ScottishPower Renewables (SPR), one of the UK’s leading developers in wind power energy, has now donated over £15 million of funding to assist local communities in the areas where it operates.
The funding, which is generated by SPR’s operational windfarm sites, is distributed locally via local councils, community councils and dedicated wind farm trusts set up to empower communities to decide how this money is spent to best serve the needs of their local area.
SPR has projects in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with many located in rural areas where funding for community projects is typically less widely available. The community benefit funds provided by SPR wind farms support a wide range of schemes and organisations across the UK: from local construction projects and education schemes to community services and local events.
Keith Anderson, Chief Executive of ScottishPower Renewables, said: “As a responsible developer of renewable energy, ScottishPower Renewables strives to be a good neighbour in all aspects of its work. The funds generated by our windfarms are an invaluable resource for local communities and it is fantastic to have reached the £15m milestone. We are proud to be able to offer our support, particularly in areas where funding for community projects is often hard to come by.
“Onshore wind power is a vital part of the UK’s future energy provision and we are delighted to work with local groups to see wider community benefits being delivered alongside low carbon electricity.”
One of the most recent communities to have benefited from SPR’s community benefit fund programme is Barrhill, a small village in South Ayrshire, which was able to access over £220,000 to establish a new fully equipped community park.
The funding, which was allocated by the Barrhill Community Interest Company, paid for the purchase of the land and all construction and planning costs for the project. The park was designed by HAGS SMP Playgrounds, one of Europe’s leading designers of children’s play parks, and the design was selected at an open day attended by 40 local people.
The new Arnsheen Community Park features an open air stage, various items of play equipment, a games arena and an outdoor classroom which are already being used by Barrhill Primary School. Following a successful opening in July, it is hoped the area will quickly become a community hub for local families.
A further £150,000 of SPR community benefit funding was used for the construction of a much needed car park in Barrhill.
Philip Porter, Chairperson of the Barrhill Community Interest Company, said: “We are extremely proud to have the new Arnsheen Community Park open after months of planning. It’s a brilliant design and I’m sure families in the area will love it. This is a truly community-led project made possible with funding from ScottishPower Renewables.”
SPR community benefit funds raised by its wind farm sites are also being used to fund education programmes for local people. In Argyll and Bute, local communities are benefiting from a new Education and Skills Development role, a post which is being funded by community benefit money associated with SPR’s Beinn an Tuirc wind farm and delivered by the Argyll Lomond and Islands Energy Agency (ALIEnergy).
The commitment of more than £100,000 made by SPR over three years will support the role which will work with school pupils and community groups across Argyll and Bute to generate interest and promote careers in the renewables sector and focus on broadening and strengthening the skills base locally as well as promoting employability skills and preparing school leavers for local opportunities.
Kirsty Jackson-Stark, Education and Skills Development, ALIenergy, said: “I am excited about this new role as it provides the opportunity to work in partnership with key local agencies to inspire young people and the community about renewable energy. It also delivers and facilitates opportunities for young people and the local community to obtain skills enabling them to take up employment opportunities within the renewables sector.”
7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption
Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.
This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?
Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.
New Technologies to Watch
These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:
- Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
- Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
- New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
- Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
- Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
- The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
- Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.
Making the Investment
All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.
Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis
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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