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Incentives: The great balancing act Renewable energy is under increased scrutiny since new Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd announced a withdrawal of support for onshore wind developments by shortening the period of eligibility for the Renewables Obligation. Incentivisation has been a key driver to encourage development and reduce carbon emissions – but support must be affordable. In 2011, due to unexpected take-up, the then coalition Government made drastic cuts to support for photovoltaic technology, used to convert the sun’s energy to electrical power. This was less than a year after the launch of the Feed in Tariff, yet development continued and subsidy encouraged research and development to deliver energy efficiency even in the not-so-sunny UK! Solar PV deployment in the UK is once again in the Government’s sights and it plans to consult on changes to the support regime to bring costs under control.


4 Anaerobic

digestion: Bugs that make fuel. Summer fun at the big Scottish shows.

6 Cover story: A

sunny future for solar in Scotland. Subsidy cuts send out shockwaves.

8 Renewable heating for a historic croft.

Yet climate change continues to be a threat, and President Obama has unveiled ambitious carbonreduction plans despite scepticism about deliverability in the political landscape of the USA. Uncertainty of support introduces risk and creates investment uncertainty, yet, as Amber Rudd says, people want low bills, adding: “As costs continue to fall it becomes easier for parts of the renewables industry to survive without subsidies.” According to Deutsche Bank, total module costs of solar PV from leading Chinese companies have decreased from around $1.31 per watt in 2011 to some $0.50 today – a fall of 62 per cent – and total costs could decrease a further 30-40 per cent. Coupled with advances in battery technology, these changes could bring a new dawn in which reliance upon fossil fuels is truly diminished. Time will tell, but, despite industry concerns, there is cause for ­optimism. Calum Innes, Partner


smart electricity network technology pioneered in Scotland is being taken to other parts of the UK and could go global due to the changing nature of power demand and distribution. The Orkney ‘smart grid’ connects the same amount of renewable generation to the islands’ distribution network as would have been possible by conventional network reinforcement – at a fraction of the cost. Utilities traditionally assume worst case scenarios when planning network capacity by using maximum generation and minimum demand, or vice versa. Inevitably this results in occasional wasteful oversupply that’s at odds with both environmental considerations and economic austerity. Active Network Management (ANM) technology makes better use of the existing network by instructing generators to control their output, in real time, to match available network capacity.

Keeping project delays to a minimum.

10 What does

the future hold for fracking?

By making the existing network more efficient, we ’ r e deferring the need for far more costly and disruptive upgrades.

CKD Galbraith is Scotland’s leading

Data is collected centrally from ‘pinch points’ around the network so power flows are monitored and outputs from multiple new renewable generators are controlled.

The firm provides a full range of property consulting services across the commercial, residential, rural and energy sectors.

A central controller identifies when power flows are approaching the limits of network power rating and instructs generators to reduce their output before problems occur. The system is designed to protect the network if generators don’t respond correctly within specified time limits.

independent property consultancy. Drawing on a century of experience in land and property management, the firm is progressive and dynamic, employing more than 200 people in offices throughout Scotland.

CKD Galbraith provides a personal service, listening to clients and delivering advice to suit their particular opportunities and circumstances.

11 Current rates

of subsidy for renewables.

Our associate, CKD Kennedy Macpherson, is based in London. Follow us on Twitter: @CKDGEnergy Like us on Facebook: Join us on Linkedin:

Energy Matters is produced by ­ llerton Communications, London, A UK, and designed by George Gray Media & Design, St Andeux, France. © CKD Galbraith LLP.

Page 2 | Energy Matters Autumn 2015 | | Twitter: @CKDGEnergy

Work on the grid began in 2004 when Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution initiated studies with the University of Strathclyde to address capacity constraints that limited the Orkney Isles’ significant potential for renewable generation. A spin-out

Profile for Galbraith

Galbraith Energy Matters Autumn 2015  

Energy Matters Autumn 2015 News and views from Galbraith on the current issues affecting the Renewable Energy Industry. Autumn 2015.

Galbraith Energy Matters Autumn 2015  

Energy Matters Autumn 2015 News and views from Galbraith on the current issues affecting the Renewable Energy Industry. Autumn 2015.