Monday, 16 November 2009

UK Government's Support for Cleantech "takes the biscuit"

The UK doesn't get cleantech and as a result should prepare for brownouts as electricity is cut off on a rotating basis as there will not be enough energy efficiency or generation capacity in the future.

This is according to Simon Daniel, an entrepreneur and CEO of Moixa, a fast-growing renewable energy group writing in ezine.

Last week President Obama awarded $3.4 billion in grants to support smart grid companies in the USA. Meanwhile in the UK after several days of dithering, the prime minister announced his favourite biscuit was a chocolate digestive.

It's a hard-hitting article and one that not only criticises current government policy but also makes some excellent suggestions. He notes, for example, that innovative companies need to preserve equity in order to raise the significant amount of funding required from Series A and B investors to compete internationally.

Well worth a read.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Solving the Urban Bike Parking Problem

Bicycles are good. And they're one of the few things our incompetent, spendthrift government doesn't tax yet (other than the VAT if you buy one).

The major problems with bike ownership though, certainly in UK cities, are theft and storage. To counter this, a number of funky and clever solutions are being developed.

Here is the 'Bike Tree', a solar powered solution that operates with 'smart cards', and is promoted as a 'clean intermodal transportation system' by its developers.

Another neat invention is the Bicycle Parking Tower from Japan, an automatic storage system for cycles that can hold up to 6,000 bikes. The product is built and constructed by Japanese company JFE, whose engineering works division first started them in 2007.

Similar to the bike tree, retrieval is done with a swipe card and the process takes only 15 to 30 seconds. Of course, construction requires lots of money so its not cheap - current monthly fees in Tokyo run at approx 1,800 yen (£12.00)

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Al Gore - World’s First Carbon Billionaire

From today's DT

The former US vice president is in line to make a large profit from a firm producing smart meters which monitor household electricity use.

He is a partner in a Silicon Valley venture capital firm which invested £45 million in Silver Spring Networks, a small California company which has been developing technology to monitor household power use to make the electricity grid more efficient.

Last week the US Energy Department announced £2 billion in grants and a proportion of that, thought to be more than £305 million, will go to utility operators with which Silver Spring has contracts.

The venture capitalists who invested, including Mr Gore, now look set to receive a handsome return.

Read the full article here.

Monday, 2 November 2009

SeaEnergy plc

Further to our post yesterday on major funding for offshore wind power, we thought we'd take a quick look at Aberdeen-based SeaEnergy PLC (formerly Ramco Energy plc) which is AIM listed under the ticker SEA.

In September 2009 the Board of Ramco Energy plc made the strategic decision to exit its oil & gas investments over time and focus purely on its offshore wind business. Shareholders ratified that decision at a General Meeting on 24 September, voting to change the company's name to SeaEnergy PLC.

Stephen Remp, Executive Chairman of Ramco Energy plc has previously said: 'The offshore wind opportunity is truly enormous, with over £130 billion of investment envisaged over the next 11 years through the Scottish and UK Offshore Rounds.

SeaEnergy PLC, through its 80% subsidiary SeaEnergy Renewables Limited, has interests in two offshore wind farm sites, one in a JV with Airtricity and another with RWE npower - with a total capacity of over 1800MW. Together with EDP Renewables (EDPR) it has also made applications for sites to be awarded through the UK Offshore Round 3 process.

The SeaEnergy Renewables team whilst working for Talisman Energy and Scottish & Southern Energy were the team responsible for conceiving, developing and delivering the Beatrice Wind Farm Demonstrator Project - a 10 megawatt (MW) deep water wind farm development involving the installation of two of the largest wind turbines (5 MW each) ever deployed offshore, at water depths of 45 metres.

In October they announced a JV with Taiwan Generations Corporation to work on a variety of projects, commencing with the Changhua Offshore Windfarm, which is planned to have an installed capacity of up to 600MW.

The Group recorded a loss from continuing operations after tax of £2.5 million for the first six months of 2009 compared to a loss of £1.2 million for the first six months of 2008. Operating expenses increased from £1.1 million in the prior period to £2.0 million in the current period. Group cash balances at 30 June 2009 were £1.8 million compared with £0.9 million a year earlier.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Consortiums Compete for £100bn Wind Farm Prize

Rowena Mason has a report in the DT on the battles for the rights to build wind farms off the coast of Britain. The awards are due to be made official by the Crown Estate by the end of next month, with the first turbines entering the water by 2014.

A 5,000 megawatt Norfolk (offshore wind energy) development will be three times larger than the giant London Array farm under construction in the Thames Estuary – due to be crowned the biggest in Europe when the first of its 341 turbines start working in 2012.

Another utility consortium called Forewind, including RWEnpower Renewables, Scottish & Southern Energy, Statkraft and StatoilHydro, is believed to be the frontrunner for the even bigger 10,000 megawatt Dogger Bank plot in the North Sea.

Crown Estate 2009 annual report on Offshore Wind Energy.