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New figures: Scotland Rules Hydro Sector

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The UK’s hydro industry is now 100% Scottish, with new research showing ALL projects with planning permission are north of the border.

Twenty-seven schemes totalling 58.5MW – enough to power 42,000 homes – have planning consent, from Stirlingshire to Sutherland.

Research by Scottish Renewables ahead of the industry body’s Hydro Conference and Exhibition in Perth on May 18 shows 14 schemes (26.8MW) are under construction in the UK – all in Scotland.

They include one 1.5MW project at the iconic Falls of Bruar in Perthshire, and another on the West Highland Way near Loch Lomond.

No projects in England, Wales or Northern Ireland currently have the green light to proceed.

Cuts to support under the Feed-in Tariff last year have caused dismay in the hydro industry, which was enjoying a renaissance as organisations, many of them rural businesses, took advantage of the home-grown, green and stable power schemes provide.

Hannah Smith, Policy Officer at industry body Scottish Renewables, said: “Scotland’s terrain and rainfall mean the country is ideal for the development of hydroelectricity, but the rest of the UK has historically invested in this technology too.

“These figures show that a huge cut to support in the UK Government’s Feed-in Tariff review in December (2015) has already caused a contraction in the number of schemes being developed and, it seems, a geographical withdrawal to hydro’s traditional heartland.

“Hydropower provides green electricity with very low environmental impacts. Properly-maintained turbines can produce power for more than 80 years, and hydro enjoys huge public support, so it was particularly galling to see cuts of 37% imposed on the sector last year.

“Developers are now looking to innovation to make projects financially viable, which is just one of the topics we’ll be discussing at our conference in May.”

Scottish Renewables’ Hydro Conference and Exhibition, to be held at Perth Concert Hall, will look at alternative sources of finance and how communities can be better-engaged in novel financing alternatives; the future of hydro across Scotland; improving construction techniques to reduce cost and pumped storage and hydro’s role in the energy system.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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