So, we have survived the Spring Statement, which could have been better but could have been worse. Now we need to see some proper green initiatives with money backing them from the Energy Security Strategy.

Now that we can get loans and zero VAT for domestic heat pumps, I thought a quick buyers guide might be helpful

Company news

Shell to invest £25 billion in UK’s energy sector
The UK’s energy sector is set to receive £25 billion worth of investment from Shell.
David Bunch, Shell’s UK Country Chair said: “Shell UK is planning to invest between £20 and £25 billion into the UK energy system over the next decade.
“More than 75% of this will be in low and zero-carbon products and services, including offshore wind, hydrogen and electric mobility.
“These investments, subject to board approval, aim to propel the UK closer to net zero and help to ensure security of supply whilst stimulating economic growth and jobs.”
Mr Bunch called for urgent government action to deliver policy and business case frameworks. (energylivenews)

UK news

Engie signes 10 year PPA with two new wind farms
Engie has secured exclusive rights to offtake the electricity generated by two onshore wind farms currently being built in Scotland by renewable energy developer ERG, after the firms today announced two major new power purchase agreements (PPAs).
The 10-year PPAs are for two wind farms – Sandy Knowe and Creag Riabhach – boasting a total installed capacity of 179MW, which are expected to generate a total of around 530GWh once they move into operation from the second half of this year, according to ERG.
The independent green energy developer’s CEO, Paolo Merli, said the deal with the French energy and infrastructure giant underscored its plan to utilise both government auctions and PPAs as “tools for securitisation of revenues”. (businessgreen)

Welsh tidal energy project secures £31m of EU funding
A major tidal energy project in Wales has been granted £31 million from the EU’s regional funding programme for the first phase of construction work.
Morlais is Welsh non-profit organisation Menter Môn’s project that aims to benefit local communities, the economy and help tackle climate change by using renewable energy to generate low carbon electricity.
The  project would see a development on 13 square miles of seabed, generating up to 240MW of electricity from the power of the tides.
The first phase includes the development of onshore infrastructure for the Anglesey marine energy project.
The Crown Estate is investing a further £1.2 million in the Morlais project to support the delivery of its environmental monitoring and mitigation package. (energylivenews)

Where does the UK Government stand on Net Zero
A good question. The Spring Statement didn’t ignore green initiatives but neither did it exactly go overboard. There was a tax break for investments that cut emissions in buildings both for business and the private sector. Richie Sunak did suggest to the new National Infrastructure Bank that they prioritise green investments and we shall await the Energy Security Strategy due next week. However it may not be a surprise that the Chancellor’s pronouncements are always a bit light on Net Zero initiatives when the party he represents constantly contradict themselves in this space. This quote is taken from Cecilia Keeting writing in Businessgreen:

“With apologies to Russ Jones’ #TheWeekinTory Twitter threads over the past fortnight we have seen: a government source telling the Mail on Sunday “net zero is dead”; the Prime Minister declaring “net zero is not the problem”; an unnamed Cabinet Minister indicating that Boris Johnson is warming up to the idea of a fracking revival; the Business Secretary patiently explaining why fracking would not bring down energy costs and would not work at scale in the UK; indications the government wants to ramp up North Sea oil and gas production, despite warnings it will not bring down energy costs for decades if at all and could drive a coach and horses through the UK’s carbon budgets; Conservative Party Chair Oliver Dowden lashing out at “net zero dogma”; Environment Minister Lord Goldsmith mocking his colleague by quoting a “counter view from someone called Oliver Dowden (3 months ago)” in which he said the UK should be “working with all countries to inspire climate action”; the Prime Minister meeting with nuclear industry bosses to explain how he wants a quarter of the UK’s power to come from new nuclear; the FT reporting that Number 10 and the Treasury are at loggerheads over how to fund new nuclear projects; The Times reporting the Energy Security Strategy will feature a relaxation of planning rules for onshore wind and solar projects; the BBC reporting that the Cabinet is split about relaxing planning rules for onshore wind and solar projects; a flat rejection from government that it would even consider the IEA’s advice to promote behaviour change measures to reduce oil and gas consumption; and absolutely no indication that increased funding for energy efficiency programmes will be forthcoming, despite a manifesto pledge to the contrary.”

EV of the week

Nissan release the Ariya SUV
Nissan are a bit of an enigma in the EV world. Pioneers of the sector with the Leaf, which drew many fans, but then nothing for years. They allow many other makers to release small/mid-scale SUV’s then finally join the party themselves with the Arriya. Will electric goodwill sweep them to success or have they blown their early advantage?
Scanning a few reviews for the Ariya, the specs look very similar to many of the new arrivals: Smaller battery for c 200 mile range, bigger for 300 in the right conditions plus a higher performance all-wheel drive. Those specs and the suggested pricing look very much in line with the offerings from the VW group. Performance is said to be mild by EV standards but OK, and Nissan get plaudits for the steering, breaks and the car’s looks both exterior and interior. Ride quality and pricing are considered not so competitive. However they score a significant bonus for delivering a properly workable infotainment as have sister company Renault (see Titbits 10th Oct)

photo: Nissan


Colour matched solar tiles for Denmark
Danish BIPV module manufacturer Dansk Solenergi ApS has unveiled two new solar tiles for applications in residential projects. One is a dark grey tile that operates at 18.15% efficiency and the other is a 16.7% efficient terracotta colour.
The tiles are designed to appeal to the heritage retrofit market and the company promise more colour options to follow. The tiles will be made at the company’s factory in Denmark which has capacity for 40MW annual production. (pvmagazine)

photo: Dansk Solenergi

Two new interconnectors for the eastern Mediterranean
First is the EuroAsia Interconnector. Greece, Cyprus and Israel signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to link up their grids in March 2021. Upon completion, the interconnector will carry between 1GW and 2GW of power capacity and is expected to be completed by 2024, with operations starting in 2025.
Israel’s energy ministry said in 2021 that “the underwater cable will be laid in the Mediterranean Sea for about 1,500 km and at a maximum depth of about 2,700 meters,” making it “the world’s longest underwater power cable.”
The EU’s decision in January to finance the construction of the 900 km section linking Cyprus to Crete regards it as the longest section of the interconnector. Sections between Israel and Cyprus, and between Crete and mainland Greece are about 300 km each. The project now seems a certainty.
Second is the agreement to run a second pipeline between Crete and mainland  Greece alongside the recently opened link which was the first time that Crete has been linked to the mainland. (pvmagazine)

Focus on Heat Pumps

Could super-sized heat pumps make gas boilers extinct?
Two huge schemes are about to be switched on in Gateshead and London – and the hope is they could provide a greener and cheaper source of warmth.
The Gateshead project sources heat from a borehole that descends 150m into a flooded, disused coalmine. But the water is naturally warm at 15oC – and this heat is key. Just a few metres away, a giant heat pump has been installed.
The warmth from the mine water is transferred into another liquid that circulates in the heat pump system.
Compressors then squeeze and squish the liquid, which boosts the temperature to 80C. This heat is sent out through pipes to be used by buildings in the local area. The mine water is sent back underground so the process can begin again.
The heat pump in Gateshead is so large that at full capacity it can provide heat for the equivalent of 5,000 homes.
The London project (see picture) is being built behind the façade of the Port of London Authority Building where EON & Citigen will pump warm water from the aquifer that runs under the city, using the same principal as the one in Gateshead (bbc)

photo: Citigen

On a more domestic scale many of us are going to be shopping for heat pumps over the next couple of years, so I thought this might be useful (follow the link to the article for fuller details):

5 Best Air Source Heat Pump Systems in the UK (2022)
1. Best Overall: Samsung EHS Monobloc (<16kW / to -25oC / £3,500-£7,000)
The Samsung EHS Mono is perhaps the best all-rounder out there. They generally get great reviews, and the company’s seven-year warranty is one of the more generous offerings on the market. While an EHS Mono will serve anyone well, it’s particularly best suited to people for whom space is a primary concern.
2. Most Efficient: Hitachi Yutaki S80 (<11kW / to -20oC / £4,000-£7,000)
Efficiency should be one of your key priorities when switching to a renewable energy system, and the Hitachi Yutaki S80 is one of the most efficient you’ll find. Because it can generate five times as much energy as it uses, you’re not only lowering your carbon footprint, but also making huge savings on your energy bill over time. With its handy app and timer and holiday mode, you can fine-tune your operation to make even more efficiencies.
3. Most Powerful: Vaillant flexoTHERM (<19kW / to -10oC / £7,000-£10,000)
Vaillant is one of the biggest and most trustworthy names in home heating and has wonderful customer support. The multi-source flexoTHERM range of Vaillant heat pumps is incredibly versatile and is best suited for large properties or even commercial buildings given its large power output, as well as cost.
4. Best for Cold Climates: Daikin Altherma (<16kW / to -20oC / £6,000-£10,000)
Daikin’s Altherma range of air source heat pumps is ideal for those who are doing home renovations or replacing their old boilers. The Altherma range’s compact design reduces the complexity of installation (and cost) and means you can more easily slot the system into your existing piping network and radiators.
5. Best for Small Homes: Nibe F2040 (<16kW / to -20oC / £6000-£9,000)
The Nibe F2040 range is so popular because it’s really the best air source heat pump for small- to medium-size properties. The units themselves are very compact, reducing the amount of space they consume on your property. They can also be wall-mounted to free up floor space. What’s more, the F2040 models only need 150 mm of clearance space from any wall next to which you may install it, and 1 metre of open space in front of the unit. This gives you a lot of flexibility in a small space. The company have worked hard to control noise and vibration as well. (ecowatch)

photo: Daikin

Report of the week

Rich countries must end oil and gas production by 2034
Wealthy countries must end oil and gas production by 2034 to ensure the world doesn’t surpass 1.5C of warming and to give poorer nations longer to transition, according to a new report published Tuesday.
The ‘Phaseout Pathways for Fossil Fuel Production’ report, commissioned by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, found there was no room for any country to increase production, and that all would have to make significant cuts this decade if the world wants to meet the target.
The new report, written by climate scientist Kevin Anderson of the University of Manchester and researcher Dan Calverley, proposes that the poorest nations should be given until 2050 to end production and says they will need significant financial support to transition their economies.
Anderson, who is professor of energy and climate change at The University of Manchester, said the world needed to shift rapidly away from fossil fuel economies, but that it must be done fairly. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent spike in oil and gas prices only strengthen the case made in the report, he said. (independent)
Download the report HERE

Global stuff

BP makes foray into Japanese offshore wind market
Oil and gas giant BP has launched a new joint venture aimed at making inroads into the burgeoning Japanese offshore wind market.
Alongside Tokyo-headquartered Marubeni, the supermajor will explore a selected offshore wind development opportunity in the East Asian country.
The pair have agreed to form a strategic partnership that could also look into other decarbonisation projects, including hydrogen.
As part of their agreement, BP (LON: BP) will join with Marubeni in its proposal for an offshore wind project off Japan, purchasing a 49% stake in the scheme.
The companies see this as a “first step towards building a market leading offshore wind position” in the country. (energyvoice)

China Looks to Ramp up Renewables, Green Hydrogen in Latest Five-Year Plan
China is planning to build out more renewable power and boost production of green hydrogen, a low-carbon fuel, according to its latest five-year plan for the energy sector, released Tuesday, which also calls for maintaining crude oil output and ramping up natural gas production.
By 2025, China aims to build 800 megawatts of new power capacity — roughly double India’s entire fleet — while retiring retiring 30 gigawatts of coal power, Reuters reported. Wind, solar, hydropower, and nuclear will account for a large share of the new electricity supply, the plan states, as China looks to hit peak emissions by 2030.
To help provide continuous power during periods of intermittent wind or sun, the plan calls for upgrading 200 gigawatts of coal plants so they can ramp up quickly when renewable energy wanes. China also aims to build new transmission lines to carry electricity from wind and solar installations in the west to manufacturing centers in the east. (Yale360)