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Scottish Green Energy Awards: Science Centre Is Star Of The Show

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Scottish Green Energy Awards: Science Centre Is Star Of The Show

Glasgow exhibit named ‘Champion of Renewables’ for explaining energy system to 320,000 visitors.

Aberdeen hydro scheme bags two awards | Tidal energy array also honoured

A Glasgow Science Centre exhibition which explains how the energy system works has bagged a top award from Scotland’s renewable energy industry.


Powering the Future – which opened a year ago (Dec 2015) and has been visited by more than 320,000 people to date – joins North Ayrshire Council, an Inverness plumber and ScottishPower Energy Networks in winning awards at the event.

The Scottish Green Energy Awards were held in front of more than 1,200 guests tonight (Dec 1) in Edinburgh.

Judges handed the Champion of Renewables Award to the Science Centre exhibit for tackling “one of the great opportunities and challenges that the renewables industry faces” – setting out how we will use energy in future.

An Aberdeen hydropower project funded and organised by a community group took home two awards, while a skills initiative from the Scottish Government and the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation were also celebrated.


Once again the winners of the Scottish Green Energy Awards show the huge amount of creativity and determination

Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “Once again the winners of the Scottish Green Energy Awards show the huge amount of creativity and determination within our sector.

“Each and every one is playing their part in the massive transformation that is underway in Scotland’s energy sector and wider economy.

“Since Scottish Renewables was founded 20 years ago our industry has evolved from being little known or understood to becoming the largest generator of electricity in the country.

“We have made great strides in research, innovation and deployment, and tonight the diversity and excitement of Scotland’s renewables sector is reflected in the winners of the 2016 Green Energy Awards.”

Keith Brown MSP, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, addressed the audience ahead of the award ceremony.

Commenting afterwards, he said: “Scotland is already a world leader in renewable energy, with more than 55% of gross electricity consumption coming from renewable sources.

“It is essential that we continue this progress and I would like to congratulate the Green Energy Award winners for the ingenuity and determination they have shown in developing new products and approaches.

“Innovation of the kind showcased tonight is integral to our ambitions to decarbonise our energy system and as we prepare to publish our draft Energy Strategy – which will articulate our long term vision for energy in Scotland to 2050 – it is heartening to see such a strong field of winners.”

Matthieu Hue, CEO EDF Energy Renewables – the Awards’ headline sponsor – said: “It has been another great evening of celebration and many congratulations to all the awards winners.

“The high level of passion and determination in the renewables industry is inspiring to see.

“What has been achieved here in Scotland so far has to be admired. I am certain there will be many more exciting developments in the future.”

The full list of winners is:

BEST COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AWARD, sponsored by Vattenfall
The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult – Levenmouth demonstration offshore wind turbine

BEST COMMUNITY PROJECT AWARD, sponsored by SSE:
Aberdeen Community Energy – Donside Hydro

BEST INNOVATION AWARD, sponsored by Red Rock Power Limited
SP Energy Networks – Dynamic Cable Rating system

BEST PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AWARD, sponsored by McMillan Consultancy
Highland Eco-Design

BUSINESS GROWTH AWARD, sponsored by AREG
ENERCON UK

CHAMPION OF RENEWABLES AWARD, sponsored by RenewableUK
Glasgow Science Centre – Powering the Future exhibition

CONTRIBUTION TO SKILLS AWARD, sponsored by Senvion
Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and Skills Development Scotland

ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE AWARD, sponsored by Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult
Ecosse Subsea Systems – SCAR Seabed System

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AWARD, sponsored by ABB
The University of St Andrews and Vital Energi – Guardbridge Biomass Energy Centre & District Heating Network

SUSTAINABLE SCOTLAND AWARD, sponsored by SmartestEnergy
North Ayrshire Council biomass heat, solar and car share programme in partnership with HWEnergy, Emtec Energy and Enterprise CarShare

RISING STAR AWARD, sponsored by EICC
Lachlan McInnes, McInnes Group

JUDGES AWARD, sponsored by MacArthur Green
Nova Innovation – Shetland Tidal Array

JUDGES AWARD, sponsored by MacArthur Green
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks and SP Energy Networks – Beauly to Denny Transmission Line

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION AWARD, sponsored by Highlands & Islands Enterprise
Calum Davidson, Highlands & Islands Enterprise

Energy

Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?

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The revolution in the energy sector marches on, wind turbines and solar panels are harnessing more renewable energy than ever before – so where is it all leading?

The UK government have recently announced plans to modernise the way we produce, store and use electricity. And, if realised, the plans could be just the thing to bring the energy sector in line with 21st century technology and ideologies.


Central to the plans is an initiative that will see smart meters installed in homes and businesses the length and breadth of the country – and their aim? To create an environment where electricity can be managed more efficiently.

The news has prompted some speculation about how energy suppliers will react and many are predicting a price war. This could benefit consumers of electricity and investors, many of whom may be looking to make a profit by trading energy company shares online using platforms such as Oanda – but the potential for good news doesn’t end there.

Introducing New Technology

The plan, titled Smart Systems and Flexibility is being rolled out in the hope that it will have a positive impact in three core areas.

  • To offer consumers greater control by making smart meters available for all homes and businesses by 2020. Energy users will be able to monitor, control and record the amount of energy they use.
  • Incentivise energy suppliers to change the manner in which they buy electricity, to offer more smart tariffs and more off-peak periods for energy consumption.
  • Introduce new standards for electrical appliances – it is hoped that the new wave of appliances will recognise when electricity is at its cheapest and at its most expensive and respond accordingly.

How the Plans Will Affect Solar Energy

Around 7 million houses in the UK have solar panels and the government say that their plan will benefit them as they will be able to store electricity on batteries. The stored energy can then be used by the household and excess energy can be exported to the national grid – in this instance lower tariffs or even payment for the excess energy will bring down annual costs significantly.


The rate of return on energy exported to the national grid is currently between 6% and 10%, but there are many variables to take into account, such as, the cost of battery storage and light levels. Still, those with state-of-the-art solar electricity systems could end up with an annual profit after selling their excess energy.

The Internet of Things

Much of what the plans set out to achieve are linked to the now ubiquitous “internet of things” – where, for example, appliances and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to make them function more smartly.

Companies like Hive have already made great inroads into this type of technology, but the road that the government plans are heading down, will, potentially, go much further -blockchain technology looms and has already proved to be a game changer in the world of currency.

Blockchain Technology

It has already been suggested that the peer to peer selling of energy and exporting it to the national grid may eventually be done using blockchain technology.

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (2016)

The upshot of the government’s plans for the revolution of the energy sector, is that technology will play an indelible role in making it more efficient, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable.

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Energy

4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy

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Demand for solar energy is growing at a surprising rate. New figures from SolarPower Europe show that solar energy production has risen 50% since the summer of 2016.

However, many people are still skeptical of the benefits of solar energy.Does it actually make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint? Is it actually cost-effective for the company over the long-run?


A number of case studies have been conducted, which indicate solar energy can be enormously beneficial. Here are some of the most compelling studies on the subject.

1.     Boulder Nissan

When you think of companies that leverage solar power, car dealerships probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind. However, Boulder Nissan is highly committed to promoting green energy. They worked with Independent Power Systems to setup a number of solar cells. Here were the results:

  • Boulder Nissan has reduced coal generated electricity by 65%.
  • They are on track to run on 100% renewable energy within the next 13 years.
  • Boulder Nissan reduced CO2 emissions by 416,000 lbs. within the first year after installing their solar panels.

This is one of the most impressive solar energy case studies a small business has published in recent years. It shows that even small companies in rural communities can make a major difference by adapting solar energy.

2.     Valley Electric Association

In 2015, the Valley Electric Association (VEA) created an 80-acre solar garden. Before retiring from the legislature, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised the new project as a way to make the state more energy dependent and reduce our carbon footprint.


“This facility will provide its customers with the opportunity to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy produced in Nevada,” Reid told reporters with the Pahrump Valley Times. “That’s a step forward for the Silver State, but it also proves that utilities can work with customers to provide clean renewable energy that they demand.”

The solar energy that VEA produced was drastically higher than anyone would have predicted. SolarWorld estimates that the solar garden created 32,680,000 kwh every year, which was enough to power nearly 4,000 homes.

This was a major undertaking for a purple state, which may inspire their peers throughout the Midwest to develop solar gardens of their own. It will reduce dependency on the electric grid, which is a problem for many remote states in the central part of the country.

3.     Las Vegas Casinos

A number of Las Vegas casinos have started investing in solar panels over the last couple of years. The Guardian reports that many of these casinos have cut costs considerably. Some of them are even selling the energy back to the grid.

“It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts told Guardian reporters. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”

There have been many benefits for casinos using solar energy. They are some of the most energy-intensive institutions in the world, so this has helped them become much more cost-effective. It also helps minimize disruptions to their customers learning online keno strategies in the event of any problems with the electric grid.

4.     Boston College

Boston College has been committed to many green initiatives over the years. A group of researchers experimented with solar cells on different parts of the campus to see where they could produce the most electricity. They discovered that the best locationwas at St. Clement’sHall. The solar cells there dramatically. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 521,702 lbs. a year and be enough to save 10,869 trees.

Boston College is exploring new ways to expand their usage of solar cells. They may be able to invest in more effective solar panels that can generate far more solar energy.

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