The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to support the construction of the Beatrice windfarm in Scotland. The £525 million loan is record breaking – it is the single largest investment for an offshore wind project the EIB has ever supported. Construction of the windfarm will begin next year.
The Beatrice windfarm is to be built 14 km off the Caithness coast, near Wick in north-east Scotland. It is the first project in Scotland to be supported by the new European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe, intended to generate EUR 315 billion of new investment across Europe.
Paul Cooley, Director of Renewables at SSE, said: “We are delighted that Beatrice has achieved financial close and we are extremely grateful for all of the support received throughout the development of the project from stakeholders such as the Scottish Government, DECC, HIE, the Highland Council, Moray Council and local communities. Contracts have already been placed with many UK based suppliers, and Siemens intend to undertake turbine blade construction from Siemen’s new manufacturing facility in Hull.
“Today’s decision reaffirms SSE’s commitment to offshore wind and we are proud to progress such a flagship project for the Scottish offshore wind industry and the UK’s skilled supply chain. It shows SSE will continue to play its part in investing in the critical energy infrastructure the country needs to power homes across the UK both today and in the future.
“Around £10 million of investment is planned at Wick Harbour to house the wind farm’s operations and maintenance facilities and improving the existing RNLI facilities. We expect a peak of around 65 jobs during construction of the Operations and Maintenance base with around 90 long-term jobs anticipated during the operational phase.”
The 86 turbine Beatrice windfarm will generate up to 588 megawatts (MW) of renewable electricity equivalent to the energy needs of more than 475 thousand homes and is expected to be fully operational in 2019.
The new wind farm will cost more than £2.7 billion and be built by Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited, a partnership formed between SSE, SDIC Power and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. Construction and operation of the Beatrice windfarm will support job creation, skills training opportunities and opportunities for local businesses in both the Moray and Highland regions of Scotland.
Jonathan Taylor, Vice President at European Investment Bank, said: “Investment in offshore wind is crucial to harnessing the full potential of Scotland’s renewable energy resources. The European Investment Bank is one of the world’s largest lenders for renewable energy and our backing for Beatrice represents the EIB’s largest ever support for offshore wind investment. We are pleased to provide £525 million to support construction of the Beatrice windfarm that will strengthen renewable energy generation in Scotland. This also represents the first Scottish scheme to be backed by the new European Fund for Strategic Investments. EIB backing for energy investment across the UK demonstrates our firm commitment to supporting ambitious energy projects that create jobs and benefit local companies.”
The Beatrice windfarm will use a new generation of Siemens 7MW Wind Turbines with 154-meter diameter rotor blades. The wind turbines, the largest generally available, will each be more than 190m high, taller than the Gherkin building in the City of London. The wind farm will be controlled and operated from a base at Wick, with access to the wind farm primarily by Crew Transfer Vessel as well as by helicopters.
Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said: “The UK is the world leader in offshore wind and this industry, backed by the UK Government and benefiting from our access to the EU single market, is a success story going from strength to strength. This project will provide home-grown clean energy boosting skills and creating jobs and financial security for working people and their families in Scotland, and across the UK.
“This is great news for the industry and I congratulate the owners SSE, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and SDIC Power on achieving this significant milestone in the development of this multi-billion pound infrastructure project.”
The £525 million 19 year long-term European Investment Bank loan will support more than £2.7 billion of overall investment. Part of the European Investment Bank loan will be guaranteed under the European Fund for Strategic Investments.
The European Fund for Strategic Investments was established last year by the European Investment Bank and the European Commission to enable increased lending crucial projects by the European Investment Bank in strategic sectors such as renewable energy, digital infrastructure, social infrastructure, transport and research and development, as well as financing for small and medium enterprises.
Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy in the Scottish Government, said: “The Beatrice Offshore Windfarm has the opportunity to deliver so much to Caithness and Scotland as a whole, in terms of employment and community benefit. Scotland’s renewables sector is stronger than ever and our early adoption of clean, green energy technology and infrastructure was the right thing to do. Renewables are now Scotland’s biggest electricity generator, and nearly half of gross electricity consumption comes from renewables. Scotland is well on course to meet its interim renewables target and is delivering a strong contribution to global climate efforts. I look forward to this project contributing to our green energy mix.”
Maroš Šefcovic, European Commission Vice-President responsible for Energy Union, said: “Thanks to the Investment Plan and the European Investment Bank, we are getting closer to reaching our COP21 goals. Already the European Fund for Strategic Investments has helped to finance sustainable, green investments across the EU worth billions of euros. Indeed more than half of the EFSI projects approved so far are in renewable energy, energy efficiency and green investment. There’s a business case – it’s time to invest.”
SSE is working closely with local businesses to create a sustainable local supply chain, advertise opportunities for local suppliers and provide opportunities for local firms to benefit from investment in Scotland’s power infrastructure.
In the last ten years the European Investment Bank has provided more than £4 billion for direct investment in Scotland, with additional investment from UK wide programmes. This has included transport, education, social housing, transport, water, energy, urban regeneration and new hospital investment across the Scotland, alongside additional investment from UK wide programmes.
The European Investment Bank is the world’s largest international public bank and is 16 per cent owned by the UK government.
Over the last decade the European Investment Bank has provided more than £10 billion for investment in energy infrastructure across the UK including renewable energy schemes, national transmission networks and regional power distribution as well as inter-connectors to Ireland, France and the Netherlands.
Lending by the EIB in the UK last year totalled £5.6 billion and supported long-term investment in 40 projects across the country. This represented the largest annual engagement since the start of EIB lending in the UK in 1973 which has supported nearly £16 billion of overall investment.
7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis
Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.
Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?”
Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.
Tip #1: Focus & Determination
Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.
Tip #2: Minimize Spending
One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!
Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal
You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.
Investing in Clean Energy
One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.
With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.
The Future of Green Biz
As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.
Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.
In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!
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