The leaders of the G7 countries – the UK, the US, Japan, Canada, France, Germany, Italy – and the EU will meet in Cornwall on Friday
Top of the agenda will be the global economy, Covid-19 vaccines, taxes on business, and the climate crisis. No doubt there will be an increasing amount of news as we build up to Friday. Here’s one from last week to start the ball rolling.
‘The Treasury missed a green trick when it handed out Covid cash’, The Guardian headline for a story by Philip Inman declared. “When the government reacted to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 with unprecedented rescue funds, ministers were urged to attach strings before the money disappeared out the door” he wrote.
“The strings would have forced employers to adopt policies they had resisted for years, most obviously cutting carbon emissions and promoting a healthier environment.” It’s an interesting read in the week that the G7 comes to Cornwall.
In time for G7 there has been an interesting development at London’s Heathrow airport which plans to use sustainable jet fuel as part of the G7’s summit. At the back end of last week as deliveries of the SAF (sustainable aviation fuel) began, Heathrow, the Finnish company Neste (who produced the fuel) and oil trader Vitol explained that the fuel is made solely from renewable and sustainable materials such as cooking oil and animal fat. Use of the new fuel will see up to an 89% cut in greenhouse gas emissions.
After expressing delight that Heathrow is the first UK major airport to successfully incorporate SAFs, John Holland-Kaye, the airport’s CEO said: “Now is the time for less talk and more action and Ministers should set an escalating mandate to blend SAF into fuel and provide incentives that are stable over 5-10 years to foster investment in production, with a target of 10% by 2030 and at least 50% by 2050.”
G7 is the first of two major inter-governmental events being held in the UK this year. The other is of course the UN’s COP26 in November.
Last week the governments of the 23 countries responsible for more than 90% of global investment in clean energy innovation, announced the good news that they had come together to invest $250 billion (£177bn) into clean energy research and development across the next decade. Their investment is part of the second phase of the Mission Innovation Initiative which was launched alongside the Paris Agreement in 2015 at the end of COP21.
The drive for local supply
The drive is well and truly on to ensure that more companies in the supply chain across Scotland benefit from the expansion of offshore wind. To this end, Scottish Enterprise has appointed global energy consultancy Xodus Group to the role of Offshore Wind Cluster Builder to develop and grow the offshore wind supply chain across Scotland.
The Offshore Wind Cluster Builder will support Scotland’s existing offshore wind clusters, DeepWind and Forth and Tay Offshore, in their remit to foster collaboration, drive competitiveness and improve productivity in Scottish offshore wind.
The project will do this by delivering a range of services to SMEs including 1:1 support, events, workshops and market intelligence, as well as facilitating collaboration between SMEs and academia.
Scottish Enterprise head of low carbon transition Andy McDonald said: “The Offshore Wind Cluster Builder will be an important project to support the development and growth of the offshore wind supply chain across Scotland.
“SMEs will have access to services to collaborate, grow and secure business within the offshore wind industry locally, nationally and internationally leveraging Scottish capabilities to strengthen the offshore wind supply chain for a sustainable industry and net zero future economy.
“The new project will align with the work of DeepWind and Forth Tay Offshore to ensure Scotland benefits from the many opportunities presented by offshore wind.”
The Energy Industries Council (EIC) also had a UK supply chain story to announce. Theirs was about the creation of a new UK Energy Supply Chain (UKESC) taskforce, to be co-chaired by DIT Minister for Exports Graham Stuart, BEIS Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan and EIC CEO Stuart Broadley.
In a move which underpins the crucial role that the UK’s energy supply chain will play in helping the UK government to achieve their 2050 net zero ambitions, UKESC has been developed to help ensure that UK companies can more readily transition to the green economy.
Key to this will be to nurture the key technologies, skills and capacity that thousands of businesses have, and to identify and support the rapid growth of competitive new capabilities to meet future energy needs.
There’s good news too on the blades side of things. Last week it was news of GE Renewables’ UK factory plans, this week it is about blades for the SSE Renewables’ Seagreen project. SSE has confirmed that 87% of the blades for the 1075MW project will be produced in the UK.
Of the 114 V164 blade sets to be installed at Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm, 99 will be produced by Vestas domestically for installation off the Angus coast by the end of 2022.
Production by Vestas is currently underway for the Seagreen project at its blade factory and R&D centre on the Isle of Wight.
And an export story to celebrate
Scotland’s Livingstone-based FoundOcean has won a major new export contract to provide the foundation grouting for a 100-turbine offshore wind farm in Taiwan. International Trade Minister Graham Stuart made the announcement for the contract, which was secured following financial support from UK Export Finance (UKEF), the government’s export credit agency.
From offshore wind to waste-to-hydrogen
Plans have been unveiled for a £20 million green energy plant on the River Clyd, The Herald revealed last week.
Peel NRE, part of Peel L&P which with Peel Ports is part of the Peel Group, said it is planning to develop a waste-to-hydrogen facility which will be the first of its kind in Scotland developed by Powerhouse Energy Group.
The facility, at Rothesay Dock on the north bank of the River Clyde, West Dunbartonshire, will take non-recyclable plastics, destined for landfill, incineration or export overseas, and use them to create a local source of sustainable hydrogen.
Turbines to make passers-by smile
Tulips-shaped turbines could help harness the power of the wind, after a green energy company came up with its own spin on wind power in an “eco-art” design.
Flower Turbines, based in the US and the Netherlands, has installations across Rotterdam, Amsterdam, parts of Germany, Israel and Colombia. The company aims to democratise green energy for everyone and make small windfarms a leading player in the green energy industry…. and at the same time perhaps raise a smile.