Alok Sharma in Glasgow last Friday
Standing amidst the turning turbines at Whitelee Wind Farm, the COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma explained how critical the COP26 UN climate summit is for building a cleaner, greener, future He described it as “the last hope of keeping 1.5C alive” adding “coal must go”.
As The Guardian says in a long report: “He outlined how the UK is striving to make sure these two weeks are the moment that every country and every part of society embraces their responsibility to protect our planet.”
It quoted Alok Sharma saying: “I have always been very clear that this should be the most inclusive COP ever. I have been travelling around the world and it is very clear to me that people want to see a physical COP, in particular developing countries want this to be face to face.”
The report explained that Alok Sharma is working with health experts, the Scottish Government and other officials on the best way to ensure the two-week conference, which 30,000 people were originally expected to attend, can go ahead.
The Glasgow Evening Times reports: “Speaking to reporters after his speech, the former Business Secretary could not commit to saying whether all representatives would be vaccinated for the event. He said: “We are working our way through in terms of Covid-secure measures and vaccines will be considered but can’t commit to that right now. We understand the importance of the question of the safety of people in Glasgow.”
2020: A great year for renewables says IEA
Renewable sources of electricity such as wind and solar grew at their fastest rate in two decades in 2020 and are set to expand in coming years at a much faster pace than prior to the pandemic, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency. The growth in Europe and the United States will be even brisker than previously forecast, compensating for China’s transitional slowdown after exceptional 2020 growth.
According to the IEA’s latest market update, the amount of renewable electricity capacity added in 2020 rose by 45% in 2020 to 280 gigawatts (GW), the largest year-on-year increase since 1999. That extra power is equal to the total installed capacity of ASEAN, a grouping of 10 dynamic South-East Asian economies.
The increase in 2020 is set to become the “new normal”, with about 270 GW of renewable capacity on course to be added in 2021 and almost 280 GW in 2022, despite a slowdown in China after an exceptional level of additions last year.
Closer to home – great year for Scotland
Scotland has seen the largest increase in renewable pipeline capacity in the past year of all regions across Great Britain, according to Cornwall Insight’s renewables pipeline tracker.
Using regions defined by distribution network operator (DNO) service areas and accounting for projects due to connect to the transmission network, central and southern Scotland and eastern England have seen the largest increase with 1003MW and 800MW of additional pipeline capacity added, respectively.
Back to Scotland…. “Scotland has seen the largest increase in onshore wind, particularly in central and southern Scotland. Other areas have seen proportionally smaller changes in total capacity within the last year.
“Onshore wind is overwhelmingly located in Scotland likely due to a more supportive planning framework and wider factors such as wind speed conditions and land access.”
The report also highlights “Offshore wind also has large capacity levels in Scotland” and moving on to battery storage: “east/south eastern regions and Scotland are seeing the largest increases to the pipeline”.
The move to decarbonise industry gathers pace
The Scottish Cluster, led by a cross-sector group of Scottish industrial CO2 emitters and the Acorn CCS and Hydrogen Project Partners, has been established as a unification and collaboration of Scottish industries, communities and businesses, calling on the Scottish and UK Governments to deliver the actions needed so that CCS, hydrogen and other low carbon technologies, can enable the decarbonisation of Scottish and UK industry and facilitate a low carbon economy. The Scottish Cluster launched the “Back the Scottish Cluster” Campaign on 13 May.
The cluster brings together key stakeholders from across Scotland and key industries in the Scottish economy including whisky, transport, technology, infrastructure, chemicals, energy, real estate, manufacturing, academia, communities and the public sector creating a unified voice making the case for CCS, hydrogen and low carbon technologies in Scotland’s decarbonisation pathway.
Clusters, including the Scottish Cluster features in one of the All-Energy/Dcarbonise March 2021 webinars ‘Decarbonising the UK’s industry: A path to net zero” available (like all 30 of our webinars) for on demand viewing.
Another highly successful university spin-out
Over the years there have been some impressive university spin-outs, the latest is Kenoteq, from Heriot-Watt University. They have just been awarded £1 million Zero Waste Scotland funding to commercialise production of their revolutionary brick made of recycled construction waste to more than two million bricks per year.
The K-Briq is made from over 90% recycled demolition and construction waste materials. It produces a tenth of the CO2 emissions of a traditional fired brick and requires less than a tenth of the energy in its manufacture. They will be used to build this year’s Serpentine Pavilion, which has been designed by South African architecture studio Counterspace reports dezeen.
The Circular Economy Investment Fund, administered by Zero Waste Scotland with funding from the European Regional Development Fund and the Scottish Government, offers investment for SMEs based in Scotland and supports innovative work that will deliver circular economy growth. If you’d like to find out more about the fund, details are at
Government support needed for deep geothermal sector
The Government has been urged to provide targeted support for the deep geothermal sector to aid the ‘green recovery’ and help deliver a ‘world leading’ industry.
The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) and ARUP have published their ‘Deep Geothermal Energy: Economic Decarbonisation Opportunities for the United Kingdom’ report which underlines the environmental and economic potential of deep geothermal. It has the backing of over 30 businesses, academics, NGOs and industry experts.
The report estimates that, should the Government establish a Geothermal Development Incentive, 12 deep geothermal projects could be operational by 2025, creating 1,300 jobs and generating more than £100 million of investment, predominately in towns and cities in the North of England, Midlands and South-West. h
EMEC and Verdant chalk up a world first
The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) has completed an independent power performance assessment for Verdant Power’s New York tidal power array at the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) site. The report confirms active power during the 39-day test period, over tides, output was 187 kW at 2.5 m/s peak flood tide and turbines performed at over 99% availability. Overall water-to-wire efficiencies reached over 46%.
This is the world’s first marine energy Renewable Energy Test Report (RETR) and follows EMEC becoming the world’s first International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Renewable Energy Testing Laboratory (RETL) for ocean energy in August 2020.
It is also the first United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) ISO/IEC 17025 accredited power performance assessment to be completed by EMEC at a site outside the centre’s own test facilities in Orkney, Scotland.