ISSUE 20 | SUMMER 2020
SP 20 EC TH I A ISS L UE
Zero carbon: the countdown to 2050 n
Can mineral extraction keep up with electric vehicles? New energy rules could shake up house prices Radiation alert as 5G mobile network rolls out The woodland way to going carbon neutral
to the 20th edition of Energy Matters. We launched the magazine in 2012 to provide news and views on the growing renewable energy market in Scotland and provide a forum for discussion with our partners and others in renewables, property, infrastructure and utilities. We’ve also since added other Matters publications – in commercial, rural, property and forestry. Galbraith expanded into the North of England in 2019, gaining new partners and strengthening the ﬁrm’s energy expertise and oﬀering. Although Galbraith remains very much in growth mode in energy and other sectors, this landmark issue is produced with some foreboding. Those who were hoping for some sort of stability after the December general election and our January 31 departure from the EU were in for a shock in the shape of the coronavirus pandemic. Air pollution around the world has plummeted as remote working and self-isolation have rendered millions of vehicle journeys redundant. People are waking up to the fact that living and working need not be done at the cost of a depleted environment. We must remember the progress that was already being made, but this pandemic could lead to many people and businesses reviewing their working practices in ways and at a pace that no Government incentive scheme could ever have hoped to achieve. The reduction in pollution levels is one of the few positives to come from this event and we need to build on this when restrictions end now that we know what can be achieved. Despite the uncertainty created by changes to Government incentives, the proportion of UK electricity produced by renewable-energy sources has grown strongly. Coal-ﬁred power has all but disappeared and gas use is down by a quarter, according to Carbon Brief. More than half our electricity now comes from low-carbon sources such as wind, solar and nuclear. And last year the UK became the ﬁrst major economy to pass a law setting a target – 2050 – to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero. The Government is also reportedly considering bringing forward a ban on the sale of diesel and petrol cars by ﬁve years to 2035. Major concerns remain over the cost of greening the UK economy, but the reward for success is likely to be huge – in quality of life, preserving the natural world, and leading the way in developing the technologies to deliver these beneﬁts. To preserve what we have, we’re getting smarter in how we use it. Long may this continue. We wish health and happiness to all our readers, clients and partners. Mike Reid, Head of Energy
GALBRAITH is a leading independent property consultancy. Drawing on a century of experience in land and property management, the ﬁrm is progressive and dynamic, employing 240 people in oﬀices across Scotland and Northern England. We provide a full range of property consulting services across the commercial, residential, forestry, rural and energy sectors. Galbraith provides a personal service, listening to clients and delivering advice to suit their particular opportunities and circumstances.
6 Academics searching for a way to recycle wind turbine blades. A change of heart on renewable subsidies.
8 Rare earth minerals: can supply keep up with the demand from electric vehicles?
10 COVER STORY: The UK’s zero carbon target will be a huge challenge for government.
12 A world of change: looking back over 20 issues of Energy Matters.
16 Energy efficiency is about to become a big issue for homeowners who want to sell. How heat-mapping helps surveyors. Land use must change to cut greenhouse gases.
18 Radiation issues around 5G phone masts should be a concern for landowners. Giving young people the skills they need for a climate-change world.
20 Why more companies are choosing Scottish woodland to offset emissions.
22 How automation is improving power supplies to the islands.
23 Transmission charging: The other north-south divide.
24 There’s still life in coal production.
26 Updates: digital mapping and Fife wind turbine.
27 What it takes to work for Galbraith.
Follow us on Twitter: @Galbraith_Group @Galbraith_ENRGY Like us on Facebook: facebook. com/GalbraithPropertyConsultancy See us on Instagram: www.instagram.com/GalbraithGroup Join us on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/galbraith Page 2 | Energy Matters | Summer 2020 | galbraithgroup.com
Energy Matters is produced by Allerton Communications, London, and designed by George Gray Media & Design, St Andeux, France. © CKD Galbraith LLP.
Eight years on from our ﬁrst issue, Gareth Taylor and Nick Morgan take stock of the way energy markets have evolved.
Back to the future WHEN our ﬁrst issue of Energy Matters went to print in 2012 we were at the height of subsidies for wind and hydro schemes with relatively unproven “new technologies” starting to be seen as cash cows for landowners and developers keen to establish a footprint in the emerging renewables market.
Eight years and 20 issues of Energy Matters later, the renewable energy sector has changed signiﬁcantly and, with commitments from Governments for net zero carbon emissions by
galbraithgroup.com | Energy Matters | Summer 2020 | Page 3
At a time when we seem to be bombarded by information, good and bad, Energy Matters provides a source of consistently high quality editorial content that is worthwhile and reliable reading. Matthew Lumsden, CEO, Connected Energy
CELEBRATING ouR 20TH ISSuE
2050, we are once again seeing developers competing for sites, but this time in a free-market world. In celebration of our 20th issue, we have been assessing where the industry has been and where it’s likely to head during the next decade.
Public perception The public response to new or extended developments was initially “not on my back doorstep”, but over time we’ve seen this change and turbines, solar photovoltaic ﬁelds and anaerobic digestion plants are now recognised parts of the rural landscape. Opinion has shifted signiﬁcantly during this time with climate change rising up the agenda. Being involved in the shift towards a low carbon economy is now seen as respectable, even admirable.
End of life for ﬁrst generation Some initial schemes, especially wind, are now approaching the end of their subsidy commitments and commercial life. Developers are looking to gain planning extensions to inject new life into wind projects or re-power sites with larger, more productive turbines. While the infrastructure in hydro schemes tends to feature a far longer lifespan, upgrades to switch gears and electrical infrastructure will be commencing in this technology. Many of the provisions governing reinstatement following the decommissioning of a scheme are still to be tested and it remains to be seen if the ﬁnancial bonds put in place to protect the local planning authority and landowner in case of default or if the developer goes into administration will be suﬃcient. Developers are always looking to minimise the bond levels to save costs but landowners need to ensure the level of the bond adequately covers potential decommissioning liabilities.
The right end of the scale is everything While public perception is dominated by everlarger turbines (some in excess of 220 meters to tip height) and there is a general trend for fewer but higher turbines, the lower-proﬁle market for
micro-generation sites continues, especially in areas where capacity is constrained and near to where there are large demands (such as combined heat-and-power plants providing electricity to cool potato stores and heat chicken sheds at the same time). Mortgage lenders and now far more accustomed to these technologies at a domestic scale and in our experience more inclined to approve them. The market for single mid-range turbines, between 225kW and 1MW – the mid-market – has largely disappeared as the technological advances in turbine development have not been suﬃcient for them to compete without subsidies.
Continuous evolution of technologies Evolution isn’t just aﬀecting the size of wind turbines. As the market has matured, so has the supply chain. Methods of construction have improved, reducing environmental impact, and there is increased engagement with local communities over any development, with far more options for local community investment in renewable schemes.
Fallen by the wayside Biomass too has struggled to establish itself without subsidy, the high labour costs involved in managing schemes and high breakdown rates continuing to prevent its expansion. However, the growing targets for tree planting and a likely prohibition on gas boilers may revitalise the district heating scheme industry, providing a new incentive to invest in biomass schemes.
The same problems persist While much has changed, long-standing hurdles still aﬀect the viability of schemes, notably planning and grid availability. The cost of grid connections is often considerable and a major constraint on many opportunities. Signiﬁcant delays in grid availability make many schemes unviable, which is frustrating, especially in areas with favourable natural features. However, recent improvements to the grid provide potential for these schemes to come online in future. There are many complexities involved in securing planning, but the diﬀerent approaches taken by each local planning authority often increase the time and cost of securing consent. This is especially problematic where schemes straddle diﬀerent planning authorities. New planning problems continue to emerge, such as aviation lighting, providing new challenges to the industry. Securing planning permission is costly. However it
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remains key to unlocking value, and so reasoned advice that considers all cost variables should be understood before a spending commitment is made.
Pace of change The pace of evolution is likely to continue to increase, especially as more blue-chip companies commit to going green. The commitment to phase out petrol and diesel cars is gamechanging and the growth of the grid to accommodate electric vehicles will be both transformative and challenging.
The importance of sound advice What has remained constant throughout the evolution of the sector, and is more apparent now, is the need for early engagement with professionals. The industry has become specialised and the sums involved warrant their use. The Galbraith team continues to act for landowners and developers oﬀering strategic, pragmatic and impartial advice. We also undertake valuations of assets and land rights for owners and operators and as part of transactions. Our experience across the sector, combined with local knowledge, continues to add value to clients.
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Tidal power is un-competitive without subsidies.
Finding ways to mitigate market risks Adam Forsyth examines the potential for ﬁnancial returns from renewable energies. WINd and solar generation have reached a point where costs are now competitive with other forms of electricity generation without the need for any subsidy. Hydro is a well-developed technology but tidal is new and projects such as that at MeyGen between Caithness and Orkney represent major progress. Floating oﬀshore wind has also made strong progress – Hywind Scotland’s 30MW project oﬀ Peterhead delivered a capacity factor of 53% in 2018, far outstripping the UK wind average of 37%. Another development has been the growth in high income investment funds or “yieldcos” which are buying completed projects across the UK. Looking forward, the impact of pension law changes requiring trustees to take greater account of Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) factors may lead to more widespread investment at an institutional level. This should create a perfect environment for the development of larger wind and solar projects, but we see one issue emerging. As more unsubsidised schemes emerge, the market starts to become dominated by assets with near-zero marginal costs of
production, lowering market prices at times of low demand and high renewable production. In other words, with renewable energy so cheap to run, the ﬁnancial returns for institutional investors may prove unattractive. Projects supported by FiT and CfD will be immune to this thanks to the design of their subsidy schemes, but other projects will need to ﬁnd solutions to mitigate this market risk. Fortunately, a number of solutions exist. Combining projects with storage, either through coownership or contractually, will allow production to be sold when demand is high. Integrating with demand also provides protection. The growth in private power purchase agreements is symptomatic of this and one of the key groups of emerging buyers has been data centres. It is perhaps not surprising that the MeyGen tidal energy project has announced plans to overcome weak subsidy support and create the world’s largest ocean-powered data centre in Caithness.
Adam Forsyth is head of research at Longspur Research
galbraithgroup.com | Energy Matters | Summer 2020 | Page 5
Glasgow team eyes solution to turbine-blade recycling puzzle The use of landﬁll for old blades is a growing problem that risks damaging wind power’s green credentials. But as Mike Reid reports, academics are closing in on a solution.
Liu Yang, head of the Advanced Composites Group at the University of Strathclyde, says composite waste is a problem not just for the wind industry.
ExPERTS at the university of Strathclyde are working on a process to give new life to redundant wind-turbine blades that would otherwise go to landﬁll. A team of 12 in the institution’s Advanced Composites Group is developing a technology to recycle the giant glass-ﬁbre sails as high-value material for vehicle manufacture, construction and aviation. The group was established 10 years ago in recognition that as wind farms became more eﬃcient at generating low-carbon electricity, demand for turbines would grow along with their size – and the need to dispose of blades responsibly at the end of their useful lives. “The wind industry is the fastest-growing global consumer of ﬁbre-reinforced plastic composites. In parallel with this growth, composites waste from end-of-life wind turbine blades is rising,” said Liu Yang, head of the ACG. “Unlike other components such as the foundation, tower, gear box and generator, modern wind turbine blades are currently not designed for recyclability. Consequently, developing commercially viable solutions for blade recycling and reuse is rapidly becoming one of the most important challenges facing the global wind industry.” Though a small proportion go to incineration plants to be burned for energy or are broken up to make aggregate for use in construction, most blades go to landﬁll sites at the end of their commercial life.
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, is addressing a big and growing problem. In the next ﬁve years an estimated 14,000 wind turbine blades will be decommissioned in Europe and 10,000 in the US. Blades supplied in the UK are predicted to reach 10,000 tons annually, increasing to 30,000 tons a year by 2030. Those in a modern utility-scale installation can stretch to 50 metres. The patented Strathclyde technology involves separating reclaimed ﬁbre from resin and restoring it to performance levels that compare with new ﬁbres. The process involves mechanically downsizing the blade to 20mm or smaller segments before extracting the ﬁbre, which typically makes up 60% of the blade by weight. Recycling without downsizing would be neither economical nor eﬃcient due to the size of equipment required and diﬃculty in transportation. “Our approach is up-recycling for high-value applications instead of down-recycling for cheap ﬁllers and aggregates,” said Liu Yang.
The composites group, part of the university’s
CUTTING EDGE? HOW OLD BLADES ARE DEALT WITH NOW While most retired blades are destined for landﬁll, other practices are being implemented.
diverted from landﬁll and a growing waste stream be handled sustainably and cost-eﬀectively?
A market is emerging in refurbished turbines for faster payback. Retired blades can also ﬁnd a second life by conversion to civil structures and furniture units.
Neocomp GmbH in Germany oﬀers a scalable solution by incorporating shredded blade materials into cement production, in which glass ﬁbres are treated as a mineral feedstock and resin is used as an alternative fuel.
Beyond direct reuse and repurposing, some blades are broken up for use as aggregate in other materials or incinerated for energy recovery. But questions remain – how can retired blades be
More recently, Global Fiberglass Solutions Inc. in the US has developed a process for transforming blades into mouldable raw materials for new applications.
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Recycled composites could be used to make vehicle panels, dashboards and bumpers as well as domes, facades and columns in buildings and could even be used in some aircraft. Strong, durable, corrosion-proof and lightweight, the material is expected to be super-eﬃcient and eco-friendly. “Recycling wind turbine blades is fundamentally a techno-economic challenge. Research and innovation are still urgently needed to oﬀer the industry diverse technical solutions and business strategies,” said Liu Yang. “Composite waste is by no means a problem for the wind industry alone. It also aﬀects building and construction, electrical and electronics, and transport. In parallel with individual sectors and the research community, policy and legislation also have an opportunity to bring key stakeholders together in developing a composites recycling industry.” Finding a recycling solution for blades has to be a priority for the industry, but many wind farm reinstatement bond assessments have been made on the basis that the blades are recyclable so care should be taken to ensure these are still adequate to cover the decommissioning liabilities at the end of the life of the wind farm.
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CELEBRATING ouR 20TH ISSuE
Energy Matters is performing an invaluable service in highlighting the key issues facing the renewable energy sector across the country. Renewable energy plays a vital role in Scotland’s rural communities – delivering energy to some of the country’s most remote areas, while providing jobs and economic opportunities which otherwise may not have existed. The sector will be key in helping to decarbonise our agriculture, transport and heat sectors as we work towards achieving net-zero by 2045. Claire Mack, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables
Renewable subsidies: a change of heart Gareth Taylor reports on a surprising turnround by the Government.
THE uK Government has launched its consultation for round four of the Contracts for diﬀerence auctions, eﬀectively reversing its earlier ban on ﬁnancial support for established technologies. The CFD awards developers a guaranteed “strike price” for electricity which is based on a competitive system which is intended to give value to the consumer. Schemes bid against each other with contracts being awarded to those with the lowest strike price. The inclusion of established technologies such as onshore wind and solar photovoltaic recognises that they oﬀer value for money compared to other, more early-stage technologies. While the ﬁrst subsidy-free schemes are in the pipeline, the ability to apply for CFD will give comfort to developers which will in turn support the supply chain and wider industry. The consultation report also makes clear that liaising on projects with the community at an early stage is essential, as is ensuring that the local area beneﬁts from the project throughout the lifetime of the scheme. The next round of CFD is due to take place in 2021 and is highly likely to be open for onshore wind and solar PV greater than 5MW. Galbraith believes this announcement will reinforce investment in the sector, but planning policies remain a barrier to development in the North of England. We have seen renewed vigour in the market place over the past 12 months, with multiple developers bidding for options over sites as they look to secure their pipelines and we continue to act for both developers and landowners in realising their schemes. This latest round, announced on March 2 by the Energy Secretary, Alok Sharma, will also be open to solar, with proposals to include ﬂoating oﬀshore wind. The scheme will also be changed to facilitate the deployment of energy storage.
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Electric vehicles: the challeng Sales of new petrol and diesel cars are to be illegal from 2035. But can we produce enough batteries for zeroemission vehicles to replace them? asks mining expert Kim Moreton.
NoRMAL internal combustion engine vehicles are manufactured using widely available resources such as iron, copper, aluminium and nickel. Their production has evolved based on stable markets, many established in the inter-war years, such as rubber and oil. Electric vehicles (EVs) use the same raw materials in the body, drivetrain and interiors. What makes them diﬀerent are the metals used in the power unit and energy store. Most current EV production falls into two classes: hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) such as the Toyota Prius, and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) such as the Nissan Leaf. In both cases, their electric motors fall into one of two types: induction motors (IMs) based on copper coils, and permanent magnet motors (PMMs) which use magnets made of a neodymium-boron compound and iron.
Processing problems PMM producers rely heavily on rare earth elements (REEs) from China, which in 2017 produced some 85% of global output of rare earth oxides (estimated at 161,700 tonnes). Concerns about supply have spurred innovation, with Toyota reducing the terbium and dysprosium content of their magnets, and replacing neodymium with cheaper lanthanum and cerium. Despite their name, REEs are not scarce. For example, cerium is more abundant than copper. ‘Rare’ means they tend not to be concentrated in exploitable ore deposits, so they’re expensive to recover. Extracting REE ores is straightforward, commonly using open pit methods. The challenge begins in the processing (‘beneﬁciation’). Their similarity requires a complex process to separate elements from oxide ores: acid or alkali treatment, solvent washing, radiation and heat, depending on the chemical make-up of each deposit. Managing waste such as radioactive thorium presents further challenges. Prices of lithium and cobalt, used in batteries for both PMMs and IMs, are currently depressed due to concerns about oversupply. However, 2017 global demand of 31,700 tonnes for neodymium outstripped supply by 3,300 tonnes, and growth in demand is forecast by some to reach 40,000 in 2020. While REEs are mined in Australia, Brazil, India, Russia and Vietnam, the timescales and investment levels required to ramp up production and bring known REE deposits to production suggest there is no quick ﬁx. Recent cuts to electric vehicle subsidies in China stalled growth in domestic production, but don’t expect the industry there to stand still. The vehicle maker BYD claims its “manufacturing scale and an edge in technology” make the company resistant to risk, according to Bloomberg. The EV market is a complex and fascinating Page 8 | Energy Matters | Summer 2020 | galbraithgroup.com
bridge between the ﬁrst and second industrial ages, presenting multiple challenges to policy makers, investors and the resource industries. The changes involved are profound and widereaching, but the beneﬁts could also be huge. “The overall economic and social beneﬁt of EVs, connected and autonomous vehicles could be in the region of £51bn per year by 2030, with the potential for 320,000 newly-created industry jobs,” said an April 2016 report by the UK’s Institute of the Motor Industry.
Brexit impact The automotive industry is well supplied with infrastructure, expertise and human resources – volume producers in the UK are global corporations. However, prolonged uncertainty about trading relationships dating back three decades has led some producers to take stock. Developing and retaining domestic capacity and expertise is paramount. The UK Government acknowledged the importance of battery manufacture to the auto industry across all classes of EV by launching the Faraday Challenge, via the Faraday Institution, in 2017. The
ge for rare earth miners
CELEBRATING ouR 20TH ISSuE
Energy Matters on
its 20th issue and for its timely, informative reporting on renewable energy and infrastructure, in a way that appeals to all audiences. Adam Morrison, Project Director, Moray West Offshore Windfarm
project is intended to drive battery research, making the UK a world leader. Phase 1 is a £45 million competition to explore key technology challenges, creating a ‘virtual battery institute’. Phases 2 and 3 build on promising research and scale up technology at a new National Battery Manufacturing Development facility. The Institution predicts employment growth in the EV battery supply chain and manufacturing oﬀsetting a gradual reduction in traditional vehicle manufacturing. Complementary initiatives such as EV drivetrain research, motors and charging do not appear to be part of the scheme, though they would be welcome. Lacking the capacity to process ‘technology metals’ in the quantities required by mass EV production, the UK will remain reliant on imported raw materials. Signiﬁcant processing capacity such as smelting and reﬁning is limited to pig iron, steel, zinc, aluminium and lead. Shortterm, this is unlikely to change due to the combined strictures of energy supply, workforce and national emission targets.
Big loss to Government revenues The ability and inclination of the UK Government to intervene to support capacity in raw materials remains unclear, as does planning for the potential loss of revenue generated from fossil fuel duties (£27.9bn in 2018-19, according to Oﬃce for Budget Responsibility ﬁgures) that widespread EV adoption is expected to trigger. In addition, the revenue landscape and options will be an immense challenge to successive governments in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. The OBR reports: “While fuel duty receipts have risen slowly in cash terms over the past seven years, they have fallen as a share of GDP. This largely reﬂects the eﬀective tax rate falling in real terms.” Around two-thirds of this income goes directly to fund public services. We must wait to see whether EV production can ﬁll the gap.
Kim Moreton is a chartered surveyor practising in land, environment and resources. He lectures at Camborne School of Mines, University of Exeter, the foremost UK centre of mining and minerals education.
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o r ze carbon
NET UK GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS Mass of air emissions per year in millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2e)
on a Climate Change Act basis, 1990 to 2017 Net emissions in 2017 were 460 million tonnes. Reducing net emissions to zero will potentially require between 75 and 175 million tonnes of emissions removal by carbon capture and storage, according to the Committee on Climate Change.
800 600 400 200
The UK’s zero-carbon emissions target for 2050 is a huge ambition, and the Government will need to be transparent about the practicalities, says Mike Reid.
THERESA MAY’S Government did a brave thing last June last when it committed the uK to becoming a net-zero economy by 2050.
Zero emissions target
ESTIMATED UK GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS Official estimates according to different domestic and international bases, 2016 Territory-based
Burning of biomass
Crown and overseas territories
Adjusting from territory to residency basis
International air travel
Exclusion of emission removals by land
Net imported emissions
Footprint (consumption based)
By law, within 30 years we must either balance greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions completely with carbon dioxide removal in order to mitigate global warming, or eliminate carbon emissions altogether – forever. It’s an ambitious target and seemingly one with little or no “wiggle room”. On February 27 we got a taste of how hard it would be to water down this commitment when the Court of Appeal ruled the Westminster Government’s decision to allow Heathrow airport to build a third runway was illegal as it contravened its Paris Agreement commitments. This was a clear judicial signal to the Government – if you commit to environmental targets, you cannot act in a way that compromises them without risking intervention. And the courts aren’t the only ones limiting choices on protecting the environment. The UK is making progress in reducing carbon, the biggest GHG component (the others being methane, nitrous oxide, hydro-ﬂuorocarbons, perﬂuorocarbons, nitrogen triﬂuoride and sulphur hexaﬂuoride). The country’s greenhouse gas emissions fell for a seventh consecutive year in 2019, according to provisional data from the Government – a 3.6% fall from 2018 and almost 28% from 2010.
ONS Environmental accounts Committee on Climate Change UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Climate Change Act 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 Mass of air emissions per year in millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2e)
COP26 POSTPONED THE decision to postpone the COP26 UN climate change conference, which was planned for Glasgow in November, highlights a paradox. The restrictions on movement aimed at ﬁghting the Covid-19 pandemic have not only stopped an international event aimed at ﬁghting climate change – they’ve also led to historic falls in the carbon emissions, pollution and resource depletion increasingly blamed for causing it. Dates for a rescheduled conference in 2021, hosted in Glasgow by the UK in partnership with Italy, will be set out in due course. Perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned that prepares us better for COP26 when it eventually takes place. When the world’s economies restart, let’s go about our work in a way that uses less energy, burns less fuel and enables us to conserve what we have.
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A key factor was the shift in the energy sector away from coal power towards gas and renewables such as wind and solar power. Last year, the share of electricity generation by renewables increased to a record 36.9%. The increase helped to push lowcarbon electricity, including nuclear power, to a record 54.2% share of the generation mix, up from 52.6% in 2018. Meanwhile the world's wind power grew by almost a ﬁfth last year after a boom in oﬀshore projects. In 2018, the UK’s CO2 emissions fell to an estimated 361 million tonnes (MtCO2), according to the environmental website Carbon Brief. But it was the smallest fall in the six-year series, suggesting targeted reductions could become harder to achieve. One factor inﬂuencing GHG reduction will be exporting factory output. Britain started the Industrial Revolution and led the world in engineering
The net-zero target has been derided by sceptics such as climate-change deniers and those balking at the likely cost – estimated at £1 trillion by then Chancellor Philip Hammond last year. Others point out that Britain is responsible for only 1% of global emissions, or that China and India are forging ahead with the building of airports and coal-burning power plants. On the other hand, the widespread feeling that ﬁrm action is needed to protect the planet is heightened by increasingly frequent storms and ﬂooding in the UK and devastating ﬁres elsewhere. And the Government believes its net-zero target could help to push Britain, already a major participant in what could be called environmental enterprise, to lead the way in creating two million “green-collar” jobs and grow exports from the low-carbon economy to £170 billion a year by 2030. The net-zero approach was recommended by the Committee on Climate Change, the UK’s independent climate advisory body, made up of the great and good. Considering the potential cost and disruption involved, ministers must be determined in achieving their ground-breaking ambition and scrupulous in the evidence they produce to demonstrate progress. Achieving net carbon zero will be a challenge for the UK but in order to have a signiﬁcant impact on overall greenhouse gas emissions an agreed global strategy will be required.
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Millions of tonnes of CO2
Similarly, Britain reportedly exports some two thirds of the plastic packaging it collects for recycling, much of it to Asian countries often blamed for plastic pollution of the seas. Amid all the ugly photos of stricken sealife, plastic is a form of fossil fuel and one with a big carbon footprint. Water bottles, grocery bags and foam trays are made from oil or natural gas, requiring a lot of energy to produce. Malaysia received 105,000 tonnes in the 12 months to October 2018 — 68 per cent up on the previous 12 months. The country has begun returning plastic waste illegally shipped from Britain and insists it won’t be a dumping ground for rich westerners. In recent months it returned 150 containers of plastic waste – 3,700 tonnes – 42 of them to Britain.
Emissions fell for a record sixth consecutive year in 2018 to the lowest level since 1888 outside years with strikes
CO2 EMISSIONS FROM COAL, OIL AND GAS Gas emissions are now the largest single contributor to the UK total 350 Oil
300 250 200 Millions of tonnes of CO2
On March 9 the Government announced the sale of British Steel to Jingye Group, “safeguarding over 3,200 jobs in Scunthorpe, Skinningrove and on Teesside”. While the Chinese company has made reassurances over keeping jobs in the UK, such guarantees don’t last forever. Should the worst happen and capacity move oﬀshore, the Government could hardly include in its targets CO2 emissions relocated abroad, rather than reduced in the UK.
FALLING UK CO2 EMISSIONS
150 100 50 0 1970
CUTTING COAL EMISSIONS CO2 emissions from coal have fallen, but oil and gas are little changed over the past six years 200 175 150 125 Millions of tonnes of CO2
and manufacturing, but from shipbuilding to vehicle building, the lion’s share of this activity has moved abroad.
100 75 50
25 0 2013
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ENERGY MATTERS ISSUE 20 – SPECIAL REPORT
A world of change Over the course of our previous 19 issues, many stories proved especially popular. Galbraith team members and contributors look at how some have developed since they appeared and ask what to expect in future.
Wild land In issue 6, Summer 2014, we reported on how proposals to protect wild land from onshore wind energy development were causing friction between the renewables industry and conservation groups. Since then, Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) has been published and requires Local Development Plans to include spatial frameworks for onshore wind energy development. These frameworks are required to use the following groups in mapping out areas that are potentially suitable for windfarm development: Group 1: Areas where windfarms will not be acceptable (i.e. National Parks and National Scenic Areas), Group 2: Areas of Signiﬁcant Protection (including areas of wild land as per 2014 mapping produced by Scottish Natural Heritage),
Aviation In issue 4, Autumn 2013, we outlined the importance of understanding aviation and radar constraints in identifying potential onshore windfarm sites. Our guidance remains unchanged – if you are contemplating a wind energy project, early analysis of any aviation and/or radar constraint is crucial. Given the greater height and scale of newer wind turbine models, proper lighting of installations is becoming more of an issue. In accordance with the UK Air Navigation Order 2016 and the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) Policy Statement 2017, steady red warning lights must be aﬃxed to any wind turbine over 150 metres high. Some renewables developers have also reported requests from the Ministry of Defence that any development of 15 wind turbines or more be lit, regardless of height. This is important when engaging with civil and military authorities, not least because all parties will usually be legally obliged to minimise the potential loss arising out of any later incident involving damage.
Group 3: Areas with potential for windfarm development.
This has a knock-on eﬀect for proposals involving larger wind turbines in that the environmental eﬀects of ﬁxed lighting on darker, more sensitive landscapes, nighttime views and light-sensitive wildlife now need to be fully assessed as part of an Environmental Impact Assessment of a proposed scheme. Joanne Plant
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The inclusion of wild land under Group 2 has caused extensive debate between wind energy developers and conservation lobbyists, speciﬁcally, the weight to be attributed to such areas in terms of guiding development to suitable locations. The renewables industry argues that wild land areas in SPP are not intended to prohibit windfarm development outright and that their coverage is too extensive (particularly when more than 20% of Scotland’s land mass is already covered by National Parks and National Scenic
Areas). Conversely, environmentalists argue that wild land should be seen as a ‘designation’ and aﬀorded the same level of protection as Group 1 areas. Under the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019, SPP will be incorporated into the emerging National Planning Policy Framework 4 (NPF4). This means that for the ﬁrst time, spatial and thematic planning policies will be addressed in a single document. In terms of timescales, it is expected that a draft NPF4 will be laid before the Scottish Parliament in September this year. As part of the preparation of this document, the content of the current SPP is likely to be reviewed and it is hoped that this process will bring some clarity to the debate about the status of wild land and its impact on wind energy deployment in the future. Joanne Plant
Anaerobic digestion In issue 8, Spring 2015, we looked at how the relatively new technology of anaerobic digestion was being quietly taken up on farms across Scotland. Early in 2013 Charlesﬁeld First, a renewable-energy operator, submitted a planning application for an anaerobic digester plant at Charlesﬁeld, St Boswells, in the Borders. The biomethane produced from arable crops and grass, once ‘scrubbed’, would be injected directly into the main gas grid, to generate an annual income. Charlesﬁeld First sourced funding of £9 million from Iona Capital on the basis there was an adequate security of feedstock supply to fuel the plant. Local farmers committed to grow crops on a minimum acreage of their farms each year in return for payment based on the cost of production plus a margin of £150 per acre. The key to success was an agreement oﬀering farmers ﬂexibility while providing security of supply to the plant. Galbraith negotiated contracts with local farmers on 1,100 acres for St Boswells Biogas to secure feedstock for its plant.
The advantages to the plant have been security of feedstock, control and management of the crops grown and the establishment of long-term relationships with the plant’s suppliers. The contract has operated well and the relationship between the parties has been excellent. Working with the farmers, the cropping regime has been reﬁned and eﬃciencies achieved. The plant’s production has reached 420 m3/hr against original forecast of 350 m3/hr. It’s a good example of how with initiative, co-operation and the right advice and support, owners, developers and farmers can combine to produce renewable energy and generate revenue. James Galbraith
Smart grids In issue 10, Autumn 2015, we reported on how the Orkney Active Network Management (ANM) system had eﬀectively introduced smart grids to the UK. Since its 2011 launch, the system, implemented by Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks, has enabled the delivery of over 1100GWhr of renewable energy in Orkney. ANM enables energy suppliers using automated controls to adjust power ﬂow, preventing too much energy going on to the network that might cause outages and system faults. The 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. The system suits today’s complex networks, with their multiple renewable-energy generation points, each with much smaller capacity than, say, coal-ﬁred installations. The Orkney project paved the way for new ANM installations across SSEN networks, ﬁrstly on Shetland with the Northern Isles New Energy Solution (NINES) project, then in business as usual installations on the Western Isles in Scotland and the Isle of Wight in Southern England. Across these systems SSEN has released more than 150MW of previously restricted generation capacity, enabling more than 1,500GW of renewable energy generation to date. These systems have also heralded new types of ANM, controlling both generation and storage, alongside ﬂexible demands in domestic heating installations to maximise renewable energy generation capacity, which in turn have led to new types of ﬂexibility services to be implemented, such as SSEN’s Constraint Managed Zones (CMZs). ANM-enabled smart grids reduce costs for connecting customers and increasing the coverage of availability. In 2020, SSEN will deliver the next nine ANM zones in the South of England, releasing more than 1.3GW of previously constrained generation capacity through the South West Active Network (SWAN) project. Alongside this, a £1.7m IT infrastructure ANM centralisation project
Five years on, farmers have beneﬁted from security of income, reduced
requirement for working capital and improvement to their land arising from ease of cultivation as crops are cut early, removal of weeds before seeds drop and enhanced soil fertility by application of digestate.
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will build core systems and architecture to manage the SWAN zones and further ANM systems beyond, eﬀectively reducing implementation costs by an expected 30% per scheme. The beneﬁts of the Orkney ANM system, continued with the NINES, have spread far and wide as other distribution network operators have drawn on our experience. ANM systems are being implemented across the UK by all DNOs, again releasing more capacity and supporting greater renewable generation connections to UK electricity networks. Alex Howison, SSEN
of improved knowledge and if necessary seek to vary current planning conditions may result in a better solution in the long term. Calum Innes
Fuelling agriculture In issue 16, Summer 2018, we looked at farming in the post-diesel era and some speciﬁc alternatives to the fuel that farmers have relied on for generations. The ban on selling new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars from 2035, announced in February, omits agricultural equipment. But given the UK’s carbonreduction obligations, custodians of the
In issue 11, Winter 2016 we wrote of how permission for a wind farm development is typically granted for 25 years with an obligation for the infrastructure to be removed and the site reinstated before expiry of the consent. At the planning stage – before the ﬁrst earth is turned – the amount of work likely to be involved in decommissioning an installation at the end of its life needs to be calculated and costed. This obligation serves to protect the landowner and public by having adequate bonding arrangements to ensure this cost can be met in the event of the developer failing to fulﬁl their obligations. As ever, hindsight is 20:20 and we’ve encountered instances postconstruction where the simple rationale of removing everything and importation of foreign material is perhaps not the optimal solution from an environmental perspective. For example, sensitive peatland may beneﬁt from a less intrusive approach. A willingness to review matters in light
landscape can expect restrictions sooner rather than later. Agricultural equipment manufacturers have been slow to explore alternative energy sources. “We don't hear much about it from producers,” says Alarik Sandrup, director of public and regulatory aﬀairs at Lantmännen, the Swedish farming coop. “There are occasional pilots and trials but there’s not the great change in the market that we’ve seen in road transport. The small number of agricultural machinery producers operate globally and they don't talk much about CO2 – it's not an issue for them.” He expects change to come slowly, given farmers can keep tractors and harvesters going for 30 years compared to the 10 years cars are retained, and the lack of emission targets and political pressure on agriculture – shown by lower fuel taxes for the sector around the world. The likeliest route to low or zero carbon is through biodiesel, made using vegetable oil instead of fossil-derived products. Diesel comprising 7% FAME – Fatty-Acid Methyl Ester (made from animal fats, vegetable oils or recycled restaurant greases) – is sold widely in Europe. But 7% doesn’t solve the carbon problem. Traditionally, nothing matched diesel for concentrated energy and portability in tractors and harvesters. But hydrotreated vegetable oil, a renewable diesel available for the past two years, is a big advance. Produced from vegetable fats and oils, HVO is a cleanburning, environmentally friendly diesel alternative without the short shelf life of regular biodiesel. While creating similar emission levels to fossil fuel, 100% biodiesel is considered carbon-neutral as the plants grown in making it absorb the same amount of CO2 as produced in burning the fuel. “I think HVO will be the main alternative to traditional fuels when we’re no longer stuck with diesel,” said Mr Sandrup. There’s no single solution to farmemitted CO2 but some solutions are emerging: • Eco-driving – using less energy for same amount of work through slower acceleration and steady speeds; • Minimise or dispense with tilling and ploughing – new farming methods are making this possible for some food producers; • Long operation times and large batteries make it hard to electrify tractors and harvesters but near-farm vehicles such as front-end loaders could use plug-in power; • Biogas from anaerobic digestion is popular with some farmers but can be expensive and there are potential problems. You need a reactor to produce gas, then capture and store
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it. Often, to achieve the required purity, it is blended with bought-in natural gas, countering the green objective. And gas is harder to store than liquid as escape from a pressurised container can lead to big losses. Colin Stewart
Connecting Scotland In issue 17, Winter 2018, we reported on how delivery of fast broadband was concentrated on densely populated urban areas, leaving large parts of rural Scotland behind and creating a “twospeed Britain”. Since then, ﬁgures from Ofcom in the December 2019 Connected Nations report outline continued improvements. Full-ﬁbre broadband is available to three million homes and businesses; homes with superfast broadband increased by 500,000 in the past year; more homes have “decent” ﬁxed broadband (10 Mbit/s and above) and all four main mobile network operators have recently launched 5G services. But digital divides remain. In rural Scotland, 19% of homes and businesses (89,000 sites) are unable to receive “decent’ ﬁxed broadband – nearly 10 times the 9,000 urban total. Approximately 30,000 premises in Scotland – 95% of them in rural areas – are denied decent broadband via mobile or ﬁxed infrastructure, Ofcom estimates. Dr Lorna J Philip of the University of Aberdeen writes: “Westminster and devolved governments are doing much to boost connectivity and erode urbanrural divides. However, eﬀorts to bring ‘decent’ or better, superfast broadband (30 Mbit/s and above) to homes and businesses, especially in rural areas, have some way to go. “Focused on the greatest potential consumer base, the current 5G mobile
rollout is not beneﬁting rural consumers. Policy directives should ensure 5G connectivity comes to urban and rural areas, so territorial digital divides don’t become more entrenched, with potentially serious consequences for the sustainability of rural communities.” In March 2020 the UK telecoms regulator ﬁnalised their rules for this year’s 700MHz and 3.6-3.8GHz 5G auction, which has no legal coverage requirements, so many parts of the UK may never see 5G connectivity. The Government relaxed the 5G legal coverage obligation when it agreed the Shared Rural Network (SRN) commitment with the mobile operators in 2019 which targets the sharing of existing masts and new masts on poorly served areas aiming to extend UK 4G geographic coverage to 95% by the end of 2025. Mike Reid
Farewell FiT The Feed-in Tariﬀ, introduced by the UK Government to encourage investment in renewable energy technologies, was progressively reduced from its generous heights, then phased out for new applications in April 2019. The Smart Export Guarantee, which replaces FiT, pays people who generate small amounts of green energy from either solar PV, small-scale wind, hydro, anaerobic digestion or micro combined heat and power, for electricity they export to the grid. But the cost is borne by energy suppliers. Current FiT recipients remain unaﬀected. Previously, the Westminster Government encouraged large green projects such as solar farms and offshore wind with the Renewables Obligation, which compelled electricity suppliers to source an increasing proportion of electricity from renewable sources. This closed to all new generating capacity in March 2017. This was replaced by CfDs, a market mechanism involving a blind bidding process, incentivising investment in new low-carbon electricity generation by bringing predictability to future revenues. Adam Forsyth of Longspur Research in Edinburgh writes: “In the forthcoming decade we expect renewable energy development to look very diﬀerent from the previous 10 years. Both the Feed-in Tariﬀ and the Renewables Obligation are now closed to new generation capacity. To a large extent they have done their jobs where wind and solar are concerned, supporting the development of the industry to the point where costs are now competitive with other forms of electricity generation.” Mike Reid
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A B C ...spelling out the cost of energy failings Sales of homes could be blocked if they fall short on energy eﬃciency, but how will this impact on residential property values in general? Calum Innes reports.
CoMMoN sense suggests there should be a clear relationship between the energy eﬃciency of a building and its value so, for example, a purchaser would be prepared to pay a premium in order to achieve reduced energy costs in the future. The drivers that inﬂuence property purchase are many and varied and, while energy eﬃciency is increasingly important, the relationship to value is not as clearcut as might be assumed. The Scottish Government has just begun a consultation that could be the catalyst that crystallises the
Buildings were responsible for 28% of global energy-related CO2 emissions in 2018.
relationship between energy eﬃciency and value in the residential market. The proposal is that all owner-occupied domestic properties must achieve an EPC rating of C. EPCs were introduced as a measure of energy eﬃciency, rating homes from A, the best, to G, the least eﬃcient. New-build homes tend to have high EPC ratings, while older homes often have lower ratings of around D or E. The average EPC rating for a home in the UK is D. Buildings were
responsible for 28% of global energy-related CO2 emissions in 2018, according to the International Energy Agency. The proposal, which is mooted to become eﬀective in 2024, could oblige homeowners in Scotland to improve the energy eﬃciency of their property before being able to sell. If a seller is unwilling or unable to bring their home up to the required standard before sale, then the responsibility would fall on the buyer within a speciﬁc time limit. The consultation paper indicates that 62% of homes in Scotland are owner-occupied and of these only 38% have an energy performance certiﬁcate of C or above. So there is signiﬁcant scope in this sector to make improvements in the eﬀort to achieve climate change targets. The consultation suggests that this requirement would be imposed on all property transactions, even those for no value such as between family members, and could also be triggered by major renovations. Of course, there will be instances where it may not be technically feasible to achieve the desired eﬃciency and so some checks and balances will be required. The outcome of the consultation will be interesting and will no doubt prompt much debate, but a radical approach is needed if we are to achieve the required reduction to emissions.
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Homing in on hot spots Heat mapping, or thermal imaging, is an important aspect of a modern survey, says John Pullen. AS we move to more energy eﬃcient buildings, ensuring that heat losses are being minimised is a crucial part of any survey. It is now a simple process, using a small handheld thermal imaging camera, to quickly gain a wealth of information about the performance of many aspects of a building, from insulation to heating and window seals to the electrical installation. An external thermal image reveals areas where heat is escaping from the building. The software will often colour these images blue to represent cold areas (no heat escaping) and red to represent warm areas (heat escaping). These images can then be used to focus future works to areas where insulation has been missed or has failed over time. The same technique can be applied to windows and doors to ensure that seals are functioning correctly and identify areas where draughts are entering the property. With more electrical systems being added to buildings, from solar panels to electric vehicle chargers, there is the possibility of dangerous
How land use must change to cut greenhouse gases Key guidance on land use has been published to help farmers and others achieve climate goals. Gareth Taylor reports. WHEN the now postponed next round of uN negotiations on climate change takes place in Glasgow, the outcome will bind member states into further carbon reduction targets. The UK has already committed to net zero by 2050. In 2017 emissions from agriculture, land use and peatlands were 58 MtCO2e (million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent). That’s a big number, so the way we use land must adapt to advance the reduction of emissions. A thermal image reveals heat escaping from a sliding door.
overloading of cables and equipment. The thermal imaging camera can be used to view these installations to ensure that hot spots are not developing which could lead to future failure or ﬁre risk. Similarly many devices – from heat pumps, underﬂoor heating and solar panels down to simple fridges and freezers – can easily be inspected to ensure that they are operating correctly and that all of their seals and insulation are performing properly such that their low energy credentials are being fully realised. An A+++ appliance is only energy eﬃcient if it is operating correctly. With ever increasing energy prices, developing and using an up-to-date toolkit is one of the ways a modern surveyor can contribute to the drive towards greater energy eﬃciency.
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The UK Government set up the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) as an independent public body to advise UK and devolved governments and parliaments on tackling and preparing for climate change. The second of two CCC reports on land use, published in January, highlights the need to adjust practices to meet climate goals. Prepared by scientists, industry people and policy makers, the report highlights changes needed to achieve the challenging targets. It also exposes the substantial diﬀerence between current policy and support mechanisms – and what’s actually required to achieve net zero. The report sets out a range of options to drive emissions reduction in the UK: • Plant 30,000 Ha (74,000 acres) of additional forestry across the UK each year (increasing cover from 13% to 17%), • Restore peatland and ban rotational burning (or muirburn), • Reduce beef and sheep numbers by 20% from 2017 levels by 2050; • Release 23,000 Ha of arable land for energy crops (mostly biomass); • Reduce consumption of carbonintensive foods by 20% per person and reduce food waste by 20% overall; • Regulate enteric fermentation (emitted gases) from livestock,
and expand “nitrate-vulnerable zones” – areas deemed by the Environment Agency to be at risk of polluting waters by nitrate. The report notes that carbon credits from these measures should not be available to oﬀset emissions reductions that are needed to meet net-zero in other parts of the economy, i.e. no false doublecounting to inﬂate results. It also makes clear that wellmanaged pasture can dramatically improve carbon sequestration, that is, keep it out of the atmosphere for a time. However, it also says that unlike aﬀorestation, i.e. growing trees where none stood before, there is a limit to how much carbon can be stored indeﬁnitely in a given area of grass pasture. The CCC highlights potential
The report highlights changes needed to achieve the challenging targets.
opportunities for land managers and suggests that an auction system for carbon reduction could deliver a competitive market for government subsidy (like the Contracts for Diﬀerence process for renewable energy generation). Other opportunities include bioenergy and precision farming. But there is an overall need to strengthen skills and leadership within the industry. The report also acknowledges that other drivers aﬀecting land use decisions, such as commodity prices and taxation, can have a signiﬁcant impact on capital values. The departure from the European Common Agricultural Policy is already leading to unprecedented changes within the industry and it’s clear that the way we use land will need to change rapidly if the Government is serious about hitting its targets.
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Radiation alert as 5G phone networks roll out Potential radiation levels have prompted concerns about the building and use of phone masts. As Mike Reid reports, landowners should be prepared.
4G & 5G NETWORK EXCLUSION ZONES COMPARED Plan view 4G exclusion zone, approx 20 metres
5G exclusion zone, at least 50 metres
LANdoWNERS with telecommunication apparatus on their land need to fully understand the radiation exclusion zones in order to protect themselves and other members of the public from potentially harmful radiation eﬀects from any telecoms equipment installed by mobile operators. With the rollout of 5G – ﬁfth-generation wireless technology – these exclusion zones are becoming larger, potentially causing more restrictions for landowners.
metres above the ground. On greenﬁeld sites this exclusion zone could create problems for those working at heights in the vicinity of any mast or operating agricultural machinery which exceeds 4 metres high, such as combine harvesters. Should the equipment be on hilly terrain or where there are buildings nearby, the impact could be signiﬁcant. For rooftop telecommunication sites, the situation is far more problematic as the exclusion zones could cover adjacent buildings and stretch a signiﬁcant way across the site itself.
The public exclusion zones from a 4G transmitter have a radius of about 19 to 20 metres from the antenna. However, under International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNRP) guidelines, a 5G antenna might need an exclusion zone of 50 metres or more from the front of the antenna together with a small area to the rear.
Not all telecommunication operators are informing landowners about these exclusion zones, which is very concerning as it prevents the landowner from implementing appropriate safety guidelines. Exclusion zones can impact multiple operations including roof maintenance works and surveys.
A 5G antenna that is 20 metres above ground level will typically have an exclusion zone that falls from the top of the equipment to about 4
Landowners should ensure leases have adequate provisions to ensure the operator declares all health and safety information including exclusion
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Not all telecom operators are informing landowners about these exclusion zones.
On the front line of climate change Young people are concerned about climate change because they face the consequences. But, writes Willem Dane, they must have the right skills to confront the challenge.
CLIMATE change has long been at the forefront of popular debate, and as people grow ever more conscious of the crisis the debate seems only to be intensifying. Recently, the biggest change in the discussion is that it is increasingly being led by young people – and rightly so, since it impacts their future more than any other age group. Young people like Greta Thunberg and the less-known Boyan Slat have had a big impact on political agendas worldwide, and the latter has helped to pave the way forward in technological development. Both of these activists have been eﬀecting positive change at an impressively tender age. These trailblazers are exceptional. However, it will be the next generation of engineers and scientists who will develop solutions to ultimately banish the spectre of global warming looming over our political and industrial consciousness. Despite the clear “call to arms”, in the UK there is a major lack of STEM skills – science, technology, engineering and maths – which cost industry around £1.5 billion a year. Moreover, the number of STEM roles required is expected to double in the next 10 years. Industry is therefore increasingly involved in providing and supporting solutions to the STEM skills shortage, with organisations helping to facilitate links between companies and local schools, such as STEM Learning and charities including the Smallpeice Trust. zones and has contractual commitments for compensation to be paid for any additional costs or losses incurred as a result of complying with these exclusion zones as well as appropriate indemnities from third party claims. It may be appropriate for clauses to be included within the telecoms agreement for the landowner to have the right to have the equipment switched oﬀ during their maintenance inspections and work in any areas aﬀected by the exclusion zones. Should any additional training be required for the landowner’s staﬀ or contractors, this should be at the operator’s expense. It is important to have a properly negotiated agreement for any telecoms lease and the initial terms proposed by the operator are unlikely to be the best that can be agreed for such a long-term agreement.
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During my time on the Nucleargraduates scheme, I worked with a team of fellow graduates to write a children’s book, called Planet One. The intention was to introduce the diﬀerent methods of energy generation and their relative eﬀects on the environment to primary school aged children. We aimed to create an engaging narrative, interspersed with accessible fact pages and an unbiased view of each generation method, in order to engage our young audience. We then marketed the books as a way for STEM and energy focused businesses to facilitate interaction with local schools. The proceeds from sales were donated to STEM charities such as the Smallpeice Trust. Since May 2019, and at the time of writing, this incentive has raised almost £7,000 and, more importantly, it has reached more than 2,000 schoolchildren. We hope this will encourage and inspire them to be the next generation at the forefront of energy generation and STEM subjects.
Willem Dane is a nuclear engineer in his 20s working in British industry.
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The woodland way to earn carbon credits As pressure mounts for long-term solutions to climate change, companies are choosing Scottish woodland to oﬀset their emissions. Paul Schoﬁeld reports.
IN JuLY last year, Mohammed Barkindo, the Secretary-General of oPEC, declared that Greta Thunberg and other young campaigners were the "greatest threat" to the fossil fuel industry. Such is the impact of the teen climate activist, whose media presence is credited with raising global public awareness about climate change and its potential eﬀects. She joins others inﬂuencing the climate debate, such as Extinction Rebellion, David Attenborough, the rise of flygskam – ﬂight shame – and Government zeroemissions targets. In January, the McKinsey consultancy warned ﬁnancial markets could face upheaval if the risks of climate change are not taken seriously. By 2030, an estimated 105 countries representing 90% of global GDP are likely to suﬀer extreme physical changes including increased drought, ﬂooding and rising temperatures with potentially serious economic consequences (Financial Times, January 16, 2020). One tangible eﬀect of this growing awareness has been a sharp increase in individuals and businesses of all sizes oﬀsetting carbon emissions, usually by investing in carbon reducing projects in developing countries, from improving domestic cooking facilities to tree planting. Many airlines, including British Airways and EasyJet, have started oﬀering voluntary carbon oﬀsetting to their passengers while Shell allows customers the opportunity to “drive carbon neutral” with carbon credits from conservation projects in Peru, Indonesia, USA and UK. Climate Care, a ﬁrm that provides programmes enabling large organisations to oﬀset residual carbon emissions, has reportedly seen the amount of carbon oﬀset increase from 2 million to 20 million tonnes over the past 18 months. Firms are under increasing pressure from both consumers and shareholders to take responsibility not only for their direct emissions but also for what are called Scope 3 emissions – those produced as a consequence of the products or services they provide, including emissions resulting from goods and services delivered through an outside supplier. However, a major beneﬁt of oﬀsetting in the UK is that projects are designed in accordance with strict environmental standards and monitored by Scottish Forestry and Forestry England, and any concerned investors need not travel far to review oﬀsetting projects. Rather than investing purely in overseas projects, several Galbraith clients are looking at how their landholdings in Scotland can help oﬀset Scope 3 emissions in the future. One of the most eﬃcient ways to use land for long-term carbon capture is to plant trees. This is recognised by the Scottish Government whose ambitious climate change mitigation strategy involves increasing woodland cover by 180,000 hectares by 2032.
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Although woodland ownership may be unfamiliar territory to some ﬁrms, woodlands can provide a valuable asset for businesses looking to oﬀset their carbon emissions, creating a new driver other than traditional forestry investment. With shareholders focusing increasingly on environmental performance almost as much as ﬁnancial returns, demonstrating a real and veriﬁable commitment to the environment is becoming a priority. John Davies, head of sustainability at Derwent London, the property development and investment group, explains: “As part of our net zero carbon journey we are looking at developing a clear, robust and transparent carbon oﬀset strategy to help us remove the remaining balance of Scope 3 emissions we cannot manage out of our business activities. In doing this we want to ensure that we are supporting projects and initiatives which deliver tangible carbon and social beneﬁts across the UK.” In the UK, the Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) – administered by the Scottish Government agency Scottish Forestry – sets out the design and management requirements for voluntary carbon
CELEBRATING ouR 20TH ISSuE
Native woodland planting in Perthshire: woodlands can provide a valuable asset for businesses looking to oﬀset their carbon emissions.
sequestration, allowing tree planting projects to be registered and independently veriﬁed. Veriﬁed woodland carbon units are one type of ‘credit’ that an organisation can use to voluntarily oﬀset emissions associated with its activities, products, services and buildings under current UK government guidance on demonstrating carbon neutrality. However, these units cannot be used in international carbon reduction mechanisms, such as the EU Emissions Trading System (WCC, 2018). Other standards for quantifying carbon sequestration projects include the veriﬁed carbon standard developed by the Climate Group and International Emissions Trading Association. Using the WCC woodland carbon calculator, native woodland is more carbon eﬃcient than productive conifers. This is because a “clear-fell cap” is applied to reﬂect the long-term average carbon stock over several whole rotations where a woodland is repeatedly clear-felled and restocked with consequent peaks and troughs in carbon storage. Emissions from forestry operations are also taken into account. Although the market for WCC carbon units is still developing, this model has in principle created a
Huge congratulations to Energy Matters on its 20th edition. The renewables revolution has played a major part in the development of the Scottish rural economy and support for local communities. At its heart this requires the sharing of information and the delivery of insight. Energy Matters does both very well. David Johnstone, former Chairman, Scottish Land & Estates
new incentive for native woodland and rewilding projects, making previously unproductive woodlands ﬁnancially productive simply by trees absorbing carbon from the atmosphere and growing bigger as a result. Native woodlands have an additional reputational beneﬁt for some ﬁrms as they provide the opportunity to convey a wider story about issues such as biodiversity and public engagement. Although funding for woodland creation has not been conﬁrmed beyond the Forestry Grant Scheme deadline of December 31, 2020, it seems likely funding will be found, given the considerable political support for planting trees to mitigate climate change. This will provide the incentive needed to maintain the current level of interest in planting new woodlands of all types. It remains to be seen whether carbon sequestration will become a signiﬁcant new driver for tree planting in the future.
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galbraithgroup.com | Energy Matters | Summer 2020 | Page 21
A better service — automatically Modern power supply systems are crucial to island dwellers, and automation is making them more reliable, as Nick Morgan reports.
A SCoTTISH island is an ideal place to escape dense population and the stresses of modern life elsewhere. At least that’s the common perception. While this may well be true for many island dwellers, they also rely heavily on the availability of robust communication links. They also depend on security of power supply and aﬀordable heat in what are often exposed locations. To address this, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is automating its network so that in case of interruption, supplies can be reactivated remotely, removing the need for physical access by technicians. The work can be undertaken from a control room, a particularly relevant advance at a time when people and organisations are looking to minimise non-essential trips for health reasons. The innovative and self-adapting automation system detects when, and where, there is a fault on the network, then either chooses the most suitable alternative cable circuit to switch supplies to, or sends a signal to the main control
room, where engineers can restore power with the push of a button. All of this is done in a matter of minutes, signiﬁcantly reducing disruption to SSEN’s customers and also reducing environmental impact through trips saved. Network reinforcement forms part of a multimillion pound programme driven by SSEN to ensure Scottish islands can use additional circuits, providing greater choice and the ability to ‘backfeed’ – cause electrical power to ﬂow in the opposite direction from normal – which improves the recovery time of electricity supply. “Our Highlands and Islands region is host to some of the most rural and challenging terrain in the country,” said an SSEN spokesperson. “With this challenging terrain come diﬃcult weather conditions, particularly in the winter months. “This year we’re investing more than £8 million to upgrade and strengthen the network across our region to ensure a continued secure supply of electricity to power our communities, including £2 million in innovative automated technology to reduce disruption to our customers when faults occur.” Galbraith has continued to assist SSEN and other clients over the past decade by carrying out the wayleave role, which often makes us the main point of contact between utilities and landowners or third parties with land aﬀected by their apparatus. This role will always remain an important part of the process as networks are continually being updated. Communicating these changes eﬀectively with the communities aﬀected and gaining the appropriate landowners’ and occupiers’ consents is critical. The need to renew end-of-life equipment and install new services over and under land has increased to cope with modern demands. This, alongside keeping up with changes in consenting processes and observing etiquette in dealing with these, means Galbraith are well placed to advise on all land and consent-related matters for utility companies, developers and independent connection providers alike.
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CELEBRATING ouR 20TH ISSuE
Congratulations to the team at Galbraith for producing the 20th Edition of Energy Matters. It always contains good, grounded, practical and informative articles that help keep us all abreast of the market.
The other north-south divide Transmission charging must be reformed to allow northern renewable projects to be built, says Adam Morrison.
Alex Reading, Director, Green Highland Renewables
TEN years after it was ﬁrst conceived, the construction of the 950MW Moray East oﬀshore Wind Farm is well under way in the outer Moray Firth.
It will provide low-cost, low-carbon power for almost one million UK homes. The project can fairly be described as a “landmark”.
This and other technological advances have enabled us to dramatically cut the cost of generating electricity from wind at sea. Moray East will cost £57.50 per MWhr compared with £140 per MWhr (2012 prices) for the neighbouring Beatrice Oﬀshore windfarm which came on line last year. This dramatic cost reduction was a result of hard work to cut costs at every point in our supply chain, from design and procurement through to ﬁnancing, construction and operations. There is, however, one cost we cannot cut: grid charging or Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) charging, to give it it’s formal title. In broad terms, this is a historic policy which increases costs to generators according to how far they are from load centres in the south-east of the UK. The diﬀerence or “delta” between the north and the south is increasing over time (as shown on the graph) while the revenue generated from electricity sales is decreasing as a result of cost reduction. Under our Contract for Diﬀerence (CfD) auction system, only projects bidding the lowest price for power are built. The additional burden that could be aﬀorded when renewable prices were high are unaﬀordable at the sub-£50 per MWhr price delivered by the last CfD auction. When renewables were £150 per MWhr, TNUoS represented only about 4% of the cost per unit generated in the north, and could be absorbed. Now renewables are below £40 per MWhr, this
It has used technological advances to build in deeper waters than any of the 30 or so oﬀshore wind farms built to date, thus opening up access to a better wind resource than was previously possible.
DELTA BETWEEN NORTHERLY & SOUTHERLY ZONES
10 Apr 16 Apr 17 Apr 18 Apr 19 Apr20 Apr 21 Apr 22 Apr 23 Apr 24
has risen to about 17%, making northern projects 17% more expensive compared with projects in the south, with obvious impacts on their ability to compete. The CfD auction was initially intended to give to support which made the best use of resources from across the whole of the UK. But as technology has matured and TNUoS has increased, the CfD auction process will determine which projects are constructed on a geographic basis due to the strength of location signal that TNUoS provides against northerly projects. TNUoS aﬀects all new generation. New projects in the north, which (like Moray West) have planning consent and are ready to provide beneﬁts similar to those of Moray East are becoming stranded on the drawing board by the TNUoS barrier just because of their location. Reform is needed now to encourage, rather than discourage, the development of renewable resources where they are found.
Adam Morrison is project director of Moray West Offshore Windfarm, and was head of electrical for Moray East Offshore Windfarm.
galbraithgroup.com | Energy Matters | Summer 2020 | Page 23
Why there’s still life in old King Coal Coal has lost its shine in the switch to green energy. But as Peter Combe reports, mining remains a key part of the economy and landowners can beneﬁt.
CoAL not only powered the Empire – generations of families throughout Britain relied on this original fossil fuel for warmth through the winter months. Now, as the world turns to renewable energy to heat buildings and power vehicles, King Coal is in decline.
becomes insolvent when all the mineral has been extracted, leaving the landowner with an expensive site restoration task and no ﬁnancial protection. Opencast mining is a temporary land use that is increasingly combined with high-quality restoration schemes to deliver long-term beneﬁts to local communities, as the examples on this page illustrate. Getting planning permission for the mineral extraction can be an obstacle. Securing planning consent is becoming increasingly diﬃcult as central Government drives carbon reduction policies forward in the UK. A local authority that has a supportive minerals plan is key.
That’s not to say it’s ﬁnished – nothing matches coal as a storable, ready source of energy, while coking coal is an essential element in steel production. China and India are building coalﬁred power stations by the dozen.
In the rush to adopt green alternatives, it’s important to note that coal is an abundant source of energy, mined and used around the world. This wide supply brings price stability over time, unlike oil and gas, whose susceptibility to geopolitical forces tends to result in greater price volatility.
Coal mining remains an important part of the North of England economy, and one that provides potential opportunities for landowners. But given that coal production was nationalised in 1946, how can owners derive potential revenue if they don’t own it?
Britain is a net importer of coal, and imports are on the rise as UK production falls away faster than demand. But our high safety, welfare and environmental standards are not universal – there’s a strong argument for producing coal here, as sustainably as possible.
Under a typical opencast coal extraction operation, the owner of the surface derives income in the form of a so-called wayleave payment. Typically these are made with the aim of compensating the surface owner or occupier for temporary disturbance caused by the mining operation. Payment levels can vary according to the volume and quality of reserves, ease of extraction, proximity to the end user and the coal price at a given time.
Coal could play a role in our long-term energy future. Carbon capture is being explored as a means of limiting greenhouse gas emissions, and coal could form part of the clean-energy mix as we approach net zero in 2050.
Landowners considering these options will need to weigh a number of factors, such as choosing the right mining operator to extract the coal, structuring an appropriate extraction agreement and entering into an ‘insurance bonding’ arrangement.
And brickshale – a by-product of opencast coal mining used in the manufacture of bricks – is becoming increasingly scarce with the decline in the number of operational coal mines in the UK. Landowners may not own the coal under their property, and it may be an unfashionable source of energy, but they would be wise not to ignore its presence beneath the surface.
It’s vital to avoid a situation in which an operator Page 24 | Energy Matters | Summer 2020 | galbraithgroup.com
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RESTORATION SCHEMES THAT IMPROVE COAL’S GREEN CREDENTIALS The Delhi mine, above, is a restored surface coal mining site on the Blagdon Estate near Cramlington, Northumberland. Banks Mining extracted coal from the site between 2003 and 2009. Historic photographs and plans were used to develop the restoration which recreates features that had been lost over the years. The plans were developed in conjunction with local residents, Northumberland County Council, Castle Morpeth Borough Council, English Heritage and Blagdon Estate. Northumberlandia, left, is a piece of public art set in a 46-acre community park with free public access. It was also created by the Banks Group, which works the adjacent Shotton surface coal mine. The £3 million cost of the project was privately funded by the Banks Group and the Blagdon Estate. This project is known as ‘restoration ﬁrst’ – taking an extra piece of land donated by the landowner, Blagdon Estate, and providing a new landscape for the community to enjoy while the mine is still extracting coal. Northumberlandia was designed by the renowned post-modernist designer and writer, Charles Jencks, and was voted Landmark of the Year at the prestigious BBC Countryﬁle Magazine Awards 2020.
galbraithgroup.com | Energy Matters | Summer 2020 | Page 25
Moving forward with digital maps New information systems continue to transform how we view and interpret the land. Daniel Campanile reports on the constantly evolving technology.
A LoT has changed in the past few years within Galbraith, and rapid developments in geographic information system (GIS) technology has challenged us to balance this change with the practicalities of running a successful business. Striking a compromise between adopting new technologies and just getting the job done with existing processes isn’t easy. However, a little reﬂection highlights just how far we have come with the use of GIS. In energy and utilities work, geospatial data plays a key role. The acquisition of good data, usually followed by an element of analysis or interpretation and ending with a deliverable solution, has changed signiﬁcantly. Photocopied paper maps annotated with coloured scribbles, ﬁeld notebooks full of less than accurate sketches and information obtained from unreliable memories or often out-of-date sources are no longer good enough. Digital mapping and the production of high quality electronic plans is now the norm and a standard skill that many of our surveyors have. We are far less reliant on old paper methods or online map shops with basic drawing tools and instead do all our mapping using desktop GIS. This has considerably enhanced our abilities both in quality and complexity of GIS work. More extensive use of digital mapping has also improved our ability to manage work eﬀectively internally and allowed an expansion in GIS services we provide to our clients. GIS as reference tools have also undergone signiﬁcant change. In the past year, re-development of our WebGIS has produced a modern, future-proofed online platform, which can be used by all staﬀ with access to the internet wherever they are to get relevant geospatial information. A crucial enhancement to our new WebGIS is the ability to provide project-speciﬁc mapping portals both for internal teams and also as collaborative working spaces that clients can access. This shifts work from the traditional model of static (and often high volume) pdf deliverables to dynamic interactions directly with clients and contractors. The acquisition of site-based GIS data is also beginning to change within the business. Notebooks and paper maps are being replaced by apps on smartphones and GIS software on tablets. Using these devices fulﬁls the “capture once” principle, reducing time back in the oﬃce re-capturing data unnecessarily and minimising potential error by removing stages of work that were previously done manually. Many of the changes have had a positive impact, but there is still much to do to take further advantage of these technologies. Striking that balance is not easy; get it wrong and you run the risk of either being left behind or overstretching the rescouces needed just to get the job done well. Get it right, and who knows where we’ll be in a few years’ time?
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Fife farm turbine update Mike Reid reports on the performance of wind turbine after six years of operation.
PREvIouSLY in Energy Matters we have looked at the development of a 500kW EWT 54 model wind turbine on a Fife farm from concept through commissioning and into operation. The turbine was commissioned on May 31 2014 with a consented tip height of 67 metres. The project was preaccredited under the Feed-in Tariﬀ so qualiﬁed for the support payments before any degression of the tariﬀ. Since commissioning the turbine has averaged a capacity factor of 31.4%, which has varied from 29-36% in each calendar year. To January 31, 2020 the turbine has produced a total of 7,780,452 kWhr of power, which is an average of 1,375,000 kWhr a year – enough to power 366 houses (based on average usage of 3,760 kWh/year). Capacity factors vary from month to month with winter
Page 26 | Energy Matters | Summer 2020 | galbraithgroup.com
generally being windier and in January 2020 234,540 kWhr were produced, giving a capacity factor of 65.5%. With the end of the Feed-in Tariﬀ in 2017 the development of smaller single turbines of up to 1MW ceased as the technological advances in turbine development haven’t enabled these types of turbine to compete at market prices without subsidy support. The Government’s announcement in February this year that onshore wind can compete for subsidy support may change this dynamic, which would be helpful in ensuring that local renewable generation from onshore wind can continue as an important contributor towards tackling climate change.
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Have you got what it takes to work for Galbraith?
huge variety day-to-day. No two days are the same.
You bring the energy and ambition. We’ll provide the excellent prospects. Stefanie Bennett describes the career opportunities on oﬀer at Galbraith.
Our energy staﬀ take responsibility and are accountable in a largely client-facing environment, where travel to customer sites for meetings is a regular occurrence. The variety of work along with the diverse nature of our client base keeps our teams engaged and always learning, in a fast-paced working environment.
AS HR Manager for Galbraith, I am passionate about ensuring we attract and retain the best talent for our growing business, allowing us to continue to provide a ﬁrst-class service delivery to our wide client base. Since joining in August 2019, I have been working closely with our partnership to prioritise our people strategy around what engages and motivates people while they are at work. This enables them to develop and excel in an environment where they feel valued, respected and trusted to do a great job. Our energy business stream is focused on just that and oﬀers a diverse breadth of opportunity in various roles across our geographical locations including land and wayleave oﬃcers, project managers and administrative support at varying levels. These roles oﬀer the opportunity to engage with our various business streams on large projects, consultancy work and contracts, which provides
CELEBRATING ouR 20TH ISSuE
Our energy business stream has a large amount of experience and knowledge, providing an unrivalled opportunity for those who join us to gain valuable experience from the best in the sector.
Galbraith oﬀers a structured approach to learning, where you are supported in your continual development, both on the job and through external training opportunities and attendance at frequent CPD and learning events, identiﬁed through regular and structured one-to-ones. We want to talk to people who have a genuine interest in the energy, renewables and utilities sector and are looking for an opportunity to inﬂuence the energy eﬃciency of our country. We would love to hear from you if you think you have what it takes! You can hear directly from some of the Galbraith team about the variety of roles available with the ﬁrm here, visit our website or get in touch via LinkedIn.
Energy Matters has always been a source of up to date and informative content across the wider energy field. It reflects my experiences in working closely with the team.
Sarah Pirie, Senior Commercial Manager, Red Rock Power
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CURRENT RENEWABLE ENERGY SUBSIDIES
Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Applications submitted for the period 1/10/2018 – 30/12/2018
The Galbraith energy team has researched the current subsidy regime to produce this reference guide for the most popular technologies. Subsidy levels are subject to change, so the ﬁgures given here are for guidance only. Current details of FIT rates, ROCs and CFDs can be found at www.ofgem.gov.uk/environmental-programmes The Feed-in Tariﬀ and the Renewables Obligation scheme have both closed to new projects.
Biomass boilers and stoves
Air-source heat pumps
Ground-source heat pumps Solar thermal
Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Tariff name
Small commercial biomass
Solid biomass including solid biomass contained in waste
Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 1 Tier 2
3.11 2.18 3.11 2.18
Tier 1 Tier 2
Medium commercial biomass Large commercial biomass Solid biomass CHP systems Water/ground-source heat pumps
Solid biomass CHP Ground-source & water-source heat pumps
Air-source heat pumps All solar collectors Small biogas combustion Medium biogas combustion*
Air-source heat pumps Solar collectors Biogas combustion
All capacities Tier 1 Tier 2 All capacities <200 kWth <200 kWth ≥200 kWth ≤ 600 kWth ≥ 600 kWth
Large biogas combustion* Source: Ofgem. Tariff rates are in displayed in pence per kWth and for installations with an accreditation date on or after 22/5/2018.
4.51 9.56 2.85 2.75 10.98 4.74 3.72 1.18 * Commissioned on or after 4/12/2013.
galbraithgroup.com | Energy Matters | Summer 2020 | Page 27
OUR EXPERTISE n
Anaerobic digestion n Battery storage n Biomass n Buying, selling and due diligence n Hydro power n Investment in renewables n Land Referencing n On-shore wind n Oï¬&#x20AC;-shore wind n Planning n Solar energy n Telecoms n Utilities and infrastructure n Valuations
OUR EXPERTS ABERDEEN Tom Stewart
firstname.lastname@example.org AYR & CASTLE DOUGLAS david Corrie 07824 690199
email@example.com BLAGDON Matthew Williamson
firstname.lastname@example.org CUPAR Mike Reid
email@example.com STIRLING & PERTH Richard Higgins
firstname.lastname@example.org EDINBURGH Gareth Taylor
0131 240 6962
email@example.com HEXHAM Roddy Findlay
Roddy.firstname.lastname@example.org INVERNESS & ELGIN dougal Lindsay 01463 245380
email@example.com GALASHIELS & KELSO Harry Lukas 01896 662829
firstname.lastname@example.org PENRITH Athole McKillop