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Fifty vie for Scottish Green Energy Awards



Fifty finalists announced today are in contention for the 14th Scottish Green Energy Awards, to be held in Edinburgh on December 3. Three community hydropower projects, the Director-General of the CBI, an Orkney business with world-leading expertise in wave and tidal energy and Scotland’s biggest energy consumer are all shortlisted for the prestigious gongs.

Locals in Edinburgh, the Trossachs and on the Isle of Mull are all benefitting from hydro-electric schemes, which are in the running for the Best Community Project award.

CBI chief John Cridland’s consistent highlighting of the impact of UK Government cuts to green energy this summer sees him nominated in the Champion of Renewables category.

Leask Marine, whose work to remove a tidal energy device from the Orkney seabed then return the site to its original state was acclaimed as a world-first, is nominated as Best Supplier.

Scottish Water’s efforts to use renewable energy – doubling its green power capacity since 2013 in a bid to reduce its £45 million energy bill – see the business nominated for the Renewing Scotland award alongside a district heating scheme in Wick, an innovative rural heating project in the Borders village of Abbey St Bathans and a solar farm at Mackie’s ice cream factory.

Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, which organises the 1,000-strong awards event, said: “2015 has been an incredibly difficult year for renewable energy, with a whole series of cuts by the Westminster Government. We should however remember that our industry is producing record levels of heat and power as we seek to lead the transformation in Scotland’s energy sector.

“This year’s finalists have all played a part in our industry’s success and show the many ways in which the growth of renewable energy is benefitting communities and businesses across the country.

“I would like to thank everyone who entered the awards, and I look forward to congratulating the worthy winners on December 3.”

The full list of finalists, which can be seen online together with previous winners, is:

Best Community Project

Harlaw community hydro scheme

Callendar community hydro scheme

Beinn Ghrideag wind farm

Garmony community hydro scheme

Balgair Castle Holiday Park biomass district heating system

Best Innovation

Accelerating Renewables Connections by SP Energy Networks, Community Energy Scotland, Smarter Grid Solutions and the University of Strathclyde

Wave Energy Scotland

Bird monitoring model by Atmos Consulting

Dulas Live by Dulas Ltd and Visual Wind

Best Photography

Clyde wind farm by Dan Brown

Whitelee Wind Farm by Michael McGurk

FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility by Stuart Brown

Sunset wind turbine by Jose Vega-Lozano

Turbine blades by Eddie Boyd

Shetland turbine by Paul Riddell

Best Supplier

Green Marine (UK) Ltd

ILI (Renewable Energy) Ltd

Urban Wind Ltd

Leask Marine Ltd

Business Growth

Wind Prospect Operations

Neo Environmental

Energised Environments Ltd


Champion of Renewables

Professor Martin Tangney; Director, Biofuel Research Centre, Edinburgh Napier University and Founder, Celtic Renewables

John Cridland CBE; Director-General, Confederation of British Industry

Richard Howard; Head of Environment & Energy, Policy Exchange

Dr Heather Reid OBE

Lord Wallace of Tankerness; Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords


Energy Skills Partnership

Diane Hill, Skills Development Scotland

Falck Safety Services

National Skills Academy for Power

Engineering Excellence

Visual Wind

SP Energy Networks

Atkins and Burntisland Fabrication Ltd

Green Highland Renewables



Sgurr Energy

European Marine Energy Centre

Renewing Scotland

Scottish Water

Ignis Wick Ltd

Mackie’s of Scotland solar PV by Absolute Solar and Wind

Abbey Heat

Rising Star

Jenny Kirkpatrick, Natural Power

Irina Cortizo, Atkins

Andy Kay, ORE Catapult

Jennifer Ramsay, Local Energy Scotland

Sandy Robinson, Scene Consulting

Sustainable Development

Guide to Hydropower Construction Best Practice by Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Environment Protection

Agency and Scottish Renewables

Wick District Heating Scheme by Ignis Wick Ltd

Cameronbridge distillery bio-energy facility by Diageo


7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption



Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions |

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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Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis




Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens |

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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