your doors can help keep cool air in during the summer, and warm air in during the winter.

Of course, energy conservation starts at home. And this includes setting a powerful example for your kids. Teach your children how to close windows, strategically keep doors open or closed based on airflow, and encourage them to leave the thermostat alone – opting for adding or removing layers of clothing instead.

Unplug Appliances and Shut Off Electronics

Unplugging your appliances when they aren’t in use, such as the toaster and the coffee maker, has more of an impact than you might think. Set your TVs and stereos on sleep timers, instead of letting them run around the clock. The cumulative impact of wasteful electronic device usage is horrible for our environment – putting unnecessary strain on our electrical grid.

Recycle

One of the simplest and easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by recycling. You are already throwing this stuff away anyway, right? It doesn’t take much more effort to just put recyclables in a separate container to be recycled, now does it?

Oh, and did I mention that you can earn money for recycling? Yes! Many cities and towns have recycling centers that will purchase your clean plastic and glass bottles for reuse.

Minimize Your Water Usage

Water is one of the easiest things to forget about when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint. Preserve water by turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth. Shorten your shower by a few minutes and turn down the heat on that water heater. You’ll be surprised at how much lower your water bill and your energy bill will be.

Saving money and reducing your carbon footprint? What isn’t to love?

These are just a few of the top ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint and start living a greener lifestyle. And we aren’t factoring in all of the advantages that we’ll reap from public investments in a smarter energy grid.

From decreasing your water usage, to switching to solar for your home’s energy needs, you will feel good at the end of the day knowing you are doing your part to save the future of this planet for generations to come!

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