Scottish port receives £49m to develop renewables offering

Scottish port receives £49m to develop renewables offering

The Scottish Government has announced £49m in funding for the development of a new deep water terminal in the Outer Hebrides for berthing and unloading facilities for renewable energy components.

It is expected that more than 200 jobs will be created through the Stornoway Deep Water Terminal.

Scottish Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said the investment from a number of partners was to strengthen transport links and support a range of diverse industries in the Western Isles.

The project will also include a facility for berthing cruise ships up to 360 metres long, a new deep water berth to cater for larger cargo vessels, and a freight ferry berth.

There will also be development land for a range of uses such as industrial processes and decommissioning.

Ewing said: “This transformational project, which will put Stornoway in pole position to take advantage of emerging technologies such as hydrogen, is the culmination of dedicated partnership working between local partners, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the Scottish Government to create a development of real value to communities.

“This is a great example of the blue economy in action, as it is creating infrastructure in our islands which can benefit a range of marine industries and coastal communities, helping Scotland build back better from the pandemic and make the transition to net zero through the creation of a stronger, more resilient, sustainable economy.”

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar leader councillor Roddie Mackay added: “Our ambition is that the Deep Water Terminal will be a driver and catalyst for a series of new activities such as the creation of a hydrogen-driven energy hub and as a future base for renewable energy deployments west of the Hebrides.

“The Comhairle’s significant investment to Stornoway Port Authority will not only secure the present development project but will also facilitate a route to further value-added development opportunity.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.”

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Onshore work starts for 3.6 GW Dogger Bank

Onshore work starts for 3.6 GW Dogger Bank

Subcontractor Jones Bros Civil Engineering has begun the first section of earthworks for the converter stations for the 3.6 GW Dogger Bank offshore wind farm.

The converter stations, south of Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire, will receive an AC current via the cables from the wind turbines and convert it to a DC current before sending it to the National Grid.

Jones Bros has also started ducting activities on the high voltage DC cable route from Ulrome to Beverley for the Dogger Bank A and Dogger Bank B projects.

Dogger Bank will be located more than 130km off the Yorkshire coast in the North Sea and is being developed in three 1.2GW phases by joint venture partners SSE Renewables and Equinor.

The project is the first wind farm in the world to use HVDC technology, due to its distance from shore.

The HVDC route comprises of 30km of ducting with trenches totalling 120km for ducting and cables.

Horizontal directional drilling is also taking place to install the cabling ducting beneath existing structures, including roads, railways, canals, common land and rivers with minimal disruption.

Jones Bros is also continuing to build access tracks, with 13km in place since the civil engineering contractor started on site earlier in the year.

The full works are expected to take two and a half years to complete. Jones Bros contracts director Garod Evans said: “We have more than 30 horizontal drills to carry out, which includes building a drilling pit to allow our supply chain partner Johnston Trenchless Solutions, also UK based, to operate.

“The horizontal drilling method will be used on multiple roads, canals, a river and a railway line to avoid unnecessary disruption.

“The team are also carrying out earthworks and drainage ahead of the installation of the convertor station platform where the cables will run to.”

Dogger Bank Wind Farm project manager Ollie Flattery said: “Jones Brothers have done a fantastic job getting project construction underway in such challenging circumstances, whilst ensuring those working on site, as well as the community in which they are operating are kept safe.

“We look forward to continuing working with Jones Brothers on the project in the months ahead as we develop the innovative infrastructure needed to provide clean energy for millions of UK households.”

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