Green Investment Bank powers into the black

Lord Smith is proud that as well as pump priming, his environmental investments are turning a profit at last, writes Kristy Dorsey in The Scotsman….. One thing that hasn’t changed is his role at Green Investment Bank (GIB), where Smith is predicting a “handsome profit” in the coming year. Chair of the bank since its inception in 2012, Smith has presided over what will amount to £2 billion of investment when GIB’s financial year closes on Tuesday. That money has been drawn down from the original £3.8bn provided by the UK Treasury for investment in renewable power and energy efficiency projects across the UK. With some of those projects now generating financial returns, Smith talks of a bank on the verge of sustainable profits.

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Graphene light bulb set for shops

A light bulb made with graphene – said by its UK developers to be the first commercially viable consumer product using the super-strong carbon – is to go on sale later this year, reports BBC News. The dimmable bulb contains a filament-shaped LED coated in graphene. It was designed at Manchester University, where the material was discovered. It is said to cut energy use by 10% and last longer owing to its conductivity.

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Funding for St Andrews’ green energy plant

An £11 million loan has been agreed which will allow work to start on a £25m green energy centre on a 36-acre site in Guardbridge, reports Fife Today. St Andrews University’s plans to develop the land at the former paper mill will create around 225 jobs during the construction phase, with opportunities for apprenticeships and local companies to bid for sub-contracts…. When completed, hot water from the plant will be pumped underground to heat and cool laboratories and student residences in St Andrews. It will use only wood from sustainable local forests as biomass.

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Energy efficiency materials: call for 5% VAT

As the election approaches, the Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA) is calling on all political parties to set VAT at 5% for all energy-efficient materials, reports H&V News. Chief executive Mike Foster said: “Successive governments have promoted energy-efficiency measures, encouraging homeowners to install everything from insulation and new boilers to state-of-the-art controls, yet there are huge anomalies in the levels of VAT charged.

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Earth Hour around the globe

Starting in Samoa and finishing in Tahiti, the world goes dark at 8.30pm on 28 March 2015 for Earth Hour, an annual event organised by WWF. People in about 7,000 cities and towns all over the world switch off their lights to raise awareness of the need for sustainable energy use, and this year also to demand action to halt planet-harming climate change. The Guardian shows before and after pictures.

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Trawsfynydd decommissioning: new stage

Regulators say there are “no longer hazards” at a nuclear power plant requiring an emergency buffer zone as the site’s decommissioning continues, reports BBC News. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) said a radiation emergency was “no longer reasonably foreseeable” at the Trawsfynydd plant, Gwynedd. It has now lifted a near one-mile emergency planning area around the site in the event of an incident.

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UK nuclear archive at Wick given go-ahead

A plan to build an archive in Scotland to hold the records from all the civil nuclear sites in the UK has been approved by Highland councillors, reports BBC News. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has proposed constructing the centre near Wick.Records from Dounreay near Thurso and Sellafield in Cumbria would be among those held at the archive.More than 70 years’ worth of information and up to 30 million digital records would be stored.

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Exelon makes a play for green money

The biggest player in the beleaguered nuclear power industry wants a place alongside solar, wind and hydroelectric power collecting extra money for producing carbon-free electricity, reports Mail Online. Exelon Corp., operator of the largest fleet of U.S. nuclear plants, says it could have to close three of them if Illinois rejects the company’s pitch to let it recoup more from consumers since the plants do not produce greenhouse gases.

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NFUS on general election campaign

This general election campaign could be more vigorous than previous ones, believes NFU Scotland president Allan Bowie, reports The Courier. Launching the organisation’s manifesto in Edinburgh he said: “We have to recognise that there is a momentum from last September’s referendum which could encourage people to get more involved….. “On renewable energy we call for a more stable Feed in Tariffs (Fits), and far better access to an improved national grid,” he [Vice-president Rob Livesey] said.

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£4.2m for CCS research at Grangemouth

UK and Scottish Governments will provide £4.2 million for industrial research and feasibility work for a proposed full–chain 570 MW Carbon-Capture-Storage (CCS) coal-gasification power station located in Grangemouth, Scotland. The funding, £1.7 million from Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and £2.5 million from the Scottish Government, will allow Seattle-based Summit Power Group to undertake substantial industrial research and feasibility studies with the ultimate objective of designing, siting, financing, and building their proposed Caledonia Clean Energy Project.

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