Scottish Power plans £3bn investment in networks

ScottishPower has recently submitted proposals to the energy regulator Ofgem outlining £3bn of planned investments on its high voltage transmission electricity network in Scotland over the next 10 years.  Projects will include the connection of up to 5GW of renewable energy, helping Scotland to achieve its 2020 carbon reduction targets, and extensive upgrades to the electricity grid links between England and Scotland.

GCU has a number of energy experts working with power suppliers. For more information, click here.

The full announcement.

Fuel Poverty issue puts low cost energy efficient housing on the agenda

Rising unemployment and dramatically increasing fuel prices could lead to significant fuel poverty in the UK unless more is done to invest in energy efficiency. Gas and electricity bills for millions of homes are expected to rocket in the coming years, as suppliers attempt to offset rising wholesale prices, energy analysts have warned.

Households are considered by the UK Government to be in fuel poverty if they have to spend more than 10% of household income on fuel to keep their home to an adequate standard of warmth. One of the most effective ways of combating fuel poverty is to target energy efficiency measures on homes typically occupied by those on low incomes.

AppleGreen Homes is working with Glasgow Caledonian University and Glasgow-based Spacesix Architects to research and develop an affordable, energy efficient home for the future at the new BRE Innovation Park at Ravenscraig in Motherwell. It will feature a solar energy package that will not only help significantly reduce electricity bills but will also drastically reduce heating bills, helping to eradicate fuel poverty. In addition, a guaranteed feed-in tariff from the solar electricity package will be paid to the owner, developer, housing association or council.

SETN annual conference – 29th June

GCU will be at the SETN annual conference at the University of Strathclyde on 29th June.

The event includes an exhibition and workshops, giving businesses in the Environmental and Clean Technologies sector advice on a range of issues including funding, business development, carbon reduction, intellectual property and regulation.

Speakers include Nigel Holmes, CEO at Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (SHFCA), John Ferguson, Head of Strategy at Binn Eco Park and Peter Higgins, Founder and CEO at UWI Technology.

Find out more about GCU’s work in the built and natural environment and more about the event at

Shanks takes business guests on AD plant tour

An interesting tour around Shanks’ Anaerobic Digestion plant in Cumbernauld and its state-of-the-art recycling facility in Blochairn today, accompanied by CeeD members. The AD plant processes food waste to produce renewable energy.

We were informed about the drivers of change in waste policy by Zero Waste Scotland’s Simon Morris, who emphasised 2025 targets of a minimum of 70% of waste to be recycled. We heard that businesses must really improve their segregation of materials to help us reach these targets.

Scotlands’ councils and companies are already working with GCU’s School of the Built and Natural Environment to try to improve their environmental activities.

Do we lack entrepeneurialism in Scotland?

The Applied Knowledge Exchange attended Holyrood Magazine’s Enterprise Scotland 2010 event in Edinburgh to hear Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism Jim Mather and Scottish Enterprise’s Lena Wilson give their visions for a stronger Scotland for business. Lena-Wilson2-177x177

Lena Wilson insisted that Scotland’s businesses had ‘very serious challenges’ and were underperforming against the UK economy and global competitors. Ms Wilson said Scotland had a low number of businesses per head of the population, and that our businesses were very small.

Her aims for focus? Commercialisation and Internationalism. Ms Wilson said we need to capitalise on our world-class research in life sciences, food and drink and energy.

GCU is currently leading the £3.3m European study aimed at tacking foot and ankle pain.

Ms Wilson also emphasised the potential for Scotland’s businesses to export to China and India. Only 50 Scottish companies are active in China, she says, compared to over 200 Finnish businesses.

She called for a ‘greater sense of ambition in businesses and the public sector’.

Jim Mather said we need a ‘new beginning in Scotland’, insisting that the Government was supporting ‘sustainable economic growth’. He claimed ‘few sectors will offer Scotland as much as the energy sector’ and emphasised his goals of manufacturing innovation and private investment in renewables. The Scottish Government is to publish its Energy Efficiency Plan this spring.

Renewable energy high on the agenda at GCU

Renewable and clean energy enjoys a ‘significant comparative advantage’ in Scotland according to a Scottish Government report published this week.

The study highlights Scotland’s location, natural resources, research and development and manufacturing bases as key advantages for developing Scotland’s clean energy resource.

The report shows one additional gigawatt of onshore or offshore wind capacity could reduce Scotland’s current total carbon emissions by around 3%. Electricity grid infrastructure will be a fundamental influence on Scotland’s ability to accommodate growth in renewables.

Energy Minister Jim Mather said Scotland’s energy advantage lies in securing low carbon electricity from renewables and clean fossil fuels.

The Scottish Government has recruited the help of Scottish Water, John Lewis, BT and Scottish Power for a new 2020 Delivery Group to ensure that all sectors of Scotland’s economy and civic society contribute fully to achieving the Climate Change Delivery Plan which includes the target of a 42% reduction in emissions over the next decade.

Dr Alastair Sutherland of the Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences at Glasgow Caledonian University says: ‘Here at GCU’s School of Life Sciences, we are looking at optimising microbial consortia in anaerobic digestion so that we can more efficiently generate biofuels including methane gas at micro- and macro-generation levels.

‘Inputs can be waste material or substrate such as seaweed or microalgae grown noncompetitively with food crops. We are particularly investigating anaerobic digestion of seaweed for use by small island communities and perhaps councils who need to remove cast seaweed from leisure beaches.
‘However, anaerobic digestion of grass and other horticultural waste and waste paper are being investigated. The benefits are developments in renewable biofuels, reduction in landfill waste and the release of associated methane (a greenhouse gas) from landfill.’

The School of Life Sciences works with local, national and international partners and is fully committed to promoting the economic vitality of Scotland and the UK . To find out more contact the Applied Knowledge Exchange.

Vital renewable energy research at Glasgow Caledonian Uni

earthScotland’s Climate Change minister Stewart Stevenson is pushing the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Mission agenda at the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen next week.

The Scottish Government’s Climate Change Act, passed earlier this year, has committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 42 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020 and by 80 per cent by 2050.

At the weekend, Parliamentarians joined thousands of protestors as they took to the streets of Glasgow as part of Scotland’s biggest ever climate change demonstration. The Wave was organised by the Stop Climate Chaos coalition.

At Glasgow Caledonian University, vital renewable energy work is also high on the agenda.

Research is central to the School of the Built and Natural Environment’s activities, and it attained the top rating in Scotland in the category  “Architecture and the Built Environment” of The Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) for 2008.

The School of the Built and Natural Environment has a research partnership with Grameen Shakti , a not-for-profit company established to promote, develop and popularize renewable energy technologies in remote, rural areas of Bangladesh. The School of the Built and Natural Environment is collaborating with Grameen Shakti on the largest micro-generation renewable energy program in the world. A delegation of Grameen Shakti will also attend the Copenhagen Summit.   

Dr M. Asif, Lecturer in Sustainable and Renewable Energy Technologies at Glasgow Caledonian University, says: “In the backdrop of the environmental challenges Bangladesh faces , the work we are jointly undertaking is important and would be of interest to other developing and developed countries as well.”

Another important renewable energy initiative is being headed by Dr Alastair Sutherland, Dr Alan Williams and Susan Withers, of the Division of Biological/Biomedical Sciences. They have obtained £147,000 of funding from iTi Energy to study the anaerobic digestion of seaweed to produce methane. This is part of a new initiative to develop advanced biofuels for renewable energy.

Your business can benefit from the expertise available at Glasgow Caledonian University. Whether you are an SME, charity, multinational or public sector organisation, the Applied Knowledge Exchange can provide professional consultancy, specialist research facilities, and bespoke work-based education.