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Work Begins on UK’s First Offshore Wind Tower Facility

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NDT trainees Credit Raymond Hosie

A ceremony attended by Scotland’s Energy Minister marks the commencement of work in Argyll on the UK’s first offshore wind tower factory.

CS Wind UK’s base in Campbeltown, which employs 175 people, is set for a £27 million investment after its acquisition by South Korean manufacturer CS Wind Corporation in April (2016).

It is expected that the investment will create 160 new jobs at the factory.

Scottish Government Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP will join CS Wind Corporation Chairman Seong-Gon Gim and Charles Hay, UK Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, at a ground breaking ceremony on 7th July 2016.

CS Wind has factories in China, Vietnam and Canada, and has already manufactured more than 6,000 towers worldwide. The investment will increase production volume at the existing onshore wind tower factory and allow for the fabrication of larger diameter towers for the offshore wind sector.

Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, said:

“The £27 million investment undertaken by CS Wind UK, which will increase production capacity at the Campbeltown plant, highlights the importance of both the onshore and offshore wind sectors to the Scottish economy.

“I warmly welcome this important collaboration, which will help to deliver on our aim for Scottish engineering and the wider renewables supply chain to capture a far greater share of the economic value arising from the construction phase of wind energy projects.

“on 6th July 2016, Vattenfall announced the signing of an MoU with CS Wind UK and Vattenfall, working together on a number of onshore and offshore wind projects in the future. Today’s further announcement that CS Wind will be signing a MoU with Siemens to produce up to 200 offshore towers between 2017 and 2019 is also very welcome news, and is a further endorsement of CS Wind’s investment in the Machrihanish facility, which will secure local jobs within the community in Kintyre.

“The announcement also reinforces our view that offshore wind energy represents not only a vital energy resource, and Scotland is a highly competitive location for projects, but also that the supply chain for the technology presents a huge economic opportunity for both Scotland and the UK.”

UK Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom said: “We are building a strong, competitive UK supply chain to support our world leading offshore wind industry. Businesses now have greater certainty than ever before thanks to government’s £730m of support for renewables.

“CS Wind is a great example of how this newfound certainty can drive local jobs and growth through the UK supply chain.”

Mr Young-Jae Ryu , Managing Director, CS Wind UK, said: “This event and the signing of these agreements marks the start of significant investment in the factory, which will ensure high-quality, cost competitive towers for both on and offshore wind projects being built in the UK.

“CS Wind UK’s investment is a strong signal that UK manufacturers and suppliers have an important part to play in the development of offshore windfarm projects, securing jobs and a long-term future for the local economies.”

Douglas Cowan, director of strengthening communities at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said:

We are delighted to welcome CS Wind UK to Machrihanish, which is now firmly on the UK renewables map.

“We very much welcome the plans for such major investment in this rural location and relish the prospect of continuing to work with the company, and exploring opportunities to support its growth plans.”

Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of industry body Scottish Renewables, said: “The growth of offshore wind is a huge economic opportunity for businesses across the UK and it is great to see CS Wind gearing up to bid for contracts on future developments.

“The factory is a major employer in Argyll and Bute, and an important part of Scotland’s renewable energy sector. This announcement comes hot on the heels of contract wins for businesses in Wick, Nigg and Fife, all of which reinforces the economic and social benefits of investment in renewable energy.”

On the eve of the ground breaking ceremony, CS Wind UK and Vattenfall, the Swedish state-owned wind farm developer, will sign a Memorandum of Understanding committing both companies to co-operation over potential future contract and supply opportunities for Vattenfall’s UK development pipeline.

Wind tower manufacturing giant Siemens will also give the new facility vote of confidence by signing an agreement at the event that will see CS Wind awarded preferred supplier status for multiple Siemens offshore tower projects.

Energy

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

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Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/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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Energy

What Should We Make of The Clean Growth Strategy?

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Clean Growth Strategy for green energy
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By sdecoret | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/sdecoret

It was hardly surprising the Clean Growth Strategy (CGS) was much anticipated by industry and environmentalists. After all, its publication was pushed back a couple of times. But with the document now in the public domain, and the Government having run a consultation on its content, what ultimately should we make of what’s perhaps one of the most important publications to come out of the Department for Business, Energy and the Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the past 12 months?

The starting point, inevitably, is to decide what the document is and isn’t. It is, certainly, a lengthy and considered direction-setter – not just for the Government, but for business and industry, and indeed for consumers. While much of the content was favourably received in terms of highlighting ways to ensure clean growth, critics – not unjustifiably – suggested it was long on pages but short on detailed and finite policy commitments, accompanied by clear timeframes for action.

A Strategy, Instead of a Plan

But should we really be surprised? The answer, in all honesty, is probably not really. BEIS ministers had made no secret of the fact they would be publishing a ‘strategy’ as opposed to a ‘plan,’ and that gave every indication the CGS would set a direction of travel and be largely aspirational. The Government had consulted on its content, and will likely respond to the consultation during the course of 2018. And that’s when we might see more defined policy commitments and timeframes from action.

The second criticism one might level at the CGS is that indicated the use of ‘flexibilities’ to achieve targets set in the carbon budgets – essentially using past results to offset more recent failings to keep pace with emissions targets. Claire Perry has since appeared in front of the BEIS Select Committee and insisted she would be personally disappointed if the UK used flexibilities to fill the shortfall in meeting the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, but this is difficult ground for the Government. The Committee on Climate Change was critical of the proposed use of efficiencies, which would somewhat undermine ministers’ good intentions and commitment to clean growth – particularly set against November’s Budget, in which the Chancellor maintained the current carbon price floor (potentially giving a reprieve to coal) and introduced tax changes favourable to North Sea oil producers.

A 12 Month Green Energy Initiative with Real Teeth

But, there is much to appreciate and commend about the CGS. It fits into a 12-month narrative for BEIS ministers, in which they have clearly shown a commitment to clean growth, improving energy efficiency and cutting carbon emissions. Those 12 months have seen the launch of the Industrial Strategy – firstly in Green Paper form, which led to the launch of the Faraday Challenge, and then a White Paper in which clean growth was considered a ‘grand challenge’ for government. Throughout these publications – and indeed again with the CGS – the Government has shown itself to be an advocate of smart systems and demand response, including the development of battery technology.

Electrical Storage Development at Center of Broader Green Energy Push

While the Faraday Challenge is primarily focused on the development of batteries to support the proliferation of electric vehicles (which will support cuts to carbon emissions), it will also drive down technology costs, supporting the deployment of small and utility-scale storage that will fully harness the capability of renewables. Solar and wind made record contributions to UK electricity generation in 2017, and the development of storage capacity will help both reduce consumer costs and support decarbonisation.

The other thing the CGS showed us it that the Government is happy to be a disrupter in the energy market. The headline from the publication was the plans for legislation to empower Ofgem to cap the costs of Standard Variable Tariffs. This had been an aspiration of ministers for months, and there’s little doubt that driving down costs for consumers will be a trend within BEIS policy throughout 2018.

But the Government also seems happy to support disruption in the renewables market, as evidenced by the commitment (in the CGS) to more than half a billion pounds of investment in Pot 2 of Contracts for Difference (CfDs) – where the focus will be on emerging rather than established technologies.

This inevitably prompted ire from some within the industry, particularly proponents of solar, which is making an increasing contribution to the UK’s energy mix. But, again, we shouldn’t really be surprised. Since the subsidy cuts of 2015, ministers have given no indication or cause to think there will be public money afforded to solar development. Including solar within the CfD auction would have been a seismic shift in policy. And while ministers’ insistence in subsidy-free solar as the way forward has been shown to be based on a single project, we should expect that as costs continue to be driven down and solar makes record contributions to electricity generation, investment will follow – and there will ultimately be more subsidy-free solar farms, albeit perhaps not in 2018.

Meanwhile, by promoting emerging technologies like remote island wind, the Government appears to be favouring diversification and that it has a range of resources available to meet consumer demand. Perhaps more prescient than the decision to exclude established renewables from the CfD auction is the subsequent confirmation in the budget that Pot 2 of CfDs will be the last commitment of public money to renewable energy before 2025.

In short, we should view the CGS as a step in the right direction, albeit one the Government should be elaborating on in its consultation response. Its publication, coupled with the advancement this year of the Industrial Strategy indicates ministers are committed to the clean growth agenda. The question is now how the aspirations set out in the CGS – including the development of demand response capacity for the grid, and improving the energy efficiency of commercial and residential premises – will be realised.

It’s a step in the right direction. But, inevitably, there’s much more work to do.

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