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ScottishPower announce largest ever wind turbine contract with Siemens

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ScottishPower Renewables has agreed to what’s believed to be Europe’s largest wind turbine contract for a single project. They have completed a deal with Siemens, which will see 102 wind turbines supplied for the East Anglia ONE offshore windfarm. It’s been announced that the contract will be worth up to one-third of the overall £2.5 billion project investment.

The agreement comes on the same day that the Low Carbon Contracts Company confirmed that the Contract for Difference (CFD) milestones have been fulfilled, ensuring that East Anglia ONE will be the best value offshore windfarm to go in to construction anywhere in the world.

Keith Anderson, CEO of ScottishPower Renewables, said: “We have concluded Europe’s largest project-specific wind turbine agreement just a month after taking our final investment decision, and we have scaled the final hurdle by satisfying our CFD conditions with the Low Carbon Contracts Company. It is now full steam ahead for East Anglia ONE, with ground set to be broken early next year.

“East Anglia ONE is the first of up to four projects we would like to build in the southern North Sea, and we hope that our plans will stimulate jobs and investment for the UK and across the region for decades to come.”

Neil McDermott, CEO at Low Carbon Contracts Company, added: “The milestone requirement is a key obligation under the CFD and we look forward to working with East Anglia ONE to deliver this landmark project.”

East Anglia ONE will utilise 102 turbines, each with a capacity of 7-megawatt (MW), which in total will power more than 500,000 homes every year. With the CFD milestones achieved and confirmed by the Low Carbon Contracts Company, the project will be delivered at a price of £119/MWh, a cost reduction of 20 per cent compared to other offshore wind farms that have been built in the UK.

Ignacio Galán, Chairman at Iberdrola and ScottishPower Renewables, said: “Offshore wind power is a vital component in global efforts to help to deliver the binding agreement achieved by more than 170 countries at the COP21 meeting in Paris and signed last week in New York.

“As a worldwide leader in renewable energy, we have always focused on clean technologies that are competitive enough to deliver real energy solutions. Offshore wind works. We have seen this in our highly efficient West of Duddon Sands project, and cost reductions are already benefiting the delivery of our Wikinger project being constructed in Germany.

“East Anglia ONE will raise the bar further, as technology matures and expertise in the supply chain increases. We see huge potential globally for offshore wind, and we will continue to lead the industry in driving down costs.”

The 75 metre long turbine blades are planned to be fabricated in Siemens’ new factory in Hull, and £5 million is set to be invested in Great Yarmouth Harbour, which will act as the pre-assembly port for the installation of the turbines.

The turbine agreement is the largest individual contract placed as part of the £2.5 billion project, and will help to support many of the 3,000 jobs that the project aims to create during construction.

Michael Hannibal, CEO Offshore of the Siemens Wind Power and Renewables Division, said: “Siemens is delighted to work with ScottishPower Renewables on East Anglia ONE offshore wind power plant. This also represents the largest single order ever for our direct-drive, 7-megawatt wind turbine.

“The decision to go with our innovative wind turbines underscores the contribution made by these units to reducing the costs of offshore wind power.”

ScottishPower Renewables is delivering a large cut in the cost of offshore wind power through East Anglia ONE, with a cost of electricity set at £119/MWh after a successful bid in the competitive UK Government auction. This cost reduction has been made possible by ScottishPower Renewables’ use of advanced technology, such as these larger and more efficient turbines.

ScottishPower Renewables and Siemens worked successfully on their first joint offshore project, the 389 MW West of Duddon Sands Offshore Windfarm in the Irish Sea. Construction work on ScottishPower Renewables’ second offshore windfarm, the Wikinger project in the German Baltic, is currently underway, using 5 MW ADWEN turbines.

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Energy

7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption

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Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?

Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.

New Technologies to Watch

These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:

  1. Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
  2. Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
  3. New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
  4. Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
  5. Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
  6. The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
  7. Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.

Making the Investment

All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.

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Environment

Two Ancient Japanese Philosophies Are the Future of Eco-Living

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Eco-Living
Shutterstock Photos - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

Our obsession with all things new has blighted the planet. We have a waste crisis, particularly when it comes to plastic. US scientists have calculated the total amount of plastic ever made – 8.3 billion tons! Unfortunately, only 9% of this is estimated to have been recycled. And current global trends point to there being 12 billion tons of plastic waste by 2050.

However, two ancient Japanese philosophies are providing an antidote to the excesses of modern life. By emphasizing the elimination of waste and the acceptance of the old and imperfect, the concepts of Mottainai and Wabi-Sabi have positively influenced Japanese life for centuries.

They are now making their way into the consciousness of the Western mainstream, with an increasing influence in the UK and US. By encouraging us to be frugal with our possessions, (i.e. using natural materials for interior design) these concepts can be the future of eco-living.

What is Wabi-Sabi and Mottainai??

Wabi-Sabi emphasizes an acceptance of transience and imperfection. Although Wabi had the original meaning of sad and lonely, it has come to describe those that are simple, unmaterialistic and at one with nature. The term Sabi is defined as the “the bloom of time”, and has evolved into a new meaning: taking pleasure and seeing beauty in things that are old and faded. 

Any flaws in objects, like cracks or marks, are cherished because they illustrate the passage of time. Wear and tear is seen as a representation of their loving use. This makes it intrinsically linked to Wabi, due to its emphasis on simplicity and rejection of materialism.

In the West, Wabi-Sabi has infiltrated many elements of daily life, from cuisine to interior design. Specialist Japanese homeware companies, like Sansho, source handmade products that embody the Wabi-Sabi philosophy. Their products, largely made from natural materials, are handcrafted by traditional Japanese artisans – meaning no two pieces are the same and no two pieces are “perfect” in size or shape.

Mottainai

Mottainai is a term expressing a feeling of regret concerning waste, translating roughly in English to either “what a waste!” or “Don’t waste!”. The philosophy emphasizes the intrinsic value of a resource or object, and is linked to hinto animism, the notion that all objects have a spirit, or ‘kami’. The idea that we are part of nature is a key part of Japanese psychology.

Mottainai also has origins in Buddhist philosophy. The Buddhist monastic tradition emphasizes a life of frugality, to allow us to concentrate on attaining enlightenment. It is from this move towards frugality that a link to Mottainai as a concept of waste can be made.

How have Wabi-Sabi and Mottainai promoted eco living?

Wabi-Sabi is still a prominent feature of Japanese life today, and has remained instrumental in the way people design their homes. The ideas of imperfection and frugality are hugely influential.

For example, instead of buying a brand-new kitchen table, many Japanese people instead retain a table that has been passed through the generations. Although its long use can be seen by various marks and scratches, Wabi-Sabi has taught people that they should value it because of its imperfect nature. Those scratches and marks are a story and signify the passage of time. This is a far cry from what we typically associate with the Western World.

Like Wabi Sabi, Mottainai is manifested throughout Japanese life, creating a great respect for Japanese resources. This has had a major impact on home design. For example, the Japanese prefer natural materials in their homes, such as using soil and dried grass as thermal insulation.

Their influence in the UK

The UK appears to be increasingly influenced by thes two concepts. Some new reports indicate that Wabi Sabi has been labelled as ‘the trend of 2018’. For example, Japanese ofuro baths inspired the project that won the New London Architecture’s 2017 Don’t Move, Improve award. Ofuro baths are smaller than typical baths, use less water, and are usually made out of natural materials, like hinoki wood.

Many other UK properties have also been influenced by these philosophies, such as natural Kebony wood being applied to the external cladding of a Victorian property in Hampstead; or a house in Lancaster Gate using rice paper partitions as sub-dividers. These examples embody the spirit of both philosophies. They are representative of Mottainai because of their use of natural resources to discourage waste. And they’re reflective of Wabi-Sabi because they accept imperfect materials that have not been engineered or modified.

In a world that is plagued by mass over-consumption and an incessant need for novelty, the ancient concepts of Mottainai and Wabi-Sabi provide a blueprint for living a more sustainable life. They help us to reduce consumption and put less of a strain on the planet. This refreshing mindset can help us transform the way we go about our day to day lives.

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