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Nominees Announced Ahead Of Scottish Green Energy Awards



Scottish Green Energy Awards, EICC, Edinburgh, 3rd December 2015

Almost 50 finalists for the 2016 Scottish Green Energy Awards have been announced – including Glasgow Science Centre and an unprecedented three community hydropower projects.

Companies including SgurrEnergy, Savills and Diageo are also shortlisted for the prestigious awards, which will be hosted by comedian Miles Jupp and presented in front of 1,000 guests in Edinburgh on December 1.

Glasgow Science Centre’s Powering the Future exhibition which highlighted the role renewables can play in our energy mix, is a finalist in the Champion of Renewables category.

Three hydro projects developed by communities in the Cairngorms, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Parks and near the centre of Aberdeen are also shortlisted.

Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, told how the awards “represent the huge variety of the sector”.

He said: “Once again the Scottish Green Energy Awards shortlist shines a light on the most innovative, forward-thinking and sustainable projects, organisations and individuals in our industry.

“There have been some important projects delivered over the last 12 months and the shortlist shows clearly how our sector is helping grow the economy, tackle climate change and support communities across the country.”

The Glasgow-based Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s 7MW Levenmouth demonstration offshore wind turbine is a finalist in the Best Community Engagement category, while employee Peter Greaves is shortlisted for the Rising Star Award.

The Scottish Green Energy Awards ceremony will be held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on Thursday December 1, and is sponsored by EDF Energy Renewables.

CEO Matthieu Hue said:

The shortlist for the Scottish Green Energy Awards is really impressive once again, and it is clear we have very high calibre finalists for 2016.

“It is great to see the renewables industry is home to so many passionate and talented people. We are very proud to once again support the Scottish Green Energy Awards, and are looking forward to finding out who the winners are in December.”

The full list of finalists is:

Burcote Wind and ERG Renew – Sandy Knowe Wind Farm
Lochgoil Energy and Broadland Renewable Construction – Donich Water Hydro
Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult – Levenmouth demonstration offshore wind turbine
Stewart Energy – Lesmahagow community wind project

Aberdeen Community Energy – Donside Hydro
Balgair Castle Caravan Park biomass district heating scheme
Braemar Community Hydro – Corriemulzie hydro scheme
The City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative and Energy4All – Edinburgh solar PV

BEST INNOVATION AWARD, sponsored by Red Rock Power Limited
Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation – Low Carbon Innovation project
SgurrEnergy – SgurrOptimiser
SP Energy Networks – Dynamic Cable Rating system
SP Energy Networks – Visualisation of Real-Time System Dynamics using Enhanced Monitoring (VISOR)

Campbell & Kennedy
Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation
Highland Eco-Design

Energised Environments

Absolute Solar and Wind – The Hub, Benbecula
Barbara Whiting, Invest in Fife
Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation
Glasgow Science Centre – Powering the Future exhibition

2050 Climate Group
University of Strathclyde Engineering Academy
Alasdair Clapperton, ScottishPower Renewables
Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and Skills Development Scotland

ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE AWARD, sponsored by Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult
Ecosse Subsea Systems – SCAR Seabed System
Nova Innovation – Shetland Tidal Array
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks and SP Energy Networks – Beauly to Denny Transmission Line
SP Energy Networks – High-Temperature Low-Sag conductor system

Diageo – Glendullan Distillery anaerobic digestion and water treatment
ScottishPower Renewables – peatland restoration
The University of St Andrews and Vital Energi – Guardbridge Biomass Energy Centre
Wave Energy Scotland

SUSTAINABLE SCOTLAND AWARD, sponsored by SmartestEnergy
Glenskinno Biofuels by Absolute Solar and Wind and Glenskinno Farm
Craigdon Mountain Sports, Pentland Outdoor Centre, by AES Solar and Solar Kingdom
North Ayrshire Council biomass heat programme by HWEnergy
Glenuig Inn

Dr Adrian de Andres, University of Edinburgh
Tony Gannon, ScottishPower Renewables
Lisa MacKenzie, EMEC
Rosie Scurr, Mainstream Renewable Power
David Hogg, Bright Green Hydrogen
John Allsopp, Arcus Consulting
Lachlan McInnes, McInnes Plumbing and Heating and McInnes Renewables
Brian Farrell, Natural Power
Peter Greaves, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult


Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?



sustainable wood burning ideas

Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees



As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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