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Speech by Amber Rudd to Solar Energy UK, the UK solar industry’s expo event.

October 14, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Politics, Solar

Amber Rudd MP  Speech by Amber Rudd to Solar Energy UK, the UK solar industry's expo event. Photo courtesy of UK DECC

Amber Rudd MP
Speech by Amber Rudd to Solar Energy UK, the UK solar industry’s expo event.
Photo courtesy of UK DECC

Solar PV is an important part of the UK’s energy mix and very much a renewables success story – overall deployment has surpassed expectations.

Since 2010, from a starting point of almost zero, you, the industry, have now exceeded 4GW of capacity. This is a fantastic achievement.

It means that the UK now has enough solar to power more than 900,000 homes with over half a million households now benefiting from generating their own solar energy.

That’s over half a million homes that are benefiting from a permanent reduction in their energy bills. And half a million homes that are benefiting from clean and secure renewables generation.

But solar energy is not just good for helping to deliver affordable, clean and secure energy supplies, it is also a powerful engine for growth – driving small and medium sized businesses and creating thousands of jobs up and down the country.

Indeed, earlier this year, the National Solar Centre estimated that the industry supported up to around 14,000 jobs. And the more the sector deploys, the more jobs it generates, especially in the building mounted sector, which attracts more jobs than solar farms.

But before I go any further, let me tell you the three main points that I would like to make today:

  1. Firstly, the UK’s solar sector has a bright future. A great deal of progress has been made in recent years and we have increased our ambition for the industry further still.
  2. Secondly, however, we must ensure that the future growth of solar is put on a sustainable financial footing.
  3. Thirdly, I would like to take the opportunity to update you on a number of actions that my officials have been working on as part of our new Solar Strategy.

To my first point, as our Solar Strategy set out earlier this year, we have a high level of ambition for the sector.

In fact, our level of ambition has expanded – we are expecting to see 10GW to 12GW deployed by 2020 and possibly more, especially if you, the industry, are able to bring costs down and drive further innovation between now and then.

Indeed, if we’re able to reach grid parity by 2020, as I hope, then we could see solar really fly, not on bill payer funded subsidy, but as a real financially independent, cost competitive industry.

The Strategy set our intention to work with you to help really drive solar PV to this next stage of growth and ensure the sector’s ongoing success – including Government leading the way and deploying 1GW on our own Government buildings.

The Strategy placed a particular emphasis on maximising the potential of the as yet little tapped mid-size projects on commercial and industrial rooftops –which has the potential to bring greater on-site generation to help organisations better manage their energy bills.

Only last week I visited Kingspan’s factory near York and saw their beautiful 2.5MW solar PV rooftop array. Along with energy efficient lighting, the array should produce enough energy to power 7,000 homes.

And in September I saw the new solar roof at the IKEA store in Southampton. Yet IKEA are not just powering their buildings through the massive 39,000 panels that are installed across their UK stores and distribution centres, and I was also pleased to see that they are selling domestic solar installations through their stores too.

These are great examples of how Solar PV can power growth in this country. And there are others too including Jaguar Land Rover’s solar PV array at its Engine Manufacturing Centre in the West Midland which will generate over 30% of the site’s total energy requirements – the equivalent to powering more than 1,600 homes.

But of course, our ultimate goal is for renewables to be competitive with other forms of electricity generation, and we need to balance government support with the need for value for money for taxpayers.

You will be aware that large-scale solar PV has actually been deploying at a much faster than previously expected. In many ways this progress is good news, making a valuable contribution to UK electricity generation.

Yet we must also ensure that the success of the solar sector is delivered in a way that offers best value for money for taxpayers and allows us to offer effective support to the renewables sector as a whole.

Which brings me to my third point; I would like to update you on the progress we are making towards putting in place a framework for the sustainable growth of the solar sector.

On 2nd October, following a consultation period, my Department set out a package of new financial support measures for solar PV.

Now I know that there have been concerns over changes to the Renewables Obligation (RO), but I believe that overall these announcements demonstrate that we have listened to you, and set out a clear, long-term framework for the solar PV industry, supporting deployment as costs continue to fall.

Firstly, on the issue of the budgets for Contracts for Difference (CfDs), we announced an increase in the pot for established technologies of £15m. This increase of around 1/3 from the indicative budget provided in the summer opens the door to more solar to come forward.

We are looking forward to seeing solar PV developments enter the first allocation round, and there is a lot for the industry to play for – with the potential for significant amounts of deployment to be supported in this round.

And we should highlight the benefits of the CfD framework, as a private law contract, to provide the stability and visibility to support investment going forward.

Secondly, on the issue of the RO closure, we know that the industry was concerned by the proposals to close the RO to large scale solar.

However, we have a responsibility to manage our support schemes effectively within the Levy Control Framework, so that the success of the solar sector is delivered in a way that delivers best value for money to consumers.

But we have listened to you, the industry, heard your concerns, and while we have not been able to take on board all of your requests and suggestions, we have made some important changes.

In particular to grace periods, to ensure that the proposal protects investments already made we have: * Dropped the financial requirement to have spent approximately 10% of the total cost. * Changed the land rights condition so that it can be satisfied by an option to lease. * Adjusted the planning requirement to have asked for planning permission to have been applied for, rather than received by 13th May. * And we have launched a new consultation on whether or not to offer a grid delay grace period, which will protect developers against slippage of the connection date.

The consultation closes on 28th October, so please put your responses in as quickly as you can.

My officials will turn this around as quickly as possible to ensure that you have that additional surety of investment in the run up to March 2015.

Let me end by focusing on the opportunity to deliver on the vision that we set out in the Strategy back in April to support the continued growth of well-sited and well-designed solar.

The Strategy set out a number of actions, and we’re making progress on these. To name just a few:

  1. For example, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) consultation on raising the bar for permitted development from 50kW to 1MW has recently closed, and DCLG officials are working hard to understand the responses.
  2. We are working with the Cabinet Office to encourage deployment on the government estate, so that the Government can lead the way in demonstrating the benefits of deployment on mid-scale roofs in terms of economies of scale, and the ability to use the power generated on site and reduce energy bills.
  3. The Cabinet Office is currently putting in place the commercial construct that will enable the identification, development, building and financing of appropriate solar sites – focussing on rooftop and brown field sites’ across the government estate.
  4. They are simultaneously working up several pilot projects, in close partnership with the host Departments, with an initial target of installing 500MW of Capacity, with a further target of 1GW across the government estate. I hope to be able to make further announcements here very soon.
  5. We have also asked industry to work together to identify cost reduction across the sector, with an aim of building on your hard work to ensure that solar pays for itself sooner rather than later, without the need for subsidy.
  6. And in September I held a stimulating roundtable event, bringing together a great group of building owners and leasers with representatives from finance, legal and others, to identify some of the issues created for rooftop deployment from the landlord/tenant relationship.

The discussion generated some really useful outcomes and set out some approaches we can take to overcome barriers. My officials are taking this forward, but we will be carrying out some follow-on work, under our Solar Strategy Group, with the help of our colleagues in the hall.

  1. And we have listened to the industry’s concerns around support for building mounted deployment. So on FITs we have split the degression band above 250kW to protect the tariff given to roofs from major degression caused by ground mounted deployment
  2. And finally, one issue we hear very regularly is that the FIT does not allow installations to be moved from one building to another and that this acts as a barrier to deployment in the mid-scale roof mounted sector.

In response to that, we will be consulting before the end of this year, on whether or not to allow new mid-scale building mounted solar PV to transfer from one building to another without losing FIT accreditation

I cannot go into the details on this yet, as they are being worked up by my officials as we speak, but watch out for the consultation.

So, in summary, I believe that this package of reforms will help to put in place the right level of financial support to place the sector on a sustainable footing.

Along with working with you, the industry, to address barriers to deployment, this provides a strong basis for the industry to go forward.

Yet with increased innovation the solar sector could go even further.

I am delighted to see the extent of innovation that’s already taking place in the solar market – including the sort of excellent work on window glass that’s being carried out at great British companies like Oxford PV and Polysolar.

This could see whole skyscrapers generating their own power and possibly producing up to a quarter of their total energy needs, just from their windows!

I’m told that Swansea University is also working with industrial and academic partners, to develop functional coated steel and glass products that will transform the roofs and walls of buildings into surfaces that will generate, store and release energy.

It is excellent innovations like these that will help the industry to go even further, faster.

So I believe that the solar industry on the up, and between our incentives and your dynamism, we will see real progress towards putting control in the hands of energy consumers and turning our buildings into power stations.

This article is an EV News Report repost, credit: UK DECC.

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Suzlon to Build 2000MW Wind Energy Projects over Next Five Years

October 13, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Wind

Suzlon Wind Energy Photo courtesy of Suzlon

Suzlon Wind Energy
Photo courtesy of Suzlon

Suzlon expresses intent to set up Manufacturing Facilities in Madhya Pradesh

Indore, India – Suzlon Group, the world’s fifth largest* wind turbine maker today (10-9-14) expressed at the Global Investors Summit 2014 held in Indore, its intent to build 2000 MW of new wind energy projects in the state of Madhya Pradesh over the next five years and establish supporting manufacturing facilities. These wind energy projects established by Suzlon for SME sector and IPP producers will drive investments and create sustainable economic growth for the state.

Suzlon Group has installed more than 50% of total wind capacity in the state.

Speaking at the Summit, Mr Tulsi Tanti, Chairman, Suzlon Group said, “The MP Government has an impressive track record of delivering 11 per cent all round economic growth in 2013-14., with a very impressive growth of 25% in the agriculture sector which is the highest in the world. This is indeed a testament of the state’s progressive outlook and pro industry policies that offer a conducive business environment. MP has not only emerged as one of the fastest growing states in the country but is a power surplus state as well, with close to 14000 MW installed capacity. The achievements of the state are credited to the astute leadership under the aegis of Chief Minister, Hon’ble Shivraj Singh Chouhan. We are confident, the MP governments thrust on enhancing its clean energy portfolio and industry growth will ensure sustainable growth across the state.”

Suzlon is fully committed to convert chief minister’s vision of affordable energy to all and to contribute towards building greener sustainable economy of Madhya Pradesh.

Suzlon is committed to social, economic and ecological sustainable development across its areas of operations. Aligned to its focus on sustainable development, within the state of Madhya Pradesh Suzlon has covered over 300 villages through its CSR outreach programme and more than 28,000 families have directly benefited through the company community initiatives.

About Suzlon Group

The Suzlon Group is ranked as the world’s fifth largest* wind turbine supplier, in terms of annual installed capacity and market share in 2013. The company’s global spread extends across Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa and North and South America with 24,726 MW of wind energy capacity installed with operations in over 31 countries and a workforce of ~10,000. The Group offers one of the most comprehensive product portfolios – ranging from sub megawatt onshore turbines with rated capacity of 600 Kilowatts (kW), to the world’s largest commercially-available offshore turbine of rated capacity 6.15 MW & complemented by a vertically integrated, low-cost, manufacturing base. The Group – headquartered at Suzlon One Earth in Pune, India – comprises Suzlon Energy Limited and its subsidiaries, including Senvion SE. Visit us at

Source: *MAKE Report: Global Wind Turbine OEM 2013 Market Share

This article (10-9-14) is an EV News Report repost, credit: Suzlon Group.

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Norway License Granted for Electricity Interconnectors to Germany and the UK

October 13, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Politics

Norway License granted for electricity interconnectors to Germany and the UK Norway 99% hydropower Photo courtesy of Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy

Norway License granted for electricity interconnectors to Germany and the UK
Norway 99% hydropower
Photo courtesy of Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy

The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has today granted Statnett licenses for two new electricity interconnectors, one to Germany and one to the United Kingdom.

In total, this will increase Norway’s interconnection capacity with near 50 percent. Statnett plans commissioning of the cable to Germany in 2018, while the cable to the UK is planned commissioned in 2020.

Statnett owns both interconnectors on the Norwegian side. Statnett is cooperating with the German system operator TenneT and the German state owned bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) about the Norway-Germany project project, Nord.Link. Statnett is cooperating with UK system operator National Grid about the Norway-UK project, North Sea Network (NSN).

– Interconnection with Germany and the UK will give a better utilization of the power systems and create economic benefits. These cables are important for successfully increasing our share of renewable energy, says Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Mr. Tord Lien.

Both interconnectors will have a  capacity of 1400 megawatt (MW). The interconnector to the UK will be the world’s longest sub-sea cable of its kind.

– The electricity interconnectors will contribute to Norwegian renewable energy replacing fossil energy in Europe and will facilitate green value creation in Norway, says Minister for Climate and Environment, Tine Sundtoft.

The interconnectors will create economic benefits, including revenues on the interconnector and by increasing the value of Norwegian hydro power. The transition to renewable energy in Europe will interact well with the Norwegian hydro based power system. The Ministry estimates that the benefits of the interconnectors will exceed the costs. Together, the two cables will strengthen the Northern European electricity grid and contribute to more efficient power markets.

This article is an EV News Report repost, credit: Norway Energy Department.

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Economic potential of offshore wind energy showcased in Atlantic City, N.J.

October 9, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Politics, Wind

Industry expects tipping point as construction starts in 2015

(6-17-14) Secretary Jewell and Governor Patrick Announce the Nation’s Largest Offshore Wind Energy Area Available for Commercial Development The Massachusetts Wind Energy Area is located approximately 12 miles offshore Massachusetts – from its northern boundary, the area extends 33 nautical miles southward and has an east/west extent of approximately 47 nautical miles. Photo courtesy of DOI

(6-17-14) Secretary Jewell and Governor Patrick Announce the Nation’s Largest Offshore Wind Energy Area Available for Commercial Development.
The Massachusetts Wind Energy Area is located approximately 12 miles offshore Massachusetts – from its northern boundary, the area extends 33 nautical miles southward and has an east/west extent of approximately 47 nautical miles.
Photo courtesy of DOI

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Offshore wind energy projects off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts are aiming to start construction next year and bring an energy source familiar in Europe to the U.S. for the first time, company executives said this week in Atlantic City at the industry’s major annual conference.

“This is the year it happens,” said Jeff Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind, developer of the Block Island Wind Farm off Rhode Island and three other projects. “We are nine months away from the installation of our first foundations.” Also forging ahead is the much-anticipated Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound, Massachusetts. “It’s an exciting time for the U.S. offshore wind industry,” said Dennis Duffy, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for Energy Management Inc. (EMI), developer for Cape Wind. “Cape Wind is closing its financing this fall and looking forward to the start of construction.”

“We are going to put steel in the water in 2015,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “By developing offshore wind power, we can create well-paying jobs, attract billions of dollars in private investment into our national economy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions for generations to come.”

While the U.S. offshore wind power industry is gaining momentum, many industry leaders recognize that to maintain it, Congress must provide policy stability by extending both the Production Tax Credit (primarily used by land-based projects) and the Investment Tax Credit (used by offshore and community wind developers) by the end of the year.

AWEA’s Kiernan emphasized this urgent need. “Congress must extend both these successful tax policies that have attracted up to $25 billion a year in new private investment to the U.S. economy. With these policies in place, wind power has been able to improve its technology and lower its costs by 58 percent over the last five years, saving consumers on their electric bills.”

AWEA’s 2014 Offshore WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition brought over 600 attendees to Atlantic City this week, including government officials, private investors, members of the conservation community and others. Many said the industry is turning a corner with construction of more than one offshore wind project set to begin in 2015.

“It’s been encouraging to see so many people at this year’s conference,” said Fishermen’s Energy COO and General Counsel Paul Gallagher. “The quality of the speakers and panelists are exceptional. We are pleased to welcome everyone back to Atlantic City and we look forward to welcoming folks back when the Fishermen’s offshore wind project gets approved.” Gallagher introduced Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, who expressed his enthusiasm for the potential of a growing offshore wind industry in the area.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell delivered the keynote address Tuesday morning, saying, “America’s offshore areas contain tremendous wind energy potential.”

“I am encouraged by the collaborative spirit and the thoughtful planning that has been the hallmark of our approach to ensure that development is realized in the right way and in the right places,” Jewell said. “Offshore wind is an exciting new frontier that will help keep America competitive and expand domestic energy production, all without increasing carbon pollution.”

“What an exciting year for offshore wind power,” said John Kostyack, executive director of the Wind Energy Foundation. “After many years of hard work by members of the offshore wind community and its friends and allies, projects are going into the water soon. Once people see it, they know it’s real; it’s part of everyday business. Everything changes from here on out.”

Developing offshore wind power is seen as an important tool not only to boost the U.S. economy and provide an abundant supply of fixed-price domestic energy, but also to benefit the environment by fighting pollution and helping to keep our air clean.

Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, joined U.S. Secretary Jewell in opening the conference. He emphasized this point, saying, “Developing Atlantic offshore wind is absolutely vital to protect our communities and wildlife from the worst impacts of global warming. I’m proud to stand with Sec. Jewell to support developing this critically needed new energy source in a way that protects wildlife and their habitats.”

The exhibition featured 40 exhibitors, including major manufacturers and developers, renewable energy experts from the state of Maryland, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and technical advisors from DNV GL

“We are excited to see the American offshore wind industry progress and we find the conference very useful for meeting our clients and partners,” said Johan Sandberg, Service Line Leader – Offshore Renewable Energy for DNV GL. “Offshore wind is a key industry for DNV GL as it is the one industry where our five legacy companies intersect after the merger between DNV, GL, KEMA, Garrad Hassan and Noble Denton. We feel a very strong responsibility to make this industry succeed and our recent pledge to help reduce offshore wind’s costs demonstrates this. We are committed to making offshore wind power an important part of the U.S. energy mix.”

Chairing the closing keynote session on Wednesday is the U.S. Department of Energy’s Senior Advisor for Offshore Wind Technologies, Gregory M. Matzat. The session will tackle the three offshore wind power projects for which the DOE has awarded seed funding: Dominion Virginia Power, Fisherman’s Energy, and Principle Power will each receive up to $50.6 million to complete their designs and construct projects off Virginia, New Jersey and Oregon.

“As a readily expandable, domestic source of clean, renewable energy, wind power is helping pave the way to a low-carbon future that protects our air and water while providing affordable, renewable electricity to American families and businesses,” said Jose Zayas, Director of the Energy Department’s Wind and Water Power Technologies Office.

“While land-based wind energy now contributes over 4.5 percent of the nation’s electricity, the offshore wind industry in the United States has also been steadily gaining momentum,” Zayas said. “Within the past year, the Energy Department has released a number of reports and tools to help industry and policymakers, announced a conditional commitment for a loan guarantee for Cape Wind, and announced the selection of the three advanced technology demonstration projects to continue to the next phase.”

The official sponsors of AWEA’s Offshore WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition are DNV GL, GE Power & Water, Siemens, Alstom, Fishermen’s Energy, Rabobank, and UK Trade & Investment.

The event’s official partners are Maine Ocean & Wind Industry Initiative, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the National Wildlife Federation, the New England Clean Energy Council, the Sierra Club, the Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

AWEA’s annual Offshore WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition will be held next year in Baltimore, Maryland, September 29 – 30. Booth sales have just begun.

AWEA is the national trade association of the U.S. wind energy industry, with 1,000 member companies, including global leaders in wind power and energy development, wind turbine manufacturing, component and service suppliers, and the world’s largest wind power trade show, the AWEA WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, which takes place next in Orlando, FL, May 18-21, 2015. AWEA is the voice of wind energy in the U.S., promoting renewable energy to power a cleaner, stronger America. Look up information on wind energy at the AWEA website. Find insight on industry issues at AWEA’s blog Into the Wind. Join AWEA on Facebook. Follow AWEA on Twitter.

This article (10-8-14) is an EV News Report repost, credit: AWEA.

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SF Event to be 100% Powered by Renewable Microgrid

October 8, 2014 in Battery Energy Storage, Environment, EV News, Greentech, San Francisco, Sustainable San Francisco

VERGE San Francisco to be powered by renewable microgrid Photo courtesy of GreenBiz Group

VERGE San Francisco to be powered by renewable microgrid
Photo courtesy of GreenBiz Group

Four-day VERGE SF event powered by mix of renewable fuels and storage

OAKLAND, Calif. – VERGE San Francisco, a four-day conference focusing on the intersection of technology and sustainability, will be powered by a fully functional, replicable, renewably-powered microgrid, demonstrating the power of distributed energy solutions on the market today.

VERGE SF, October 27-30, is the flagship of a global event series produced by GreenBiz Group. The event focuses on how technology accelerates sustainability solutions across industries and cities in a climate-constrained world.

The microgrid, constructed in less than one day to power the four-day-long event, will feature battery storage and power generation from solar and biomass gasification. It models resilience, interoperability, radical efficiency and other key VERGE themes.

“We’re extremely excited to be deploying the Interconnect microgrid with leading partners such as ALL Power Labs and Stem at VERGE SF.

This year, Spirae is deploying our next gen platform to manage the 100% renewable microgrid system that will power the entire conference,” said Sunil Cherian, Founder and CEO of Spirae.

“The VERGE microgrid uses a system and resources that are already in operation around the world. We are showing that these are not fringe technologies of the future, but proven solutions that are reliable, scalable and economically viable today. The VERGE microgrid shows the future is now.” In addition to powering the live event, the microgrid will be the backbone of VERGE Interconnect, an interactive vendor and technology exhibition that demonstrates energy efficiency and distributed energy systems in action.

Interactive displays in VERGE Interconnect will include EV charging, a popup parklet, a solar array, a “Food Tech Snack-down,” 3D printers, drones and virtual reality tools. The nearly 100 sessions in the VERGE SF program focus on distributed energy systems, next-gen buildings, sustainable mobility, food and water systems, smarter supply chains and resilient cities.

Featured speakers from the more than 200 confirmed to participate include Lisa Jackson of Apple, Chris Anderson of 3D Robotics, Joe Gebbia of Airbnb, John Lauckner of GM, Robb Fraley of Monsanto, author and entrepreneur Paul Hawken, biomimicry guru Janine Benyus and senior executives from Autodesk, Facebook, HP, Ford, GE, SDG&E, Google, IBM, Southern California Edison, Microsoft, NRG Energy, Jones Lang LaSalle, Yahoo!, PG&E, Volvo, Boeing, Qualcomm, Kaiser Permanente, PepsiCo and Walmart. Public-sector speakers represent the cities of Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco; the state of California, the federal Department of Energy, General Services Administration, NOAA and the White House. For more information about VERGE San Francisco, visit


GreenBiz Group’s mission is to define and accelerate the business of sustainability. It does this through a wide range of products and services, including its acclaimed website and e-newsletters, GreenBuzz and VERGE; webcasts on topics of importance to sustainability and energy executives; research reports, including the annual State of Green Business; the GreenBiz Executive Network, a membership-based, peer-to-peer learning forum for sustainability executives; and conferences: GreenBiz Forum and VERGE.

This article is an EV News Report repost, credit: GreenBiz Group.