Powersystems powers up Community Windpower Aikengall 2a wind farm

Powersystems powers up Community Windpower Aikengall 2a wind farm

Community Windpower’s Aikengall 2a wind farm has started generating electricity, making it the largest wind farm the developer has brought online. The 19 turbine, 81.7MW wind farm is located on the border of East Lothian and the Scottish Border.

The 2a addition brings the total capacity of the Aikengall complex to 190MW.

Installation of the Siemens Gamesa SWT-DD-120 turbines began in January this year and completed on time, a spokesperson for Community Windpower said.

CWL managing director Rod Wood said the outfit was “immensely proud” of the achievement, given construction took place during “unprecedented global conditions”.

Wood added: “Aikengall 2a will be our largest capacity project to date and this new milestone is a fantastic way to end 2021.”

The developer instructed two Scottish companies, RJ McLeod and Windhoist, to provide civil engineering and turbine installation respectively.

The original Aikengall Wind Farm built in 2009 generates 48MW, while Aikengall Part 2 built in 2017 has capacity of 60.8MW.

Wood said Part 2a would provide energy for 70,000 homes annually and represented the outfit’s eighth operational wind farm.

“Our long-term commitment to Scotland and its economy is reflected in the delivery of this project as well as our three next renewable energy developments.”

The wind farm projects are Sanquhar 2 outside Kelloholm and Sanquhur, Faw Side between Hawick and Langholm, and Scoop Hill near Moffat.

“These three projects are all next generation strategic schemes which can deliver leading economic benefits of £413.3m gross value added and support 5980 job years across Scotland,” said Wood.

Read more about the Aikengall 2a project and case studies here and follow us on LinkedIn for more renewable technology updates


New homes and buildings in England to have electric car chargers by law

New homes and buildings in England to have electric car chargers by law

  • World-leading regulations for new homes and buildings in England announced as Government charges forward with electric vehicle revolution
  • At the CBI, Prime Minister expected to call the green industrial revolution the biggest opportunity to unite and level up the UK, with government and business working in partnership
  • Comes as Government invests nearly £10 million into new hydrogen project in Scotland

New homes and buildings such as supermarkets and workplaces, as well as those undergoing major renovation, will be required to install electric vehicle charge points from next year, under new legislation announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

England will lead the world to mandate such building regulations, kicking off a decade of delivery in hundreds of thousands of charge points while creating further green jobs across the country.

With the majority of charging happening at home, this will mean people can buy new properties already ready for an electric vehicle future, while ensuring charge points are readily available at new shops and workplaces across the UK – making it as easy as refuelling a petrol or diesel car today.

As well as new homes and non-residential buildings, those undergoing largescale renovations which leaves them with over 10 parking spaces will be required to install electric vehicle charge points.

After consulting with industry, the Government will also be going further to make it easier and simpler for people to go electric, by introducing simpler ways to pay whilst travelling, such as contactless, at all new fast and rapid charge points.

This comes as the Prime Minister addresses the CBI annual conference, where he’ll set out how the UK can create a first mover advantage in the biggest transformation of the global economy in 200 years, if the public and private sectors work in partnership to seize the opportunities of net zero, from electric vehicles to clean power.

In his CBI speech, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to say:

This is a pivotal moment – we cannot go on as we are. We have to adapt our economy to the green industrial revolution.

We have to use our massive investment in science and technology and we have to raise our productivity and then we have to get out your way.

We must regulate less or better and take advantage of new freedoms.

He will add:

We will require new homes and buildings to have EV charging points – with another 145,000 charging points to be installed thanks to these regulations.

We are investing in new projects to turn wind power into hydrogen and our net zero strategy is expected to trigger about £90 billion of private sector investment, driving the creation of high wage high skilled jobs as part of our mission to unite and level up across the country.

The Government has also announced today that following a successful pilot with businesses, Innovate UK will deliver a new three-year programme of £150m in new flexible and affordable Innovation Loans to help British SMEs commercialise their latest R&D innovations. This programme supports businesses to grow, scale up and create new highly-skilled jobs in the process, including those who would have otherwise been unable to secure private loans.

Whilst this is open to a variety of sectors, green businesses will be able to apply from early next year, many of whom have already been benefiting during the pilot as the UK transitions to net zero.

For example, Northern Ireland based Catagen Ltd’s development of catalytic converters has helped vehicle manufacturers to reduce emissions. NanoSUN Ltd – a company based in Lancaster – develops and manufactures hydrogen refuelling products for customers in the oil and gas and transport sectors, with the support of the innovation loan helping them triple the number of high-skilled engineers they employ and prototype and demonstrate their products.

Thanks to innovation loans, 70% of surveyed businesses who were part of the pilot are now also offering customers greener alternatives to their existing products.

The Government has also confirmed today nearly £10 million in funding for a first-of-a-kind new hydrogen project in the UK’s largest onshore windfarm near Glasgow.

£9.4 million will be invested into the Whitelee green hydrogen project to develop the UK’s largest electrolyser, a system which converts water into hydrogen gas as a way to store energy and supply local transport providers with zero-carbon fuel.

Developed by ITM Power and BOC, with ScottishPower, it has the potential to store and produce the equivalent of enough green hydrogen to fuel over 200 bus journeys travelling between Glasgow and Edinburgh each day.

The UK’s first wind farm turns 30: meet the family who started it all

The UK’s first wind farm turns 30: meet the family who started it all

It’s been three decades since the Edwards family launched the Delabole wind farm – so how did they do it?

The Edwards’ farm lies in Delabole, one of the highest villages in Cornwall, close to the Celtic Sea. In the early 1980s, a gale tore off part of a barn roof – and so began a journey that would transform the family’s dairy business into the UK’s first commercial wind farm.

“Mum had been involved in protests against a proposed nuclear station in Cornwall,” says Martin Edwards, who established the wind farm with his father, Peter, and mother, Pip. “One day over breakfast [during a conversation about alternative energy sources], she said: ‘Why can’t we do something with this damn wind?’”

Pip’s remark set the family on a pioneering path that eventually led them, in 1991, to establish the Delabole wind farm. Today, Peter is often referred to as the ‘grandfather of the UK wind industry’, and last month Delabole celebrated its 30th anniversary. But reaching this milestone hasn’t been without its challenges.

First, there was no wind industry in the UK in the 1980s, so the Edwards’ effectively had to build one from scratch. Inspired by the idea of generating power on the farm, Peter arranged a visit to Denmark, then a world leader in wind turbines.

“There were literally hundreds of manufacturers at that point. Every little engineering works was designing and building wind turbines, most of which didn’t work very well,” says Martin, speaking about what his father witnessed. “But investment was just getting going.”

Peter was encouraged by what he saw, and spoke to the then-South Western Electricity Board about installing a small turbine to help with the farm’s power demands. But when it became clear that connecting it to the grid would entail a standing charge higher than the family’s current electricity bill – and that they would not be paid for any excess power fed back into the grid – the plan was shelved.

Nevertheless, the Edwards’ interest remained strong. By the mid-1980s, when it was obvious the UK energy industry was going to be privatised, “We thought…if they’re going to privatise it, they’ve got to allow private generation,” says Martin.

Turbine technology had improved by then, reaching power capacity of up to 250 kW, with better reliability. Over the next few years, the family developed a fresh plan for wind power generation at Delabole, and “by the time we put in for planning [permission], the turbine size had crept up to 400 kW.”

They decided to install 10 Danish-built, 400 kW turbines. “There were no consultancies or anything, even for the layout for the wind farm and things like that,” recalls Martin. And with no clear national system in place for wind energy generation, they still couldn’t be sure whether they would be able to sell their power either.

Then, partway through the planning process, the Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation was put in place. This required electricity distribution network operators in England and Wales to purchase electricity from nuclear power generators, which remained state-owned until 1995. “It was basically to support the nuclear industry after privatisation,” says Martin. “They couldn’t possibly compete in an open market.”

The operative word in the obligation was ‘fuel’, Martin explains. As wind power isn’t a fuel, it wasn’t eligible for the same level of support. But after much to-ing and fro-ing with the then-Department of Energy, the government eventually changed tack, and the Delabole wind farm began to look more commercially viable.

I said that within 20 years I reckon turbines will be offshore and at somewhere in the region of five to 10 MW capacity. I was thoroughly laughed at

“We managed to borrow £2.1m from the bank and went on from there,” says Martin, “and by 1991 we had everything up and running.”

As the first commercial wind farm in the UK, Delabole soon became a tourist attraction. To stop visitors from blocking the main road, the Edwards opened a car park and a small exhibition centre. Several years later, the Gaia Energy Centre was launched on the site, but closed a few years later due to funding problems. Today, renewable energy company Baleana has its offices there.

In 2002, the Delabole wind farm was sold to Good Energy, which replaced the existing turbines with four more powerful machines, more than doubling the total installed capacity of the site to 9.2MW. That’s enough power to provide around 7,000 homes with electricity. Martin, who sat on Good Energy’s board of directors for a time, says that turbine technology has “flown on” during the 30 years he’s been involved in the industry.

“I remember in about 1993, 1994, I got asked to do a talk for the Institution of Electrical Engineers,” he says. “Somebody asked me at the end where I saw turbines going in the future, and I said: ‘Well, within 20 years I reckon they’ll be offshore and at somewhere in the region of five to 10 MW capacity.’ I was thoroughly laughed at. But that turned out to be exactly where it’s gone.”

So, what predictions does he make for the future of wind and renewable energy in general? “Relatively small-scale solar and wind, in combination with battery storage, will slowly, totally transform how electricity is used, moved and generated in the UK,” he says. “It wouldn’t surprise me if the model of very large, centralised generation becomes a bit of a white elephant within 15 to 20 years.”

By which time, the Delabole wind farm will hopefully be celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Pivot Power and Powersystems start work on battery storage site to support, more flexible grid

Pivot Power and Powersystems start work on battery storage site to support, more flexible grid

Powersystems are delighted to be working again with Pivot Power, EDF Renewables on another remarkable project creating greener grid energy and accelerating the UK’s drive to Net Zero.  It will replicate core elements of Pivot Power’s Energy Superhub Oxford project, one of the most ambitious urban decarbonisation projects undertaken in the UK to date which combines a cutting-edge 50 MW hybrid battery with Europe’s most powerful electric vehicle (EV) charging network.

Pivot Power, part of EDF Renewables, has broken ground on a grid-scale battery storage facility in Sandwell, northwest of Birmingham. Connected to the transmission network at National Grid’s Bustleholme substation, the site will help to create a greener energy grid and accelerate the UK’s drive to net zero.

The 50 MW/100 MWh lithium-ion battery will store enough electricity to power over 100,000 homes for 2 hours[1]. It will support the integration of more renewable energy and increase the resiliency of the electricity system by automatically charging and discharging to balance supply and demand and manage intermittency.

The Sandwell site forms an integral part of Pivot Power’s Energy Superhub network, designed to deliver up to 2 GW of transmission-connected battery storage and high-volume power connections across the UK.

Sandwell will be one of the first communities in the country to benefit from this unique infrastructure investment, which will reduce the region’s carbon emissions, improve air quality, and support sustainable economic growth.

Alongside a similar site in Coventry, which is due to begin construction in early 2022, it will replicate core elements of Pivot Power’s Energy Superhub Oxford project, one of the most ambitious urban decarbonisation projects undertaken in the UK to date which combines a cutting-edge 50 MW hybrid battery with Europe’s most powerful electric vehicle (EV) charging network.

Matt Allen, CEO of Pivot Power, said: “The movement towards zero carbon energy is unstoppable and our technology provides the lynchpin to bring that to scale. Renewable energy and battery storage are complementary, interconnected and interdependent – we must have both to achieve net zero. Our project at Sandwell will help to create the essential infrastructure for the UK to accelerate net zero.”

The site will also help to supercharge the West Midlands’ green transport revolution by creating the power infrastructure for mass-scale, rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging. Once work has been completed on the battery, Pivot Power plans to install a private-wire network, creating the power infrastructure to deliver large amounts of power for rapid EV charging to strategic locations in the local area, from public charging hubs to bus depots and commercial fleets.

Councillor Steve Melia, West Bromwich Town Lead at Sandwell Council, said: “Sandwell Council is committed to supporting renewable energy and empowering our community to live greener, more sustainable lives. Pivot Power’s site enables us to reach that goal, helping to support more renewable energy and meet the burgeoning demand for electric vehicle charging. The site is at the heart of a vibrant infrastructure area, made up of transport hubs, garages and service stations, and will help to create a more sustainable transport network.”

The start of work at the Sandwell site caps off an active year for Pivot Power, which has already seen the activation of two 50 MW/50 MWh lithium-ion battery storage systems, in Cowley, Oxford, and Kemsley, Kent. Both systems are directly connected to National Grid’s high-voltage transmission networks and form part of Pivot Power’s plans to deploy up to 40 similar sites throughout the UK.

Pivot Power’s portfolio supports EDF Group’s ambition to become Europe’s leading e-mobility energy company by 2023 and forms a key pillar of its plan to develop an additional 10GW of battery storage globally by 2035.

Battery storage is essential to enable greater use of renewable energy and meet the UK Government’s target to decarbonise the country’s electricity system by 2035. According to National Grid’s Future Energy Scenario for 2021, up to 13 GW of electricity storage will be required in the UK by 2030 to support the increased installation of renewable generation.

Roisin Quinn, Director of Customer Connections at National Grid Electricity Transmission, said: “We’re working hard to connect innovative technology such as this Pivot Power project to our network, using new techniques and approaches to ensure they can connect directly to the high voltage system.

 “Electricity Storage, especially projects directly connected to the transmission system, can help manage peaks and troughs in demand for electricity – making the electricity system more efficient and keeping costs down for consumers too.”

[1] Assumes full 2 hour discharge of 50 MW and average annual domestic consumption of 3772 kWh.


World’s largest offshore wind farm moves step closer after clearing final key milestone

World’s largest offshore wind farm moves step closer after clearing final key milestone

The world’s largest offshore wind farm has moved a step closer after passing the last important milestone for the project’s delivery.

Joint venture partners SSE Renewables and Equinor have reached financial close on Dogger Bank Wind Farm C, the third phase of the vast North Sea wind facility which is due to complete in March 2026.

Due to its size and scale, Dogger Bank is being built in three consecutive 1.2 gigawatt (GW) phases. When completed, the wind farm, located off the north east coast of England, will have the capacity to power some six million UK homes.

SSE Renewables, part of Scottish energy giant SSE, and Equinor are already constructing the first two phases of Dogger Bank with Eni, joint venture partner on phases A and B.

Located off the north east coast of England, Dogger Bank Wind Farm in the North Sea is being built in three phases and will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world when operational, with an overall capacity of some 3.6 gigawatts.

Now, with financial close being reached on the project’s third phase, the wind farm has passed the last key milestone ahead of its construction delivery programme.

Total investment will be around £9 billion, of which some £3bn is for phase C, including offshore transmission capital expenditure in the range of £900 million to £1bn.

Dogger Bank A and B is a joint venture between SSE Renewables (40 per cent), Equinor (40 per cent) and Eni (20 per cent). At the start of last month, SSE and Equinor announced the sell down of a combined 20 per cent share in Dogger Bank C to Eni (10 per cent each) for a total consideration of £140m.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE chief executive, said: “It is a fantastic achievement to be reaching financial close on the third phase of the world’s largest offshore wind project, just weeks after COP26 concluded in Glasgow and today marks an important early milestone in the delivery of our own Net Zero Acceleration Programme.

“Our plans will enable delivery of over 25 per cent of the UK’s 2030 40 GW offshore wind target, whilst also expanding overseas, delivering over 20 per cent of upcoming UK electricity networks investment and deploying the critical flexibility technologies to provide security of supply.

“Construction is well underway on the first two phases of Dogger Bank with work on the third phase already progressing and we look forward to this ramping up in the new year.”

Pål Eitrheim of Equinor added: “Reaching financial close on the third phase of Dogger Bank is a significant milestone as it demonstrates that we are on track with developing what will become the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

“The extensive interest from lenders underpins the attractiveness of UK offshore wind assets and the confidence in SSE and Equinor as developers. The level of interest achieved reflects the quality of the project and enables strong return on equity.”

The news comes just weeks after Perth-headquartered SSE outlined plans to invest a bumper £12.5bn over the next five years as it looks to accelerate its net zero plans.

The firm said the move makes it the biggest constructor of offshore wind in the world and will increase the amount of renewable energy produced by four gigawatts over the period.

EU countries struggle to unify response to energy price spike

EU countries struggle to unify response to energy price spike

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -France, Spain and several others stepped up calls to reform European Union’s energy market rules to cope with high prices but faced a challenge from a rival group of states including Germany as energy ministers met on Thursday.

European energy prices surged to record highs this autumn amid tight supplies and high demand for gas from global economies recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Prices have retreated from October peaks but remain elevated.

Most EU countries have already used temporary measures to shield consumers from higher bills, including energy tax cuts and subsidies for households. Together, the EU estimates those measures add up to more than 3.4 billion euros.

But EU states are split over their longer-term response.

Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and six other states said before Thursday’s meeting that they opposed EU energy market reforms. Price caps or switching to a different system to set national power prices could discourage electricity trade between countries and undermine incentives to build more low-cost renewables, they said.

Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Romania responded with a call to change EU rules to protect consumers from price swings. They also want joint gas buying by EU states to form strategic reserves and an investigation to identify reforms to the bloc’s electricity market.

The European Commission said it would propose a framework to enable joint procurement of strategic gas stocks, as part of a proposal to upgrade EU gas market legislation, due on Dec. 14.

Energy commissioner Kadri Simson said improvements also were needed in power interconnectors and the flexibility of Europe’s electricity grids. “Work on all these issues is ongoing,” she said.

A report last month by EU energy regulators did not identify major issues with the bloc’s power market design. An investigation by the EU securities watchdog said there was no proof of market abuse in the EU carbon market.

The findings were criticised on Thursday by some countries which want curbs on financial speculation in the carbon market, which they say have helped push CO2 permit prices to record highs.

“We can no longer pretend that the ETS (Emissions Trading System) is a perfectly functioning system … it requires a deep reform,” Polish climate minister Anna Moskwa said.

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