SSEN consultation on new power line
SSEN website -
In order to support the continued growth in onshore and offshore renewables across the north of Scotland, supporting the country’s drive towards Net Zero, further investment in network infrastructure is needed to connect this renewable power and transport it from source to areas of demand across the country.
Following extensive system studies, Spittal to Beauly has been identified as a critical corridor in establishing this required reinforcement, connecting into new substation sites at Spittal, Loch Buidhe and Beauly along the way. Network studies have been completed demonstrating the need for a new 400kV connection between these sites, supported by the instruction to ‘Proceed’ in National Grid’s Networks Options Assessment (NOA) Report and the subsequent Holistic Network Design study.
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We would like to thank everyone who has shared their feedback so far, which will be carefully considered as we further refine our plans. Given the extent of interest in the project and in direct response to requests from the community, we have extended the consultation period by two weeks and would encourage anyone with an interest in the project to provide their feedback by Friday 14 April.
Project booklet (44 page PDF)
Transmission line route options maps
Centre for Sustainable Energy - a new approach to Community Energy development
(reference from Transition Together newsletter)
We are an independent national charity that shares our knowledge and experience to help people change the way they think and act on energy.
Over the past couple of years, the Centre for Sustainable Energy has been scaling up a new approach to community engagement on renewables. The Future Energy Landscapes (FEL) approach has generated community support for local renewable energy projects or plans, allowing local planning authorities to develop ambitious energy plans.
This is because the approach explores local interest in renewable energy, encourages discussions around different possibilities and provides resources and information to understand what’s possible within a local area. Because people have gone through this thought process, they’re more likely to support local plans born out of these conversations.
UK government approves Cumbria coalmine
The UK will build its first new coalmine for three decades at Whitehaven in Cumbria, despite objections locally, across the UK and from around the world.
Michael Gove, the levelling up secretary, gave the green light for the project on Wednesday, paving the way for an estimated investment of £165m that will create about 500 new jobs in the region and produce 2.8m tonnes of coking coal a year, largely for steelmaking.
'Cumbria coalmine approval shows Sunak does not care whether he is seen as green'The Guardian 7 December 2022 Fiona Harvey, Environment editor
'First UK coal mine in decades approved despite climate concerns'BBC News 7 December 2022 Christina McSorley, Joshua Nevett, Justin Rowlatt.
UK Government's energy strategy disappoints
Boris Johnson is to put nuclear energy at the heart of the UK’s new energy strategy, but ministers have refused to set targets for onshore wind and vowed to continue the exploitation of North Sea oil and gas.
Amid deep divisions among senior Conservatives, the strategy will enrage environmentalists, who say the government’s plans are in defiance of its own net-zero targets and neglect alternative measures that experts say would provide much quicker relief from high energy bills.
. . . .
Opposition parties were scathing about the strategy. Two former energy secretaries from Labour and the Liberal Democrats branded it “ludicrous” and “hopeless” for failing to expand onshore wind power or tackle energy efficiency.
. . . .
Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader and another former energy secretary, added: “The Conservatives’ failure to help people cut their bills with an urgent energy insulation programme, the failure to back super-cheap onshore wind and the failure to back properly new technologies like tidal power and hydrogen is a total betrayal of families and pensioners across the UK.”
The Guardian Rob Davies and Rowena Mason 6 April 2022
Read the full article
‘Major misjudgment’: how the Tories got their energy strategy so wrong
The Guardian Damian Carrington 6 April 2022
UK and Scottish governments' Net Zero and Heat in Buildings policies criticised
In contrast to almost unanimous criticism by environmental organisations and the intelligent press of the UK Government's recently announced Net Zero strategy as being too little too slowly, the Energy Saving Trust praised it unreservedly, raising doubts about its independence, and the Scottish think tank Common Weal has put forward a radical proposal for a major publicly financed undertaking to insulate older buildings in Scotland.
UK Government Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener (367pp PDF)
UK Government Heat and Buildings Strategy (202pp PDF)
Energy Saving Trust on Net Zero Strategy
Energy Saving Trust on Heat and Buildings Strategy
Scottish Government Heat in Buildings Strategy
Community Energy Scotland on the Scottish Government strategy
Common Weal 'Our Common Home' plan on Buildings
Prospect of 25 GW more renewable energy from auction of offshore wind licenses
The Scottish government has awarded 25 gigawatts of offshore wind project development rights, more than double the UK’s existing offshore wind capacity, in one of the biggest auctions of its kind in the world.
More than half the projects, with a total capacity of 13GW, will use “floating” wind turbines, the first time that this technology, which is tethered to the seabed, will be deployed commercially at a large scale.
Financial Times 17 January Nathalie Thomas and Leslie Hook
Read the full article
First Minister hails “truly historic” opportunity
Details of the bids from Crown Estate Scotland
UK Government to allow more North Sea oil and gas exploration
Apparently undeterred by the stushie over the Cumbria coal mine, and contrary to the suggestion in mid March on the Offshore-energy.biz website - 'UK considering ban on new North Sea oil and gas exploration' - The UK government is preparing to issue a new round of oil and gas exploration licences for the North Sea. Instead of following the lead of Denmark and France in banning new exploration licences,
the government plans to introduce a new “climate compatibility checkpoint” to determine whether each application is “compatible with the UK’s climate change objectives”.
The checkpoint will use the latest evidence for the UK’s domestic demand for oil and gas, the North Sea’s projected production levels, the availability of clean energy, and the sector’s progress against its emissions reduction targets ahead of each planned licensing round.
If the checkpoint – to be designed later this year – suggests that future oil and gas exploration would undermine the UK’s climate goals, the licensing round would not go ahead.
- Gillian Andrews The Guardian 24 March 2021
The decision has angered environmental campaigners, who say the government should refuse new licences. Ministers say permission to drill will be granted as part of a careful transition away from fossil fuels, safeguarding jobs and the economy.
But the environmentalists say that enough fossil fuels to ruin the climate have already been found. In light of this, they say, the government should have refused the new licences. They add that the decision undermines the UK position as leader of the vital UN climate conference in November, known as COP26.
- Roger Harrabin BBC News 24 March 2021
October 2021 Big Solar Co-op
The Big Solar Co-op is a new approach to subsidy-free community solar, supported by Sharenergy. We’re working across the UK to:
- Make solar viable on a huge range of sites – without subsidy
- Empower and support volunteers to work together to get it built
- Fight the climate crisis through large-scale, grassroots community action
Learn more about how you can get involved or read about the Big Solar Co-op vision and the need for the project.
With funding from the Climate Challenge Fund, we have bought a number of electric “Smart Meters” which are available to lend to householders wanting to use them to reduce their electricity consumption. The meters are loaned out for three month periods, and participants encouraged to share experiences. Participants have found these helped them reduce their electricity consumption by up to 50%. They are currently available for loan at the community markets.
We have also linked up with schools such as Tarradale Primary, who are using the 32 meters we obtained for schools and specially designed work cards to monitor their home energy use as part of their science curriculum – this means many local households each year are using one of the meters to investigate their electricity usage.
We have an anemometer available for anyone thinking of installing a small wind turbine. Contact email@example.com if interested.
There are any number of the other possible projects, it would be great to hear from anyone with a new idea and some time to help put it into action.
- Thursday 1 June
- 14:00 Open Garden Dundonnell House
- Saturday 3 June
- 14:00 Open Garden Glenkyllachy Tomatin
- 10:00 Black Isle Place Plan second stage consultation
- Saturday 10 June
- NA Great Big Green Week 10 -18 June
- 10:30 Cromarty Community Market
- Saturday 17 June
- 09:30 'Ecologist' online event - Small is the Future
- 10:00 Culbokie Community Market
- Thursday 22 June
- NA Cromarty Firth marine research project workshop
Events to add to calendar? Contact Us.
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