arguments againstThe UK renewable energy industry is looking forward to working with Government to shape the policies that will deliver the UK’s share of the EU’s new greenhouse gas target of “at least 40%”, agreed at European Council last night.

Action for Renewables, a campaign supported by seven UK green energy trade bodies, is pleased that the UK has fought hard for ambitious greenhouse gas targets in a difficult political environment, and that the UK has made progressive proposals for much-needed reform of the EU’s faltering Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

However, it is disappointing that the pan-EU renewable energy target of “at least 27%” will provide a weaker incentive for renewables than the current Member State level 2020 targets.

Almost all of renewable technologies – across electricity, heat and transport – could be delivering cheaper energy than any other form of low carbon generation by 2030. Several could also become the cheapest forms of energy available and no longer require subsidy, as both renewable and fossil energy sources currently do.

To achieve these cost reductions and invest in the development of skills and supply chains, industry needs clarity on the way forwards.

Specifically, we urge the Government to spell out a clear vision for the role it sees renewable energy playing in the 2030 energy mix and the measures needed to achieve this. Additionally, the Government should continue pushing for radical reform of the EU ETS to provide an effective carbon price that puts renewables on a level playing field with fossil fuels.

Tony Juniper, Chair of Action for Renewables, said:

“Now we have the EU 2030 framework in place it’s time to work on delivery. Renewables are the only generation technologies that meet all of the goals we must pursue in parallel. They are genuinely low carbon, improve our energy security and long term bring down costs. Renewables also create jobs and enable ordinary people to invest in energy production. 

“The UK is doing good work on pushing forward much-needed reforms to the EU ETS But we now need to build on this good work and unlock the full potential of renewables for transforming our energy system in the 2020s.”

Action for Renewables recommended a 30% 2030 renewable energy target for the UK and reform of the EU ETS as two of its six ‘key tests’ for the next government:

Support the Climate Change Act to keep us on course to meet our carbon commitments and back global efforts to tackle climate change.

Set a new renewables target for 2030 of 30% of UK energy

Back the Independent Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation to set a binding target for low carbon electricity by 2030.

Fund the Renewable Heat Incentive for new applications after 2016.

Boost the UK’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation to reach the 10% renewable energy target for transport by 2020.

Reform the EU Emissions Trading Scheme to ensure the market takes account of all sectors’ polluting cost of carbon emissions.


1. Action for Renewables was set up in 2011 under the Chairmanship of Tony Juniper to campaign for all forms of renewable energy.

Earlier this year ADBA (Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association), BHA (British Hydropower Association), British Photovoltaic Association, the Renewable Energy Association, RenewableUK, Scottish Renewables and the Solar Trade Association supported a joint renewables manifesto promoted by it. Action for Renewables: ‘Renewables industry unifies around key tests for next Government,’ 7 September 2014. Available at: action4renewables.co/uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/renewables-pr.pdf. One of the six key tests that the grouping put forward for the next Government was to see the greenhouse gas costs of heating and transport accounted for within the EU ETS which currently only covers electricity generation.

2. The Council Conclusions on the agreement can be read here http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/145356.pdf

3. Earlier this week the Government outlined its proposals for introducing a Market Stability Reserve to the EU ETS, which will help reduce the surplus of carbon allowances that are depressing the carbon price and impeding its ability to incentivise investment in clean energy. For more information, see DECC: ‘EU Carbon Market Reform needed to improve efficiency,’ 20 October 2014. Available at: www.gov.uk/government/news/eu-carbon-market-reform-needed-to-improve-efficiency


VARIOUSOnshore wind is cheaper than coal, gas or nuclear energy when the costs of ‘external’ factors like air quality, human toxicity and climate change are taken into account, according to an EU analysis.

The report says that for every megawatt hour (MW/h) of electricity generated, onshore wind costs roughly €105 (£83) per MW/h, compared to gas and coal which can cost up to around €164 and €233 per MW/h, respectively.

Nuclear power, offshore wind and solar energy are all comparably inexpensive generators, at roughly €125 per MW/h.

“This report highlights the true cost of Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels,” said Justin Wilkes, the deputy CEO of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). “Renewables are regularly denigrated for being too expensive and a drain on the taxpayer. Not only does the commission’s report show the alarming cost of coal but it also presents onshore wind as both cheaper and more environmentally-friendly.”

The paper, which was written for the European commission by the Ecofys consultancy, suggests that the Conservative party plan of restricting new onshore windfarms will mean blocking out the cheapest source of energy when environmental and health facts are taken into consideration. It has been suggested the Tory plan could be done through a cap on onshore wind turbines’ output, lower subsidies or tighter planning restrictions.

“Any plans to change policy for onshore wind must be looked at in the context of this report,” said Oliver Joy a spokesman for EWEA. “Investors need long-term visibility. ‘Stop-start’ policies as well as harsh retroactive changes can blindside investors, driving up the risk premium and cost of capital.”

The documents’ contents may also be unwelcome in some quarters of the commission, which early today published selective results from it that did not include external health and pollution costs.

These showed that renewable energy took €38.3bn of public subsidies in 2012, compared to €22.3bn for gas, coal and nuclear. The EU did however note that if free carbon allowances to polluters were included in the data, it “would reduce the gap between support for renewables and other power generation technologies.”

The Ecofys paper’s nuanced evaluation of historical subsidies for coal and nuclear was also not mentioned in the EU press release, which renewable energy associations linked to a fossil fuel lobbying effort ahead of the report’s publication.

“Despite decades of heavy subsidies, mature coal and nuclear energy technologies are still dependent on similar levels of public support as innovative solar energy is receiving today,” Frauke Thies, the policy director for the European Photovoltaic Industry Association told the Guardian.

“The difference is that costs of solar continue to decrease rapidly. If the unaccounted external costs to society are included, the report demonstrates that support to fossil fuels and nuclear even by far exceeds that to solar.”

The EU’s energy commissioner, Gunther Oettinger, said that the report was only “a first step” to filling gaps in knowledge about the nature of energy subsidies and more reports are likely in the months ahead.

The figures for the energy sources in the report are all approximate, as the bar chart listing them is counted in units of €25 MW/h.

Last year, a row broke out in Brussels after the German newspaper Suddeutche Zeitung reported that Oettinger had tried to delete figures cited in a commission report showing that in 2011, fossil fuels took €26bn in public subsidies, compared to €35bn for nuclear power and €30bn for renewables.

Source – The Guardian newspaper

didcotStrong wind speeds over the weekend contributed significantly to the UK’s electricity supply as nuclear reactors remained offline and a large gas plant was suddenly hit by a fire.

Wind power set a new record on Sunday by providing 24% of the UK’s electricity supply for the entire day. The previous record stood at 22% of total generation in August this year.

Wind’s consistently strong performance saw it outperform nuclear power from Friday evening throughout the whole weekend and into Monday morning. This also led to a number of coal plants being taken offline as they were surplus to requirements.

Wind power set a new peak record of generating 7,998 megawatts (MW) over a half-hour period at midday on Saturday once local turbines are factored in, according to National Grid statistics. This is the equivalent of powering 17 million homes, based on average consumption in October.

A sudden drop off in gas power was caused by a fire at Didcot B power station, which has a capacity of up to 1,360MW, equivalent to the needs of a million homes. There are also four nuclear plants (nine reactors) currently offline due to unplanned outages and refuelling, which has removed 5,303MW of generating capacity from the system.

RenewableUK’s Director of External Affairs Jennifer Webber said: “This year has seen successive new records for wind generation and this latest evidence shows it’s more than capable of stepping in when traditional sources of generation go offline without warning. As we can expect more of these outages in the future, it’s reassuring to know we have wind filling the energy gap”.

Wind power is often used as a convenient whipping boy by political opponents and vested interests; all the while, it’s been quietly powering millions of homes across the UK and providing a robust response to its vocal detractors

Blue Sky WindOnshore wind power projects have contributed significantly to enhancing security of supply and efforts to meet renewable energy targets through the lowest cost route. Unfortunately, renewables have been experiencing increasingly challenging times given the weakening political push for climate change mitigation and the general slump in the economy. Onshore wind specifically is faced with a huge new problem that could completely devastate any further progress:

The Conservative Party have outlined plans, that they would end public subsidy for any additional onshore wind beyond what is already consented or under construction today should they be the sole party in power from 2015. The main reason cited is “the unpopularity of wind farms with local communities” and the view that renewable energy targets will be met with current wind energy proposals. The Secretary of State, Erick Pickles is already effectively halting most new projects by over-ruling local level planning decisions and blocking projects with previous planning consent.

We call on all UK Political leaders to consider what is at stake and to commit to enabling onshore wind to play a part in the future energy mix.

Without onshore wind being allowed to compete to be part of our future power generation fleet:

– Climate change mitigation aims will be missed

Just over 5% of energy consumption was sourced from renewables last year – we are not on track to meet the legally binding target of 15% by 2020. As the UK lags behind with the performance of transport and heat sectors this is a time when more renewable electricity should be encouraged to fill the gap rather than less. The UK boasts one of the best wind resources in Europe, we should capitalise on this free and unlimited fuel source. We want to see you listen to your independent Government advisors, the Climate Change Committee in terms of your minimum ambitions. We want us move from today’s 7GW of onshore wind, powering 6 million homes to at least of 15GW of onshore wind by 2020, rising to 25GW by 2030.

– Our bills will needlessly rise

Onshore wind is one of the cheapest forms of low carbon technology that can be rolled out quickly at scale– the policies to stop it will lead us to miss climate change mitigation targets and rely on more costly alternatives to be paid for through our bills.

– Energy security will be compromised

Much of the UK’s current generation capacity is reaching the end of its life, leaving a gap in the ability to meet electricity at all times. We have a unique opportunity to decouple ourselves from our reliance on fossil fuels. Onshore wind is freedom from imports -the UK is dependent on imports for over half our fuel. Help wean the UK off its addiction to expensive, volatile, polluting power.

– Individuals, businesses and the UK economy will suffer

There are around 19,000 people working in the onshore wind sector in the UK and thousands more across other renewable technologies. Onshore wind provides substantial economic investment in the UK and brings much needed investment to rural areas. In addition to the billions of pounds of investment, wind farm projects bring work and benefits to the locality through construction and maintenance contracts, land management and rentals, energy efficiency measures, community projects, education and habitat enhancement.

Political leaders should work to enable onshore wind to bring its benefits to the UK.

With government support onshore wind can help:
· tackle climate change
· deliver energy security
· protect and increase tens of thousands of jobs
· keep energy bills lower that they would be if we rely on using alternatives

A petition has been set up to ask David Cameron to allow onshore wind to compete on a level playing field with nuclear and fossil fuels. It says the UK needs more of the cheapest green power option, not less!  Sign here if you agree.  The polls that show 70% of the electorate are in support of onshore wind. This should not be ignored, enable well sited, cost competitive onshore wind projects to come forward and make a difference.  This petition will be sent to all UK party political leaders. Share it around to make it count!

CitiBlog Milton Keynes

Hanslope Church, St. James Church Hanslope, Aerial Views Hanslop

The Milton Keynes branch of the Green Party are hoping a hearing this evening (09/10) over the construction of a new wind turbine in Hanslope will be successful.

In the wake of 120 world leaders at the UN Climate Summit last month calling for urgent action, a local business seeking to erect a single wind energy converter has called on ‘the silent majority’ to make their voices heard.

Steve and Fiona Gifkins who run an equestrian business in Hanslope have submitted an application to Milton Keynes Council to erect a single turbine on their land.

Steve, who has submitted the turbine proposal, said: “We are proposing a single turbine that will bring tremendous community and environmental benefit. Milton Keynes Council make a lot of promises about being Green but their record in supporting wind energy is appalling.

“We would urge local residents to sign our petition and join us on the…

View original post 57 more words

wind turbineThe Milton Keynes Future City Programme and Milton Keynes: A Sustainable Future – A Low Carbon Prospectus strategies both testify a commitment to:

*A sustainable approach to housing, education, energy, water and transport*

Windpower is one of the most sustainable and exciting innovations in green technology and energy available. Wind turbines reduce carbon emissions by displacing carbon emitting fossil fuel generation from our electricity supply. Yet Milton Keynes Council has an abysmal record of supporting this environmental innovation.

A decision on a proposal for one wind energy converter, to be sited on the land of Milton Keynes Eventing Centre in Hanslope is forthcoming in October 2014.

Our petition respectfully requests that MK Council and the Planning Committee take the views of more than a small minority spreading false and inaccurate information through social media into consideration; that the Council stays true to its ecological ideals as set out in numerous Council strategies and won’t let critical decisions supporting a greener and more sustainable way of life be made by people with clear conflicts of interest.

The seven key facts of this case are:

1> This is only one wind energy converter and only ever will be one – it is NOT and never will be a windfarm. This single turbine will be capable of powering over 400 average homes through green energy and reducing the carbon footprint equivalent of 125 average homes on standard energy supplies.

2> As a single wind energy converter the research cited by the ‘No Hanslope Wind Turbine’ group against its installation are redundant as they apply to larger wind farms and not single installations.

3> The Eventing Centre plans to use the income from the wind energy converter to replace the income from 19 major year round events which currently attract competitors from all over the Country. The direct impact of this replacement of major events and income for the Centre will be to significantly reduce the carbon emissions and traffic congestion from over 2,500 horse lorries that will no longer be coming into the village to get to the Centre.

4> If the wind energy converter is approved the Eventing Centre have committed to opening more of the land up to local people for health and well being purposes through fashioning a nature reserve area specifically for local people to enjoy.

5> The owners of the Eventing Centre have committed within the proposal to a Hanslope community trust for the lifetime of the wind energy converter which would see £10,000 per annum donated to the Village Hall and £10,000 per annum donated to Hanslope Church. This annual £20,000 Hanslope community trust would benefit the entire community in a time where public funding and spending on community resources is scarce.

6> We have undertaken extensive studies including noise pollution and local wildlife impact (eg Bats) as a matter of due diligence and because we care about looking after our shared landscape and environment.

7> There is no evidence to support the claim that a single wind turbine reduces house prices.  This is simply another scaremongering tactic. Today’s generations, young and old, who care about using resources sustainably will be attracted to vibrant villages and places who have embraced the need to invest in green energy. This is borne out by the high number of young people who support our petition.

We fully respect everyone’s right to have an opinion on what happens in their home village, town or City. We also respect that some people will never support new technologies and meaningful sustainable living. It’s absolutely fine to hold opinions that differ from ours – as long as those opinions are based on the correct facts and not influenced by incorrect assumptions and false propaganda.

We love Hanslope and simply want to make sure that all sides of the debate are represented so that the Council and local people can make informed decisions with the facts.

Help us make Hanslope even Greener and lead the way in keeping our traditional values aligned with sustainable living.

Sign this to show your support.

RenewableUK says today’s news of additional funding for renewable energy projects will provide a welcome stimulus to wind, wave and tidal projects in the UK.

The announcement by the Department of Energy and Climate Change provides an extra £300m for all low-carbon technologies to be supported under the Contracts for Difference (CfD) mechanism. This is an increase of £95m from the initial budget announced in July.

Established technologies, such as onshore wind, will now compete for £65m in annual support, up from £50m, and less established technologies, including offshore wind and marine energy will share £235m, up from the initial £155m.

This increase in the less established pot means that 700-800 megawatts of clean energy will be installed under the new budget – a boost of 200MW on the previous announcement.

The increase in budget is not necessarily reflected in potential new capacity as DECC also announced a reduction in the crucial “reference price”. This is their estimate of how much electricity will cost per megawatt hour between 2015 and 2021. When this cut of about £10/MWh is taken into consideration, it wipes out much of what’s being gained with the increased funding.

RenewableUK Director of Policy Gordon Edge said, “Today’s news is a curate’s egg. Of course the extra funding is welcome as it will help us to install much-needed extra capacity – it’s always good to see DECC putting their money where their mouth when it comes to supporting clean energy. But there’s a sting in the tail. The reduction in the all-important reference price of electricity means that the extra budget doesn’t go as far, so when you weigh the good news of the extra funding against the bad news on the reference price, offshore wind developers will end up only slightly better off and onshore wind developers end up in about the same place as they were under the original budget. It just goes to show that when announcements like this are made, it’s always worth reading the small print carefully to get the full picture