Intention to suspend this blog

Anyone looking at this blog will notice there has not been any activity recently. The group that was looking after energy coordination at UHI has been disbanded so the few staff left have not prioritized this blog as a means of communication, and for the foreseeable future this will not change.

It is not our intention to update this blog during 2014, but we will be leaving it in it’s current state until we can resurrect it. We will concentrate our announcements (albeit of a shorter and more general research nature) on the UHI Research Twitter feed – please visit us at:

UHI Research Twitter-logo-011-web

Scottish Government Energy Policy

Holyrood, 5/03/2012

It would be remiss of us not to post details of the latest stats and policy statement from the Scottish Government.

In the most recent statement it is claimed Scotland can achieve its target of meeting the country’s electricity needs from renewables as well as more from other sources by 2020. Renewable generation is to be backed up with thermal generation progressively fitted with carbon capture and storage – ensuring Scotland’s future electricity needs can be met without the need for new nuclear power stations.

The EGPS report is based on research studies looking at future energy supply, storage and demand.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “This report shows that the Scottish Government’s target to generate the equivalent of 100 per cent of our electricity needs from renewables, as well as more from other sources, is achievable.”

FULL STATEMENT HERE
SCOTLAND ENERGY STATISTICS TO MARCH 2012

UK Wind Power Passes the 6 Gigawatt Threshold

Although quite widely reported I felt it was important to recognise this milestone in the development of wind generation in the UK.

RenewableUK, the trade association representing the renewable energy industries, has announced that the country’s wind sector has reached a landmark 6 gigawatts of installed capacity – enough to supply electricity to 3,354,893 homes.

The 6GW threshold was reached following recent installation work at the Ormonde offshore wind farm, off the coast of Cumbria, which now has 120 megawatts (MW) operational.

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive, Maria McCaffery said:

“This is a landmark achievement. There’s a great feeling of pride throughout the industry that we’ve reached a record high of 6 gigawatts, and there’s a further 19.5GW of capacity under construction, consented, or in planning.

The Government’s Renewable Energy Roadmap is calling for 31GW of onshore and offshore wind combined by 2020, and we’re confident that we can deliver this if we continue to get the right level of Government support”.

The Chairman of Scottish Renewables, Jeremy Sainsbury said:

“We obviously join the renewables industry in celebrating reaching the 6GW mark and congratulate the Scottish sector in contributing almost 50 per cent towards this important milestone.

“It is clear that with Scotland’s 2020 target of generating the equivalent of 100 per cent of our electricity needs from renewables that we will continue to play a significant part in delivering capacity across the UK”.

FULL ANNOUNCEMENT HERE

Deep geothermal energy in Scotland

The Scottish Government, Energy and Climate Change Directorate has announced it wishes to commission research into the potential for deep geothermal energy in Scotland.

Geothermal energy has been identified as particularly important emerging technology for Scotland and may play a significant role in our energy future alongside other renewable systems. They are therefore commissioning a study into deep geothermal energy potential to identify the next steps that might be nedded to develop the deep geothermal energy under Scotland.

Closing date for tenders is 24th November and the full details are available from the Public Contracts Scotland website.

Food for thought……

Article written by Colin MacIlwain for Research Professional, 29/06/2011.

Scotland’s research pools face uncertain future

Concern is mounting at universities in Scotland that support for the country’s research pools will fade away—ending an experiment in cross-university cooperation that has drawn international admiration and imitation.

The research pools foster close collaboration in research and postgraduate teaching between university departments in subjects ranging from physics and engineering to economics and Gaelic. They are frequently cited by Scottish ministers and university vice-chancellors as a central plank in the country’s research policy.

In particular, they have been credited with helping to maintain Scotland’s disproportionate share of funding from the UK research councils.

However, the pools were each built on large, multi-year grants from the Scottish Funding Council, on top of contributions from the participating universities for additional academic positions and laboratory equipment.

Last week in Glasgow, participants in the largest pool, the £75-million Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance, said they would not apply for a renewal when the existing eight-year grant ends in 2015. Some of the other pools’ initial grant periods end this year and next.

In common with other Scottish-government-sponsored agencies, the SFC has no budget framework beyond 2012. When it gets one in the autumn, the council will probably seek to maintain its block funding for university research despite overall cuts. This will put funding for other initiatives, including the pools, under extreme pressure.

“When the pools were launched, each of the institutions participating agreed that the pools would be sustainable from alternative resources beyond the initial funding period,” said Mark Batho, chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council, in a statement.

However the first pool, the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance, was given a second tranche of funding, and officials at some of the others had been holding out hope for a repeat performance. SFC officials say there are no plans for such renewals, but refuse to rule out some form of transitional support when the initial grants expire.

Pete Downes, vice-principal of the University of Dundee and chairman of the research committee at Universities Scotland, said that it would co-ordinate a review on the future of the pools later this year.

“They were not meant to be continuously funded, and I’m not critical of the fact that existing pools will probably not receive an extension of cash support,” he said. “The question is whether we should continue to promote pooling, as a ‘Scottish good’. If we believe in pooling, we should provide more catalysing funds for it.”

ALL-ENERGY Exhibition and Conference

The biggest energy event of the year by far with 543 exhibitors including multi-national companies, small business start-ups, local councils, professionals from all aspects of energy production, engineering and delivery with associated events and careers fair. Everyone with any connection to energy in Scotland attends this event and the ERG team will be there for both days, exhibiting at stand L30.

ALL-ENERGY conference in Aberdeen – information here

ALL-ENERGY homepage

World’s first tidal power array in the Sound of Islay


ScottishPower Renewables have been given the green light to develop a 10MW tidal power array in The Sound of Islay on Scotland’s west coast. The project, the first of its kind in the world, envisages generating enough renewable electricity to power the equivalent of the whole island. It is also the first tidal array project to be approved by Marine Scotland, the directorate of Scottish Government responsible for the management of Scotland’s seas.

Scotland is widely regarded as having the best tidal power resources anywhere in the world and the progression to demonstration projects is seen as a vital step towards fully realising this potential. The Islay project will play a key role in proving a range of factors necessary for the large scale deployment of the technology.

Full article here

Woodfuel Task Force 2 – Update Report to Scottish Ministers, March 2011

In July 2011, Scottish Ministers reconvened the Wood Fuel Task Force, made up of key stakeholders from across Government and the forest, land use and energy industries, to review progress since the first Wood Fuel Task Force reported in 2008. The Task Force was asked to assess progress against the first report, consider further issues of supply and demand and look again at estimates of wood fibre volumes in Scotland.

The updated report shows around 432,000 odt of wood is potentially available from all sources of wood fibre. This could double over the next 10 years if forecast timber volumes are brought to market. This is significantly less than the previous estimate mainly due to improved estimates of wood waste availability and increased demand for wood fibre.

The volumes identified could make a substantial contribution to the Scottish Government’s renewable heat target but clearly show that we need to make best use of this important resource.

Full report available via this link
Or read the summary assessment on the Forestry Commission website