UK Offshore Wind Energy Interactive Map

Here is an interactive map of the UK’s offshore wind capacity.
You can pan and zoom to places of interest and click on the offshore sites to view an attribute popup of the location with more information.
For the legend click the button on the top left corner of the map below..

For more on generating your own energy from wind or you have a large project in mind visit our wind turbine information pages.

A world run on clean energy.

Professor Ottmar Edenhofer

The United Nations Independent Panel on Climate Change this week concluded that the catastrophic effects of climate change can be avoided without increasing heavy cost burdens on the public and private sectors. The panel released a report stating that it is now eminently affordable to move toward a world that is run on clean, renewable energy. Professor Ottmar Edenhofer who has being leading the IPCC team behind the report said “it doesn’t cost the world to save the planet”.

Professor Ottmar Edenhofer
Professor Ottmar Edenho

The team suggests ditching all fossil fuels in the coming decades as this is the easiest and least risky route to combating global warming. Ottmar Edenhofer said that gas, which includes gas produced by fracking, could be part of the short term transition process as long as it is used to phase out polluting coal power plants.

The report was produced with help of over 1200 scientists and has the backing of over 150 governments. The report dismisses fears that reducing reliance on fossil fuels will harm the global economy.

This report is the latest in a series that shows unequivocally that humans are to blame for rapid and potentially disastrous global warming. These recent reports have suggested that future global warming will lead to extreme weather events and could create mass migrations and wars over resources.

By diverting some of the billions of dollars that currently go into fossil fuels into renewable energy generation only a minor amount of world economic growth will be lost. The total growth reduction will be less than 0.1% of global GDP. The researchers also say that the longer the switch to renewable energy is put off then the greater the cost of change will become in the future.

The UKs energy minister welcomed the report saying that is clear that the tools are available to tackle the problem but international efforts must increase.

Other improvements which were highlighted but not elaborated on were reductions in air pollution which have plagued countries like China and even recently the UK. Energy security would also improve with countries in Europe not having to rely on gas imports from Russia.

The IPCC report found that carbon emissions have been rising rapidly in the last ten years, but if rapid action is taken then global warming can still be limited to a safe temperature increase of only 2°C. The report favours the use of wind, solar and hydropower because of their rapidly falling costs.

Friends of the earth said that it is rich nations that must move away from fossil fuels like coal and gas and they should also fund low carbon renewables in developing countries.

There has never been a better time to install solar panels!

solar panels

With the great British summer on its way, days getting longer and temperatures rising, people are looking at theirs and their neighbour’s roofs again and thinking about investing in solar panels. We here at the Renewable Energy Hub are seeing a boom in visitors researching solar panel investments. Advances in solar technology, increased awareness, hikes in conventional energy prices and ever decreasing initial investment costs for solar PV installs are making that rooftop solar array you have been considering all the more enticing.

Let’s take a closer look at these reasons:

Advances in technology: With more of the world’s attention focused on the advancement of renewable energy sources than ever before, scientists have been working hard to pick out points for potential improvements. Adapting the materials used to make solar panels in order to increase efficiency has seen the most advanced cells currently in existence reach efficiency levels of over 40%. Cells with efficiency levels anywhere near this are still very expensive but as progress is made and new technologies are implemented, especially in the manufacture and use of new materials, cheaper cells are improving. With solar cell and battery technology at the rate it is, it won’t be long before homeowners realise that solar power is not only a good idea but essential, protecting them from rising conventional energy provider’s prices.

Increased awareness: A day doesn’t pass when you will not hear something or see something relating to the renewable energy industry. Renewable energy is big news, every paper you come across will most likely be running at least one story of environmental relevance. You can’t walk down the road without seeing examples of renewable energy systems on the buildings around you, install companies vans passing you and surely everyone has noticed the hike in the price of powering your everyday life and wondered whether savings can be made from renewable energy systems. Well are more people investing in solar and other renewable energy systems? The answer is YES. Earlier this year the solar industry declared that it has now installed over 500,000 systems in the UK. Investment is clean technology has risen from £1bn to £1.6bn here in the UK in 2013, with the UK’s solar PV demand reaching 1.45GW, an increase of 600%. More than 2,000 community projects have now been set up across the country offering grants to those who produce green energy for use in their local area. Solar panel system, and other renewable energy technologies are becoming more and more popular.
Leonie Greene of the Solar Trade Association recently said “Politicians may be fighting about energy and climate change in Westminster, but the public are just getting on with it. ~ A quiet solar revolution has been taking place led by half a million everyday households. Polls show over and over that the public back renewables and they have indeed put their hands in their pockets to prove it.”

Decrease in price: As the graph shows, the price of a solar PV array has dropped considerably over the years. In fact it’s dropped by 80%+, 20% in 2012 alone.

Fall in solar prices chart

Graph showing the fall in solar power prices (installed) and projections of future drops

This is due in the large part to the creation and development of the infrastructure needed to manufacture and deploy the panels. A hugely competitive solar PV market has also helped to drive down costs. Government grants and incentives plus a newly honed supply and deployment system for installers have helped to lower the initial outlay when investing in PV. What this means to you is that the initial costs of installing and maintaining a solar panel array is lower than ever. It is worth noting when looking at this subject that the past couple of years has seen the development of a more mature market and that the price of a residential solar PV array is levelling out leading to a more stable pricing trend. A lot of installers have diversified and now concentrate on other avenues of renewable energy leaving a smaller pool of installers that are able to focus on consumer demand and satisfaction. Site studies, quality of materials and warranty can now be addressed instead of ploughing all the energy into competitive pricing and the corner cutting that goes with it.

When all is said and done, an investment in solar PV has never been so attractive.

Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) launched today!

The government has today launched the domestic RHI to homeowners to aid them in their acquisition of low carbon systems.

The scheme has been in the pipeline for some time and has been fraught with complications, but has now been made available to consumers. The payment offers the world’s first long-term financial support mechanism for renewable heating devices and related technologies.

The scheme does not discriminate and is open to new builds, private and social landlords, home owners and off grid installations.

Technologies currently eligible for the scheme include:

The Tariffs available are:

Technology Tariff
Air-source 7.3p/kWh
Ground and water-source heat pumps 18.8p/kWh
Biomass-only boilers and biomass pellet stoves with integrated boilers 12.2p/kWh
Solar thermal panels (flat plate and evacuated tube models for hot water only) 19.2p/kWh

The payments will be made quarterly and over a 7 year period, however only one renewable energy heating system will be eligible per property, but if there are 2 devices one for hot water the other for heating they will both be eligible.

Greg Barker the Minister for Energy said:

“This is the first scheme of its kind in the world – showing yet again that the UK is leading the way in the clean energy sector.”

“Not only will people have warmer homes and cheaper fuel bills, they will reduce their carbon emissions, and will also get cash payments for installing these new technologies.”

“It opens up a market for the supply chain, engineers and installers – generating growth and supporting jobs as part of our long-term economic plan.”

For more information on the RHI and its benefits visit our renewable energy information pages.

Global Renewable Energy Capacity Increasing

The percentage of global energy that is being generated by renewable technology is steadily increasing, mainly because solar panels have reduced in price significantly over the last few years. These encouraging developments were revealed by the United Nations Environment Program recently.

The data reveals that wind, solar and the mixture of other renewables, made up to nearly 10 per cent of the world’s electric power generation in 2013. The figures saw a 1.2% increase from the previous year. These figures come off the back of a warning from Bloomberg and Pew charitable trusts, who have said that investment in renewable energy has been declining, with the US falling behind China.

The report also came out after the IPCC released its latest assessment on climate change, in which it set out some of the key issues in regards to humans having to adapt to changing and more challenging climatic and environmental conditions.

Bloomberg’s global trends in renewable energy report, claims that renewables such as wind and solar account for as much as 43% of new electricity generating capacity. Introducing such a large volume of renewable energy has prevented an estimated 1.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. The report described a drop in investment of 14% which was put down to the falling cost of solar, which increased worldwide generating capacity from 31 gigawatts to 39 gigawatts. Other explanations given for the drop in investment was the uncertainty being created in many countries around the continued growth in investment for renewable energy technologies.

The United States has been the largest investor in renewable energy however the drive for natural gas and oil and other polluting energy sources has affected renewable development.

Despite some of the aforementioned negative aspects, the overall global outlook for renewable energy remains good, as more countries around the world turn to renewable technology which continues to bring down costs, improve efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

Conservative Threat to the Onshore Wind Industry

The conservative party is planning to withdraw support for onshore wind farms in the UK, which could potentially damage what is a growing and prosperous industry. The party is proposing a moratorium, which will come into effect after 2020 in the belief that wind farms have become “self defeating”.

Onshore Wind Farm
Onshore Wind Farm

To compensate for abandoning support in onshore wind their manifesto will pledge to give greater support to offshore wind installations. The proposals for offshore wind are an attempt to show that the party is not abandoning its focus on strong environmental policies. The manifesto also aims to give more priority to solar power which has been highlighted by plans to get schools in the UK to install solar panels. The school would have to fund the £10,000 costs themselves, but would then be able to recoup the cost through the feed in tariff.

The decision to abandon onshore wind comes after an intense debate between the coalition partners over the pros and cons of using the technology. Tory backbench MP’s have been particularly animated about reducing the focus on renewable power and are more interested in the prospect of shale gas and fracking, which has reportedly caused environmental damage and fierce opposition, both here in the UK and also where it has been implemented in the United States. A spokesman for the government has said that David Cameron is fully supportive of the opponents of onshore wind farms. The conservative’s coalition partners however, have moved to block a proposed cap on the output from onshore wind power.

The government have effectively signed a compromise agreement on renewable energy targets with their backbenchers, in order to prevent any issues in the run up to the next general election. The measures to be proposed in the manifesto will rule out the building of new wind turbines after 2020. Other measures that are under consideration are caps on the levels of subsidies and planning restriction. The party has said that the measures are necessary because on shore wind has become unpopular especially with their own voters. The fear is that many of these measures will damage the industry unnecessarily.

The government has said that it expects to meet its long term commitments on renewable energy targets. Assurances have also been given that wind power projects that are currently under construction or in the planning phase will not be adversely affected.

Friends of the earth have backed the government’s stance on solar energy, welcoming the promotion of clean energy technologies. However they have also made it clear that they were disappointed with the government’s swipe at onshore wind.

New Report Outlines Threat of Climate Change

EU Scientists

The fight to combat climate change has risen to a new level with the publication of a report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The report warns of major consequences for failure, with severe implications for the future which according to the report involves food shortages and more conflict over resources.

The report has concluded that climate change is already having a real and substantial effect on the environment and on the way people live. The panel reported on some of the devastating effects that range from melting sea ice, the destruction of coral reefs in the pacific and deadly heat waves. The panel has also predicted that the worse is yet to come and that climate change poses a real danger to human security and that no one will be untouched by these problems.

The report has taken three years to produce and has been contributed too by over three hundred scientists and runs to 2,600 pages and has double the volumes of the last IPCC report. The report is one of the most comprehensive and detailed to be produced by the IPCC. The word risk was featured over two hundred times in the report which underlines the theme of the report. The main risk cited was a humanitarian one, with the threat of substantial humanitarian crisis being driven by a degrading environment. The report went into detail about some of the major environmental disasters that have occurred over the last fifteen years and how climate change is driving them to occur more frequently. Some of the examples they cited were the Australian wildfires, Pakistan floods and deadly European heat waves. One of the reports main contributors stated that climate change was not a future hypothetical situation, but that it is here in the present having an effect on the way we live right now.

These extreme weather events are also expected to take a disproportionate toll on the poor, weak and elderly and that no systems have been put in place to protect people that fall into vulnerable demographics.

The warnings signs over climate change have been around for some time and have gathered greater significance as we begin to understand climate changes potential impact. The report for the first time clearly connects climate change to the potential and real threat of food shortages and conflicts over resources. An example given was that of crop yields like wheat, which have begun to decline as global warming takes hold raising concerns about food production keeping up with population growth.

The report also links the rise in food prices with greater political tension in Africa and Asia after food price shocks caused riots in 2008.

The scientists who published the report say that is past time that greenhouse gas emissions were cut and that governments and the public need to take action now to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Governments, communities and individuals can start to make a difference through ventures such as renewable energy, recycling, and cleaner, leaner and greener living.

For more information on how to obtain freedom from rising energy prices and to help the environment view our renewable energy information pages.