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Galloper wind farm first UK project backed by EUR 315 billion Investment Plan for Europe

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The European Investment Bank, Europe’s long-term investment institution, has agreed to provide GBP 225 million for the Galloper Wind Farm Ltd (GWFL) to be constructed 27 km off the Suffolk Coast. Once operational the offshore wind farm will be capable of providing enough clean energy to supply up to 336,000 homes from the world’s largest wind turbines. The project also represents the UK’s first pre-construction offshore wind project finance deal.

This is the first UK project to be backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe. EFSI was established earlier this year by the European Investment Bank and the European Commission and will enable increased lending and attract private capital for crucial projects by the European Investment Bank in strategic sectors such as renewable energy, digital infrastructure, transport and R&D, as well as financing for SMEs.

The UK Green Investment Bank plc (GIB) has joined Siemens Financial Services, Macquarie Capital and project developer RWE Innogy as 25% joint equity partners in the £1.5bn Galloper offshore wind farm. This is GIB’s eighth investment in the UK’s offshore wind sector. The GIB has helped mobilise more than £5bn in cumulative capital for offshore wind projects in the UK that, once operational, will provide nearly 3,000 MW of renewable electricity generation capacity – enough to power more than 2.3 million homes in the UK.

“The Galloper wind farm is the first UK project to be directly supported by the EFSI initiative. This reflects both the quality of EFSI projects and the strong green focus of the EUR 315 billion investment scheme. Projects such as Galloper demonstrate the leading role of the European offshore sector and confirm the EIB’s commitment to finance investment in green growth. We are pleased to have worked with a world-class sponsor group including Green Investment Bank, and alongside a group of leading project finance banks, to ensure that Galloper could be financed in record time.” said Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President.

Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President of the European Commission, and responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “The Galloper project will help households and businesses across the UK access cleaner, renewable energy. At the same time, the construction of the wind farm will generate hundreds of jobs. This project is innovative and ambitious, and it is a great example of why the Investment Plan was created. I hope other project promoters across the EU hearing this news are now inspired to contact the EIB with their proposals.”

Hans Bünting, CEO of RWE Innogy the company leading the construction of the project on behalf of GWFL said: “Today’s announcement is the culmination of many months of successful negotiations with our partners, and investors including the European Investment Bank, and shows that the UK is still a strong market for offshore renewables.  I look forward to working together with our new partners to utilise our collective experience and expertise to realise the successful construction of Galloper wind farm.”

Ed Northam, Head of Investment Banking, UK Green Investment Bank, said: “This is another significant milestone in the development of the UK offshore wind industry in a year that has already seen two major projects come online and construction commence on another. The transaction reinforces our relationship with RWE and further highlights the impressive list of companies that are investing in the sector. It is the second investment in offshore wind that GIB has made at FID in the space of six months, demonstrating the role that we continue to play in making sure that complex, but important, green infrastructure projects can proceed.”

RenewableUK’s Director of Policy for Economics and Regulation, Dr Gordon Edge, said “The UK is the number one destination for offshore wind investors. This week’s two major announcements of offshore wind projects achieving financial close, securing billions of pounds in investment, show that it remains an attractive place to do offshore business.

“The Government’s advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, is now recommending we install 1-2 gigawatts of offshore wind a year throughout the 2020s to meet out carbon reduction goals, so we could reach as much as 30GW by 2030. The CCC says offshore wind is set to become cheaper than gas during the next decade, so it offers excellent value for money in terms of keeping bills down. We’re also generating jobs, with 13,000 people already working in the industry – that could increase to 44,000 in less than 10 years.

“However, if we’re to continue to deliver ambitious offshore infrastructure projects throughout the 2020s, we need a clear plan from Government stating how much offshore wind capacity it wants over the next decade. We’ve had some encouraging signals so far, but we need details of how the financial framework is going to work for offshore wind to deliver at scale, as a key part of the Government’s industrial strategy.”

The £1.5 billion UK renewable energy project is set to create over 700 jobs during construction and nearly a hundred once operational. Already more than GBP 150 million has been spent during development of the scheme and once operational Galloper will use 56 six megawatt turbines.

The European Investment Bank is supporting the Galloper project alongside a consortium of 12 commercial banks.

Over the last 5 years the European Investment Bank has provided more than EUR 5 billion for investment in offshore wind farms in the North Sea off the UK, Belgian, Dutch and German coasts, as well as offshore transmission links to connect offshore windfarms to national electricity networks.

Energy

Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?

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sustainable wood burning ideas

Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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Energy

7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees

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As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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