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

UKERC analysis – relative energy costs

Data from Robert Gross at Imperial College London – graph from The Guardian

The following caught my eye in a series run last week by The Guardian, a interesting adjuct to the previous article.

Key to plots:

GAS – Rising wholesale gas prices have driven the UK’s rising energy bills in recent years. Forecasts show a wide range of cost scenarios, reflecting uncertainty over a fuel which is increasingly imported

OFFSHORE WIND – The cost of offshore wind rose dramatically in the last decade, due in part to steel prices and supply chain shortages. Authoritative forecasts suggest costs will come down 25% by 2025

ONSHORE WIND – Onshore turbines are likely to stabilise in cost, according to a range of forecasts, which have a relatively narrow spread of outcomes. Expected to become cheaper than gas this decade


TSB announce new renewables innovation centre in Glasgow

The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) has today announced that the UK-wide consortium bid from Carbon Trust, National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) and Ocean Energy Innovation has been selected to play a pivotal role in setting up the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult. The new Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult will have it’s headquarters in Glasgow – with the operational centre in Northumberland close to the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec). The location in Glasgow will be alongside a number of organisations with complementary interests in the International Technology and Renewable Energy Zone (ITREZ). ITREZ already incorporates Strathclyde University’s £89 million Technology Innovation Centre and has secured industry partners including Scottish and Southern Energy, ScottishPower and the Weir Group.

The new Catapult will focus on technologies applicable to offshore wind, tidal and wave power. It will also build strong links with centres of excellence, such as the European Marine Energy Centre and Wave Hub.

The Catapult, expected to open for business in the summer of 2012, will bring together knowledge, expertise and state of the art facilities to help UK businesses innovate and find new ways to capture and use the power from offshore renewable energy sourcesand may also advise the UK government on its renewable energy policies.


ETP call for proposals for Doctoral Studentship programme

The Energy technology Partnership (ETP) have announced they are able to offer up to 20 studentships in 2012, specifically related to the areas of:

• Wind energy;
• Marine energy;
• Bio-energy;
• Solar energy;
• Energy conversion and storage;
• Energy materials;
• Grid and networks;
• Energy utilisation in buildings;
• Carbon Capture and Storage.

Download GUIDANCE NOTES to learn more about the programme, deadline for submission and application requirements.

More details at ETP WEBSITE.

First Welsh tidal array a step closer

The Crown Estate has granted an Agreement for lease for the Skerries Tidal Stream Array, which is proposed for the waters off the coast of Anglesey.

Marine Current Turbines and its project partner RWE npower renewables are developing the site, with the anticipated tidal energy scheme consisting of up to nine turbines in an area between the Skerries group of rocks and islands and Carmel Head, about 1 km off the Anglesey coast. The 10 MW scheme, which has benefited from funding from the Welsh European Funding Office, should be capable of generating enough power to supply electricity to up to 10,000 homes, approximately 20% of Anglesey’s electricity demand.

The Crown Estate lease, a necessary pre-condition for any offshore seabed installation in UK waters, will be issued once the required environmental consents for the project have been granted by the Welsh Government.

The Skerries Tidal Stream Array will use MCT’s proven tidal energy technology known as SeaGen and will be able to contribute towards Anglesey’s vision to establish itself as a recognised centre of excellence for demonstrating, producing and servicing low carbon energy as part of the Energy Island Programme.

Subject to securing planning and financing for the project, MCT and RWE npower renewables are targeting 2014/2015 for the start of commissioning.


ETI request for proposals for WEC system demonstrator

Wave Energy Converter (WEC) System Demonstrator call

Deadline for notification of intention to submit a proposal: 2 December 2011. Closing date: 25 January 2012

The ETI have announced their desire to set up a demonstrator system as a precursor to commercialisation of wave energy generation.

The purpose of this WEC System Demonstrator Project is to accelerate the development and commercialisation of WEC systems through an initial Project Phase of detailed design and economic analysis, focusing specifically on the means of implementing step-change innovative technical solutions. It is intended that this will be followed by a second Phase of the Project, with the ETI investing in the development and subsequent demonstration of some or all of the identified elements. It is expected that demonstration will include system component and system level activities and will be conducted in a representative setting.

The ETI has identified the opportunity for reducing the levelised cost of energy of wave energy generation through the development of innovative WEC system solutions. The cost and performance of the entire system – including the WEC device, fixations, sub-sea infrastructure and on-shore electrical grid connection – and any element of the system that affects the LCoE of the system should be considered. It is expected that step-change innovations to the system that address these areas will be necessary to achieve the successful delivery of ETI Marine Energy Roadmap performance and cost targets.

Project outline pdf

More details on the ETI website

Clegg and Huhne set out government commitment to renewables

The UK government has set it’s cards on the table by announcing proposals to support renewable electricity and bring forward a surge of investment in the UK energy infrastructure.

The consultation proposes new support levels for large scale renewable electricity from 2013-17 (2014-17 for offshore wind) under the Renewables Obligation (RO). As a result of these proposals, they expect to see 70-75 TWh of renewable electricity in the UK by 2017. This is 70% of the way towards the 108TWh of electricity needed to meet the UK’s 2020 renewable energy target.

The proposals are expected to cost between £0.4 and £1.3bn less than retaining current bandings and drive a higher level of deployment than leaving bandings as they are. The announcement claims “The proposals also provide industry with the certainty needed to make investment decisions and will overall mean a lower impact on consumer bills, without reducing our level of ambition.”

Full press release and banding table on DECC website.