SPR calls for ‘forward-looking, cohesive’ UK wind policy

SPR calls for ‘forward-looking, cohesive’ UK wind policy

ScottishPower Renewables chief executive Lindsay McQuade has called for a “forward-looking” and “cohesive” wind policy approach to support UK wind.

Speaking at the start of UK Wind Week 2020, she said ‘that while many of the building blocks are in place” a joined-up approach was needed “across planning, grid, supply chain and energy policy”. She said that would “help us deliver the outcomes that will benefit the environment, aid the transition to green transport and heating, and support the economy by catalysing investment, creating green jobs, and firmly marking out the UK’s position as a global leader in wind”.

“Action now will make a real difference – not just in the long-term, but in the here and now – as we work to achieve a resilient, green and sustainable economic recovery that will help us meet net zero,” she added.

McQuade  said the week was a chance to “celebrate the fabulous natural resource we have in Great Britain and its central role in shaping a low-carbon energy system”  that could help deliver a green recovery and support ambitious climate targets towards net zero.

She said increasing renewables to support an “all-electric future” was central to these targets, adding: “while that may sound straightforward, in practice it means quadrupling generation from renewable sources output across the UK in the coming decades, with wind generation doing the heavy lifting”.

Onshore, offshore and floating wind each presented significant opportunities “the length and breadth of the country”, she added.

Onshore is the lowest cost and most proven “means of delivering rapid decarbonisation at scale” within investment in it making “perfect sense” and delivering jobs and community benefits.

“The onshore wind farms ScottishPower will be investing in will be cutting-edge – embracing innovative solutions and the latest technologies to allow hybridisation with solar PV and battery storage, so that green energy will produce electricity and also have an effective role in supporting a resilient and flexible electricity grid system.”

She said that would allow use of natural resources and existing grid connections to be optimised, generation maximised, and deliver cost-effective electricity, and highlighted SPR’s plans to invest over £3.7bn in the five years to 2025, doubling its renewables capacity.

She added: “This includes construction of around 2.1GW of innovative onshore wind, solar PV and battery storage projects across the UK, some of which will be hybrid ‘energy parks’, as well as developing our plans for a 3.1GW offshore East Anglia Hub.

“A further 3GW of onshore projects are also being progressed as part of our pipeline beyond 2025.”

She said: “We estimate it will support more than 7000 jobs in a range of occupations – we will need technicians, project managers, engineers, analysts, lawyers, and even ecologists to make this happen.

“The range of career opportunities presented by investing in wind generation is exciting and inspiring for those considering how they want to make a contribution to a better future, quicker.

“With billions of pounds of investment supporting an extensive supply chain, creating thousands of jobs, and delivering economic and social benefits to local people, businesses and communities, the UK needs to grasp the opportunity and work to establish the policies and frameworks from which these outcomes can be achieved – all with the goal of Net Zero in mind.”

20% VAT cut on electric vehicles proposed to increase uptake

20% VAT cut on electric vehicles proposed to increase uptake

Industry body the SMMT wants 20% VAT cut as concerns grow that majority of car-buying public aren’t ready to switch to an electric car…

A call to scrap VAT on electric cars have been made to encourage uptake following a What Car? survey of car buyers which revealed that 59% do not agree in principle with the ending of petrol and diesel-powered car sales from 2030.

The call by car industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), followed concerns raised by its chief executive Mike Hawes that, while car makers had developed compelling electric cars, the vast majority of the buying public was not purchasing them.

Hawes said: “We are being asked to go from about 15% of the market to 100% being electrified in nine years – that’s a speedy transition. An incentive would accelerate that transition.

“We can see that globally, in other markets, other markets are putting considerable incentives to drive consumer uptake and we must do more. Removing VAT is one idea that we have proposed.”

BMW i3s charging cable

A 20% discount on a £30,000 car would equate to a £6000 saving – double the maximum £3000 currently available. Electric cars around this price point include the Kia e-NiroNissan Leaf and recently launched Volkswagen ID3. France and Germany are among the nations offering the most generous electric car incentives at present, with up to 9000 euro (£8000) off list prices possible.

What Car?’s survey of 7778 visitors to its website also revealed that 20% did not understand what vehicle they could buy from 2030 on, with confusion around the different types of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric technology, The biggest barrier to adoption, cited by 40% of respondents, was a need to expand the charging network. However, 20% did say  they were more likely to buy an electric car next following last week’s announcement of a 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars.

“We need consumers to accept change is happening,” said Hawes. “As an industry we face pressures to hit CO2 targets, and as a nation we have committed to the same. But we need the consumer to take up the technologies we develop in order to realise the changes that are being sought.”

Electric Cars for the Royal Air Force

Electric Cars for the Royal Air Force

Electric vehicles have arrived at two Royal Air Force (RAF) stations in the UK.

The Mechanical Transport (MT) sections at RAF Leeming and RAF Wittering have received six and five Peugeot e-208 cars respectively.

The vehicles are part of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) programme and they are supplied under a ‘white-fleet’ contract.

“This is absolutely the right thing for us to do,” said Flight Sergeant Darren Lewis, who manages RAF Wittering’s vehicles and its military and civilian drivers.

He also added that the Northamptonshire station is also going to receive “two fully electric vans” which will be used to move goods and equipment in a “cleaner way”.

Group Captain Jo Lincoln, Station Commander at RAF Wittering, said she is “delighted” for their MT section.

“I am very happy that we are embracing this technology and reducing our emissions,” she said.

“It’s an exciting time to be getting these electric vehicles and ensuring we are sustainable is so important.”

Mechanical Transport Officer at RAF Leeming, Warrant Officer Russ Sanders, with electric cars 241120 CREDIT RAF.jpg
Warrant Officer Russ Sanders with the new electric cars at RAF Leeming 

The MT sections are taking a practical approach to how the cars will be used.

One vehicle has been assigned to the station’s environmental health technicians and the others will be allocated to other tasks within their range.

Warrant Officer Russ Sanders, MT Officer at RAF Leeming, said the North Yorkshire station is the only one with “rapid charging pods”.

“We are at the forefront of reducing pollution by removing diesel assets from the road whilst maintaining station output and the Defence Task.”

Charging requirements aside, the electric cars can do everything required from conventional vehicles of comparable size.

The MOD’s target is to have electric vehicles making up 25% of its white fleet by 2023. White fleet describes civilian vehicles – the cars, vans, and lorries that would not ordinarily have a military role.

UK doubles down on renewables with 12 GW Contracts For Difference Round Four (CfD4)

UK doubles down on renewables with 12 GW Contracts For Difference Round Four (CfD4)

UK Energy Ministry BEIS will allocate supports for up to 12 GW of new renewables projects at its Contracts for Difference Round Four (CfD4) auction which will open late next year.

The round will feature three pots for different technologies, which will all compete for 15-year government subsidies. The 12 GW capacity is over twice as large as 2019’s 5.8GW CfD3.

  • Offshore wind will have its own standalone ‘Pot 3’, in line with plans mooted during consultations on the round earlier this year.
  • ‘Pot 1’ will comprise established technologies including onshore wind and solar – marking the first time since 2015 these two technologies can bid for supports.

Scottish Renewables policy director Morag Wilson said the association welcomed the CfD scheme and its inclusion of onshore wind and the dedicated pot for offshore wind and support for innovative technologies such as floating wind.

Wilson added: “However, differences between Scotland and the rest of the UK need to be accounted for in all areas to ensure there is a level playing field for Scottish projects, particularly the disproportionate impact transmission charging costs pose for Scottish projects.

“Not addressing these disadvantages will hamper progress towards a geographically diverse energy system and reaching the level of deployment needed to achieve net zero.”

Solar Trade Association chief executive Chris Hewett said: “Today’s announcement opens the door to significant numbers of subsidy-free solar projects being developed over the next few years.

“Many responses, including our own, highlighted the merit of having more frequent auctions, and this is something that the Government must implement if it is to maximise the economic and climate potential of renewables.

“Large solar projects can be deployed rapidly, offering a swift, job intensive contribution to a green economic recovery.”

  • Next year’s auction will also be the first time floating offshore wind can compete.
  • Floating projects will be placed in a ‘Pot 2’ for less established technologies alongside Advanced Conversion Technologies and tidal stream.

Former coal stations converted to biomass generation will be excluded from the round.

“The UK is a world leader in clean energy, with over a third of our electricity now coming from renewables,” said UK Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng.

“That huge achievement is thanks to the government’s Contracts for Difference scheme.”

Kwarteng said CfD4 will build on the ‘Ten Point Plan’ for a low-carbon future that was outlined by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week.

“The new plans…put us firmly on the path towards building a new, green industrial revolution,” he said.

The Government will meanwhile launch a fresh consultation on new proposals for the supply chain plan mechanism in a bid to boost local content levels.

The proposals are designed to increase the clarity, ambition and measurability of commitments made by renewable project developers when they bid for contracts in the CfD scheme, and to introduce new measures if they subsequently fail to deliver on those commitments.

“Next year’s renewable power auctions can unlock over £20bn of new investment in the economy and secure an unprecedented amount of low cost, clean electricity for consumers using the full range of renewable technologies we have available,” said RenewableUK chief executive Hugh McNeal.

McNeal welcomed the round’s inclusion of onshore wind.

“As one of our lowest cost, large scale power options, onshore wind has a vital role to play in meeting the challenge of net zero and the re-opening of CfD auctions is an important step to ramp up investment in this key technology,” he said.

Plan for Dubai-style artificial island in Swansea Bay

Plan for Dubai-style artificial island in Swansea Bay

A global consortium is said to be backing plans to create an artificial island in Swansea Bay that would offer housing and generate renewable energy.

The ambition is to create a Dubai-style island that would offer housing, while also using it as a site to harness wind and solar power as well as tidal energy from a surrounding tidal barrier lagoon containing water turbines.

The consortium behind the Dragon Energy Island development has not yet been publicly revealed.

Welsh innovation group DST, which is working to bring the plan to life, said the members would be revealed in early 2021 when a full schedule of proposals is published.

DST, the driving force behind the consortium, is the inventors of ground-breaking large scale battery technology enabling efficient and sustainable energy storage.

The energy storage capabilities are vital to the success of the Dragon Energy Island, solving the problem of storing the energy created by natural power.

“We’re delighted our technology can be utilised in a project of this magnitude.

“Our products are designed in Wales and this is an amazing opportunity for us to harness the wonderful natural resources we have in our home nation and unlock the abundance of innovation and talent we hold here” said a DST spokesperson.

Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council said “Swansea bay offers an unprecedented opportunity to deliver the world’s first truly integrated tidal energy project.

“This project has the potential to spur a new industry not just for Swansea but for Wales and the UK.

“The impacts on employment and our local economy are set to be significant and perfectly timed as we address the post-covid economy.

“We remain 100% committed to seeing the project delivered in Swansea and are grateful for all of the efforts made by DST to bring together such a strong consortium of organisations with a proven track record of success.”

2020 New Apprentices at Powersystems 

2020 New Apprentices at Powersystems 

Powersystems has just completed its 2020 apprenticeship programme and welcomes two new recruits, Archie Whiteford and Sam Lewis.   They will undergo on-site training coupled with block release at college to achieve a recognised qualification as an Electrician.

Powersystems Welcomes Archie Whiteford  

Apprenticeships Programme at Powersystems

Powersystems is committed to training local talent and providing good career opportunities.  Powersystems offers a three year apprenticeships programme followed by a two year Powersystems training scheme to become an Approved Electrician.



Powersystems Welcomes Sam Lewis 

What Are Apprenticeships Programmes?

Apprenticeship programmes are occupational training programmes that combine on-the-job work experience with technical or classroom study. Such programmes are designed to develop useful job skills in individuals entering the work force. These programmes, which are designed to address the need for better trained entry-level workers and help young people make the transition from school to the work world.

Powersystems maintain a thriving apprenticeship programme.



Is an Apprenticeships Programme Ideal for you?

Apprenticeships are ideal if you have a clear idea of the career you’d like to pursue, and you’re willing to commit to work and study. Unlike in school, at college or on a traditional degree course, the majority of your learning will be through on-the-job training in your place of work.

To be considered for an apprenticeships programme in England​, you need to be:

  • aged 16 or over
  • living in England
  • not in full-time education

Apprenticeships would suit someone who:

  • has a clear idea of the type of career they wish to pursue
  • is willing to commit to work and study, but would prefer a more practical and work-related approach to learning
  • is ready to start work with an employer, and be based in the workplace most of the time
  • is well organised and able to cope with the competing demands of work and academic study at the same time
  • is ready to be assessed through a mix of assignments and written work, including essays, reports, practical exercises, end tests, and exams

No matter what kind of career you want to follow, you need to do your research and find out if you can reach your career goals through an apprenticeship, or if you need/would prefer to study full-time at university or college.

Apprenticeships aren’t the ‘easy’ option. Holding down a full-time job and studying takes commitment and hard work, and it won’t be right for everyone.  You’ll need to prove yourself in the workplace, while getting to grips with studying for a higher level qualification. You’ll be expected to achieve academically and at work, managing your time and adjusting to longer hours, with fewer holidays than at school, college, or university. You might have to travel or relocate to find the right opportunity for you.

For more information for 2021 call us on 01454 318 000


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