offshore1Government statistics (1) yesterday showed that renewable electricity provided a record percentage of supply in the last quarter of 2014, reaching 22%. Onshore and offshore wind combined provided the biggest share of renewable electricity, at just under 12% of the total electricity generated.

The statistics also confirmed that renewable electricity provided a record percentage of power in 2014, at 19.2%. Onshore and offshore wind made up nearly 50% of this total, with both seeing increases in the amount of power generated compared to 2013. The amount of onshore wind generated increased by 7.9% in 2014, and the amount of offshore wind was up 16.1%.

Official data from the U.K. government has confirmed that renewable energy contributed more to the grid than nuclear power for the first time ever in 2014 and solar grew 93% in 2014 (2)

RenewableUK Deputy Chief Executive Maf Smith commented: “It’s wonderful to see renewable electricity reach another record of 22% of electricity generated and to see wind providing the lion’s share of that. Communities up and down the country benefit from wind power via the 34500 people employed in the sector, and local benefits and contracts, and these statistics show it’s doing its primary job of providing clean homegrown power and weaning us off fossil fuel imports.
Onshore and offshore wind is a UK success story, and as the General Election approaches, politicians should recognise its value, and support it fully”.

  1. The full Energy Trends statistics are available from https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/energy-trends
  2. See also PV Magazine

For the renewable energy sector, the most significant part of today’s Budget speech was the announcement by the Chancellor George Osborne that the Government is opening talks with Tidal Lagoon Power on providing financial support for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project.

RenewableUK’s Wave and Tidal Development Manager Dee Nunn said: “This is a significant step forward towards building the first tidal lagoon of its kind in the world. This pioneering project would ensure that Wales and the UK stay at the forefront of marine energy, providing clean electricity for 120 years and creating 2,000 jobs in the construction phase alone.

“By enabling this project to go ahead, the Government will also unlock the potential for other, larger tidal lagoons to be developed. Swansea Bay will generate the confidence needed to attract investors into those future schemes in the UK. So a negotiated strike price is needed for this first project as it’s the trailblazer which will generate momentum to kick-start the full commercialisation of this part of the marine energy sector.

“As the funding will come from the Levy Control Framework, which is a finite pot, the Government should ensure that other renewable technologies such as wind, wave and tidal stream are also allocated sufficient financial support, through an application process appropriate to their stage of development, to continue to develop to their full potential”.

  1. RenewableUK is the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries. Formed in 1978, and with more than 500 corporate members, RenewableUK is the leading renewable energy trade association in the UK.
  2. Tidal power is an extremely predictable form of renewable energy generation. Tidal lagoon technology traps water at high tide in vast specially-constructed pools and releases it through turbines to generate low-carbon electricity. Water also passes through turbines as the tide comes in generating more electricity. The artificial lakes can be used for leisure activities such as boating, creating a tourist attraction.
  3. The Planning Inspectorate announced in March 2014 that it has accepted for consideration an application by Tidal Lagoon Power to build the first project in the world of this type in Swansea Bay. If approved, work would commence on the site this year, with first power being generated in 2018.
  4. The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project has the potential to power 155,000 UK homes, saving 236,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.
  5. South Wales is set to gain significant economic benefits by this initiative going ahead. Many local companies will be well placed to fulfill contracts in the construction and operation of the project worth at least £300 million. Permanent jobs will be created not only in the operation and maintenance of the lagoon, but also in the recreation facilities it creates – such as opportunities for boating and water sports.
  6. More on Tidal Lagoon Power can be found here: http://www.tidallagoonswanseabay.com

DSCF1083_editedAt their planning meeting on Tuesday evening Kettering Borough Council gave the green light to the revised plans for Burton Wold Wind Farm South, approving the plans in a unanimous vote of 8-0. Infinergy is delighted with this result and will now move forward with securing finance for the project, discharging planning conditions and other preparations for construction.

The revised plans comprise a reduction from the originally consented five wind turbines to three, increasing the tip height from 100m to 136.5m. This increases the expected annual power output by approximately 20%, making most of the available wind resource at the site.

There is a community benefit fund associated with the project of up to £42,750 per year for the life of the project. Infinergy will be liaising with Burton Latimer Town Council and Kettering Borough Council on how this fund can be put to best use for the local community. Infinergy aims to have the project operational by the end of 2016 / early 2017.