Disney may have captivated audiences with their fantasy animation, SHREK, but it was Fergus Ewing MSP, Minster for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, who captured the imagination of the audience at SHREC (Scottish Highland Renewable Energy Conference) on Thursday, 26 April 2012. Taking place at the Drumossie Hotel, Inverness, the Minister announced a £23.5 million government loan scheme to assist communities and rural businesses throughout Scotland move their community energy renewable projects up to the planning stage.
The Community and Renewable Energy Loan Scheme (CARES) aims to support projects before they reach planning as this stage is considered too high risk for commercial loans.
The conference was also chosen to launch the Community Benefit Register. This is designed to help communities throughout Scotland maximise the rewards they receive from renewable energy developments.
February 2012 – the UK government Energy and Climate Change Committee issues it’s eleventh report
(extract from report)
102. The UK is clearly leading the world in the development of wave and tidal energy. Indeed, the sense of pride in the UK’s achievements in this sector was palpable throughout our inquiry, and rightly so. Marine renewables have the potential to contribute a significant amount of clean electricity to the UK system and could also bring substantial economic benefits. It should therefore be a key priority for the Government to ensure that the UK remains at the cutting edge of technology development and does not allow its lead to slip.
103. Although it is still very early days for marine renewables and it is unlikely that they will make a significant contribution to the UK’s energy mix before 2020, the potential longer-term benefits associated with developing a thriving wave and tidal industry in the UK are significant. The Government must not repeat the mistakes that allowed the UK to lose its lead in the development of wind power. An overly cautious approach to developing the sector may allow other less risk-averse countries to steal the UK’s lead.
104. The priority must now be to focus on reducing the costs of marine energy to a level that is competitive. Simplifying the plethora of different organisations that provide funding will help minimise bureaucracy for the industry and providing greater certainty about policy plans beyond 2017 will help to boost confidence. The Department has learnt from the experience with the Marine Renewable Deployment Fund and is now engaging much more closely with the industry through the Marine Energy Programme Board. This should ensure that new policies are based on a realistic assessment of what the industry can deliver.
105. While most of the focus to date has been on getting prototype devices in the water, it is important to anticipate other barriers that will need to be overcome as the sector moves closer to commercialisation. As the scale of deployment increases, issues such as grid connections, the consenting process, the need for better data on marine wildlife and public attitudes all have the potential to derail the development of marine renewables. It is reassuring that DECC is already thinking about dealing with some of these obstacles, though in the case of others such as public engagement there is clearly room for improvement. The industry in particular should not assume that marine renewables will automatically enjoy public support simply because they are “out of sight and out of mind”.
106. Wave and tidal energy is a sector that shows great promise. The opportunities for deployment of these technologies worldwide are considerable. Although it will be some time before we can reap the full benefits of a fully-fledged marine energy industry, it is vital that DECC continues to support the development of these technologies so that the UK can retain its leadership position. The resource that the Government has put in to underpinning our world lead has not been large, but the potential benefits are great. The UK needs a strong political vision to ensure that we can reap the rewards of a successful marine industry.
FULL INQUIRY REPORT VIEWABLE HERE
Announced 06 July 2011
The Energy and Climate Change Committee, chaired by Tim Yeo MP, is has launched an inquiry to investigate the potential for marine renewables to contribute towards the UK’s renewables and emissions targets. It seems to indicate this is related to the DECC announcement On 28 June 2011 that £20 million of funding would be used to support two projects to test prototypes in array formations.
The inquiry will assess the success of existing Government support and measures on marine renewables and investigate the potential impact of Government spending decisions on this area of low carbon technology.
The Committee invites submissions on marine renewables, in particular:
What are the potential benefits that marine renewables could bring to the UK and should Government be supporting the development of these particular technologies?
How effective have existing Government policies and initiatives on marine renewables been in supporting the development and deployment of these technologies?
What lessons can be learnt from experiences within the UK and from other countries to date in supporting the development and deployment of marine renewables?
Is publicly provided innovation funding necessary for the development of marine technologies and if so, why?
What non-financial barriers are there to the development of marine renewables?
To what extent is the supply chain for marine renewables based in the UK and how does Government policy affect the development of these industries?
What approach should Government take to supporting marine renewables in the future?
Are there any other issues relating to the future of marine renewables in the UK that you think the Committee should be aware of?
Written evidence is invited from interested parties. The deadline for the submission of written evidence is Thursday 8 September. Written evidence should be in Word or rich text format-please do not use PDF format-and sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full announcement a details of rules regarding submissions on the House of Commons website
The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge is celebrating its 5th anniversary by offering £440,000 (€500,000) as a top prize for a sustainable and eco-friendly idea or concept, which has a commercial application, in order to help in the fight against climate change. In addition to the top prize, up to two runners up will receive £175,000 (€200,000) to help fund their respective projects as well.
This year’s competition has an application deadline of 29th July 2011. They are keen to see a far greater number of submissions from the UK.
The Green Challenge is a worldwide competition providing financial support and expert coaching to help winners bring their products to market. Entries that reduce CO2 emissions and score highly on design, user-friendliness and quality have a shot at the prize.
Entrants are asked to submit detailed business plans of their projects to an expert preliminary jury who assess the entries’ viability and select five to seven finalists after the competition deadline. The finalists will present their ideas before an international jury of experts and an audience of invited guests on 14th and 15th September at the multimedia conference PICNIC ’11 in Amsterdam. After the presentations and private interviews with the finalists, the jury will choose the winner and the runners-up.
Full information available on their dedicated website http://www.greenchallenge.info/