SSE is to reduce turbine numbers and redesign the layout at its proposed up to 115MW Doraville wind farm in Northern Ireland.
The utility-developer is to file the new plans with Belfast’s Department for Infrastructure in response to a request for further planning information for the Tyrone project. A reduction in turbine numbers from 36 to 33 is being envisaged, as is a new hardware layout plan. SSE is to kick-off a further round of public consultation on the changes.
It first unveiled the project – that is yet to secure planning approval – in 2014. SSE community liaison officer Vicky Boden said the company has made the “important revisions” after “listening to suggestions and concerns” raised during planning. “We believe this new design responds to those concerns, providing the maximum environmental protection balanced with delivering the best proposal that can go forward to help all of us meet the challenge of climate change,” she added.
On Landsvirkjun’s (The National Power Company of Iceland) promotional meeting they announced their will to develop further ideas about founding windmill parks in Iceland. Althingi (The National Parliament) has one area for those parks on a waiting list within a Master Plan for Nature Protection and Energy Utilization which was accepted 14th of January 2013. Another area, Blöndulundur is again on a utilization list within the Master Plan mentioned above.
Hörður Arnarson the CEO of Landsvirkjun is of the opinion that electricity from wind could easily become the third electricity source that adds to hydro and geothermal heat. He claims that on Iceland the conditions for utilizing wind is in highest category worldwide when it comes to utilizing each windmill. Today the utilizing rate is 50% in Iceland as for only 28% globally.
Furthermore Hörður states production price is decreasing and costs parallel to geothermal heat.
As mentioned above there are certain hindrance when it comes to places. Blöndulundur for example has negative aspects as the transport route of power therefrom is quite limited and adding the third power plant there would call for further reinforcement of the transport route.
Great contribution to the climate issues
Hörður would be interested in installing 50 windmill park in Iceland with the power of 10-20 Megawatt each. The big issue today is the visual part according to Hörður. Both windmills and power lines are more visual than for example Hydro Power plants which are more adapted to nature.
Finally, Hörður talks about the future in solar and wind power. Both of these sources of power is well applicable today as the technique has gone through huge development as can be seen in many places globally, where these power sources are the most inexpensive ones.
Following on from previous world leading climate change targets the Scottish Government has announced dramatic new emissions targets. Having met a 42% reduction target set for 2020 six years early the SNP administration has announced a 66% cut by the year 2020.
The striking new strategy, expected to cost £3bn a year is closely linked to a new renewable energy programme, which will be published later this month.
The draft climate change plan will call for sector specific targets for 2032 including a fully decarbonised electricity sector and a domestic heating sector with 80% of its heat coming from low carbon sources.
The transport sector will be decarbonised with 30% of Scotland’s publicly owned ferries being powered by hybrid engines, 50% of all buses being low carbon and 40% of all new cars and vans sold in Scotland being ultra-low emissions.
Roseanna Cunningham, the Scottish environment secretary has said that the proposals “represent a new level of ambition which will help maintain Scotland’s reputation as a climate leader within the international community”.
Friends of the Earth Scotland chief executive, Richard Dixon, has applauded the governments ambition but has urged the government to go further. He said “It paints a very good vision of what a low-carbon Scotland could look like in 2032 but there are clearly areas where there has been resistance and policies either aren’t going far enough or aren’t credible.”
Icelands Deep Drilling Project (IDDP), was founded in 2000 by a consortium of three Icelandic energy companies, who are now drilling deep into the heart of a volcano in the south-west of Iceland. Iceland, sitting on the boundary between two major tectonic plates, is one of the most volcanically active places in the world. The project is located on the Reykjanes peninsula, where a volcano last erupted 700 years ago.
In a discussion with the BBC on 14th of December 2016, researchers reported that in the next couple of weeks they should reach a depth of 5km, where temperatures are expected to exceed 500C (932F). That is the deepest level of drilling so far in the world.
Asgeir Margeirsson, CEO of the Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) in his interview with the BBC hopes that this will open new doors for the geothermal industry globally to step into an era of more production.
“That’s the aim – that’s the hope. We have never been this deep before, we have never been into rock this hot before, but we are optimistic.” Said Asgeir Margeirsson.
Harnessing this energy through geothermal technology is already well established in Iceland. In this area at Reykjanes, they typically drill to 2km or 3km depth to harness the steam, to run power plants and produce clean, renewable electricity as explained by Asgeir Margeirsson. They want to see if the resources go deeper than that.
The drilling has now reached nearly 4,500m, and the team expected it to hit its target depth of 5km by the end of the year 2016.
When the drill gets to 5km, the team expects to find molten rock mixed with water. But with the extreme heat and immense pressure found at this depth, the water becomes what is known as “supercritical steam”.
It is neither a liquid nor a gas, but it holds far more energy than either. It is this “supercritical” steam that the team wants to bring back up to the surface to convert into electricity.They believe its special properties mean it could produce up to 10 times as much energy as the steam from conventional geothermal wells. They don’t expect to drill into magma, but are drilling into hot rock which is around 400 to 500C.”
Mr Margeirsson said that if this works, in the future they would need to drill fewer wells to produce the same amount of energy, meaning they would touch less surface, which means less environmental impact and hopefully lower costs.
“But that is if this works. This is full-scale research and development – we don’t know what the outcome will be.” And there is a good reason to be cautious. With volcanoes, expect the unexpected.
Prof Freysteinn Sigmundsson, a volcanologist at the University of Iceland, reports that even though Iceland has more than 300 volcanoes, there is still much to learn about them. At the same time he states that this drilling project, however, would give geologists a unique vantage point to see the interior of a volcano. He emphazises the importance of this project and the possible fundamental discoveries about how volcanoes work, learn about their properties and conditions.
The IDDP team says it is currently “drilling blind”, which means no rocky debris is coming back up to the surface. Instead, it is somehow being absorbed into the surrounding rocks. Without being able to examine the rock, it means the geologists really are heading into the unknown. However, with only a few hundred metres to go, they are optimistic that the world’s hottest borehole is now within their sights.
What is set to be the largest tidal array in the world met a significant milestone earlier this week in the north of Scotland. In the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth the first 1.5MW tidal turbine, made by Andritz Hammerfest, delivered electricity to the mainland UK Grid. The device is the first of four turbines in Phase 1a of the project, which when completed, will generate close to 400MW of clean, reliable and predictable electricity.
Generation of electricity for the first time is just one step in a long journey for the MeyGen project. Earlier work at the site has seen subsea cables laid, foundation ballast block installation ready for the installation of the turbines in the latter half of this year.
MeyGen is set to be the largest tidal array farm in the world, its first stage has been funded through a combination of debt, equity and grants from Atlantis the majority owner of the scheme, as well as Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Crown Estate and the former Department for Energy and Climate Change. A total of £51.3 million has been raised for the first stage of development.
The company’s CEO Tim Cornelius said:
“This is the moment we have been working towards since we first identified the MeyGen site back in 2007.
“I am immensely proud of and grateful for the remarkable team of people who have contributed to this milestone – our suppliers, our funders, our supportive shareholders, and of course the project team, whose commitment, tenacity and belief have been without equal.
“I look forward to bringing more news of the project development over the coming weeks and months as we move into the full operational phase.”
The remaining three turbines, another two Andrizt machines and one built by Atlantis, will be installed over the coming weeks. Atlantis have also revealed that one of the turbines is to be named “the Calum Davidson” in honour of Calum Davidson for his contribution to the marine power sector. Davidson is Director of Energy and Low Carbon at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, a member of the Scottish First Minister’s Energy Advisory Board and has worked tirelessly over the last decade to bring the marine renewables sector to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
“This project would not exist without Calum,” Cornelius said. “We faced many problems along the path to financial close: finance, licenses, leases, grid and so on. Every time things seemed really bad, I would turn to Calum and he would find a way to make it work. He believes in us and what we are doing. More importantly, he believes in the future of the marine power industry that he has helped create in Scotland. He is one of the reasons why Scotland leads the world in tidal energy development.”
How do you differentiate your product from that of the competitors? Áslaug Thelma Einarsdóttir raised that question at Branding energy conference that was held in Reykjavík, Iceland in late September. Áslaug Thelma is head of marketing at Orka Náttúrunnar, state owned company, wholly owned by Orkuveita Reykjavíkur, the Reykjavík power company. Orka Nátturunnar was established to comply with Icelandic regulations regarding separating of competing and non-competing entities in the energy market. The company produces both electricity and hot water form geothermal resources.
Áslaug pointed out that one of the things that make the energy market unique is that the consumer isn´t necessary all that well aware of the product he´s paying for, “How do you differentiate a company like ours from other sellers when the product is something that consumer can’t see, and you´d rather not want him to touch?”
Early on, the company decided on a strategy that focuses on forward thinking and having a positive influence on both environment and the community. “in our marketing work we´ve emphasized that what we produce, both electricity and hot water, come straight from the nature, and is a part of the quality of life that we enjoy on this island. We want to send clear message about what kind of business we are, and let the “heart“ of the company shine through everything we do.”
It is in this spirit tha Orka Náttúrunnar has worked on developing new products and Áslaug points out that the company has, among other things, focused on building a network of charging stations electric cars. “When we started on the path there were hardly more than 50 electric cars in whole Iceland, but now I gather there are more than a thousand. We want to do our part to help with environmental friendly and forward-thinking transition in transport in Iceland and have been able to play a key role,” says Áslaug, but today Orka Náttúrunnar runs thirteen charging stations. It´s been very pleasant to see how fast thing have developed. There´s great interest in switching from fossil fuels to green energy and now we’re seeing more and more companies want to install charging stations both for their employees and for customers.”
This interview was published in the Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið 19.09.2016
On Sunday the 7th of August Scotland provided 106% of its electricity needs from wind power for the day. Wind turbines provided 39 545MWh of electricity to the national grid whilst electricity usage from Scotland’s homes, businesses and industry only used 37 202MWh.
Sunday’s weather was not typical, with high winds across the country causing disruption to road, rail and ferry travel. These high winds were however very good for generation of electricity from wind turbines.
Whilst being the first time on record wind power has exceeded daily needs it may have happened before as a monitoring process for the data was only implemented in 2015.
Wind energy success in Scotland has been increasing year on year with turbines providing 123% of electricity needed for Scottish homes in January 2016. In January 2015 wind provided enough electricity for Scottish homes for 22 of the 31 days in the month.
These announcements have been hailed by WWF Scotland’s director Lang Banks, who said in January:
“2015 proved to be a big year for renewables, and the latest data makes clear that 2016 is already off to a flying start, with wind power alone meeting nearly half of Scotland’s total electricity needs during January. I have little doubt that 2016 will be another record year for renewables.”
His predictions for a record year are proving to be true.