The Garth Wind Limited community renewable energy company is about to switch on their wind turbine blades following support from Triodos Bank and REIF Scotland, this comes after 14 years of development.
The project, which has been set up entirely by members of the local community, will bring in a substantial income for the Island of Yell over the next 20 years. The five turbines, constructed by Enercon, each measure 45m in height, with 22m blades, will have the capacity of producing 4.5 megawatts of power when they are fully commissioned.
Overall the wind farm will displace power made by burning fossil fuels in Lerwick Power Station, and will reduce Shetland’s carbon emissions by up to 12,000 tonnes of CO2 every year.
The construction phase was completed in five weeks and turbine installation in 22 days – an extraordinarily quick time for an island based wind project.
This installation gives one of the most outer islands of the Shetlands a chance to reduce carbon emissions
Norrie Cruickshank, Relationship Manager at Triodos Bank said: “This is a fantastic community renewables project, one that we are delighted to be a part of. This installation gives one of the most outer islands of the Shetlands a chance to reduce carbon emissions, provide new jobs and opportunities to local people, and provide an added income for the community group. It’s a project which represents our values at Triodos Bank perfectly, offering both an environmental and social return.”
Caught in 14 years of development limbo, the project was finally greenlit after careful planning which included ecological considerations such as animal and bird studies, peat properties and water courses. The development also suffered stall backs after discovering poorly worded land documents dating back to 1933 which prevented the project from moving forward Following full cooperation from the community and local landowners, the issue was finally resolved many years later paving the way for the Island of Yell to get another renewables project running.
Garth Wind Limited is a fully owned subsidiary of North Yell Development Council which is a registered Scottish Charity, and is one of the oldest and successful Community Development Organisations.
“A huge amount of hard work, professionalism and dedication has been shown by the various teams in order to overcome the challenges of any construction project taking place late in the year in such an exposed location. The wind farm will bring opportunities into our community for years to come” said Andrew Nisbet, Secretary of the North Yell Development Council.
Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, said: “The Community and Local Energy sector is a key priority for the Scottish Government. Under our Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) we provide support to projects including the Garth Wind community development. This is a great example of a local community taking advantage of its own natural resource for the benefit of the whole community and that is something we very much want to encourage in our newly published, draft Scottish Energy Strategy. The development itself will provide a long-term income that will support the community and local projects for over 20 years.
“Scotland now has 595 MW of community and locally-owned renewable capacity having exceeded our 2020 target – enough to power around 300,000 homes and this is why we now aim to grow community and locally-owned projects to 1GW by 2020 – double the original target.”
The next step of the construction phase is the completion of the Grid connection works and commissioning. It’s expected that the wind turbines will be fully operational and feeding into the National Grid by March 2017.
Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?
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.
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.
4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy
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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