Tag Archives: UK

Solar powered Tuk-Tuk arrives in the UK after 6,200 mile trip

16 Sep

Naveen Rabelli, an engineer has travelled in a solar powered tuk-tuk all the way to the UK from India. Rabelli, who was born in India and became an Australian citizen while working as an automotive engineer there, hoped to end his journey at Buckingham Palace. His journey has took seven months in his solar-powered tuk-tuk on an incredible 6,200 mile (9,978km) journey. It has a top speed of 60km/h (37 mph) and is powered by both electricity and solar power. The vehicle he has named Tejas, which suitably means radiance or brilliance.

The big adventure began in Bangalore in India before the tuk-tuk was shipped to Iran. He then drove through Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and France. The tuk-tuk cost Rabelli £1,100 and spent around £8500 customising it. As well as making it run on solar and electric power, he installed a bed, solar cooker and a cupboard, which he stocked with food donated by well-wishers.

Travelling at around 62 miles a day, he set off on his adventure to raise awareness of electric and solar-powered vehicles as a sustainable low-cost alternative mode of transport. Rabelli converted the petrol-run vehicle to a solar powered one, which seems like a self-sufficient home. He got the idea of creating a solar-powered tuk-tuk after he and a friend got stuck in traffic a few years back.

The 32-year-old Australian has made it to London. Picture: PA

Unfortunately on the last leg of his world tour, Rabelli had to pause his journey one country short of his intended destination after his passport and wallet were stolen from his parked vehicle in Sarcelles, north of Paris, while he was using a bathroom. The 35-year-old had to wait for his new passport so that he could cross the Channel and finish his journey at Buckingham Palace.

Talking of his journey, Rabelli particularly appreciated the support of the local people: “The highlights have been the way people have helped me out along the way and supported me. People love the tuk-tuk, particularly in Iran and many other countries. They come forward and take selfies. And the moment I tell them it doesn’t require petrol, their minds are blown.”

Mr Rabelli says his goal is to create awareness of the potential for solar-powered passenger vehicles in Asian and European countries, presenting an Indian solution to the world. Well Naveen, the world is certainly watching!


The UK Is To House The Largest Wind Farm The World Has Ever Seen

8 Feb

Danish firm Dong Energy have just announced plans to build the largest wind farm known to man, and it will be located off the north-east coast of the UK in the North Sea. The project is called ‘The Hornsea Project’ and will generate an estimated 1.2GW of power once switched online. In recent years, wind power has taken second position to solar technology in its contribution to the world’s energy supply, but the industry is to be given a huge and exciting boost.

The turbines will be taller than the iconic Gherkin building in London at 190 metres (623 feet) tall. This is arguably the highest on the market and will potentially provide enough power for a million homes. It will be the first offshore wind farm to exceed 1 gigawatts in capacity and will be capable of producing 1.2 GW of power at its upper limit. The development will consist of 7MW wind turbines.

This is not the first time Dong Energy have invested into wind power in the UK, around £6 billion so far, and this new project will be their biggest investment to date. The project is anticipated to make some ripples in the UK economy, with an estimated 2,000 jobs needed for the construction of the facility, and another 300 positions that will be needed to actually operate it when complete. It should even help the UK meet its new climate commitments under the recent Paris accords. It will cover 160 square miles, and be home to 174 wind turbines spanning an area five times the size of Hull.

“It is ground-breaking and innovative, powering more homes than any offshore wind farm currently in operation,” said Dong Energy UK country chairman, Brent Cheshire. “To have the world’s biggest ever offshore wind farm located off the Yorkshire coast is hugely significant, and highlights the vital role offshore wind will play in the UK’s need for new low-carbon energy.”

The wind farm is to be built 75 miles off the coast of Grimsby, at an estimated cost to energy bill-payers of at least £4.2 billion.

The UK secretary of state for energy and climate change praised the plan, saying, “The UK is the world leader in offshore wind energy and this success story is going from strength to strength. The investment shows that we are open for business and is a vote of confidence in the UK and our plan to tackle the legacy of under investment and build an energy infrastructure fit for the twenty first century.”

First electricity from the project is expected to be generated in 2019 and the wind farm should be fully operational by 2020.

A windy October provides Scotland with 126% of their electricity needs met!

7 Nov

Scotland has one of the best wind resources in Western Europe so it came as no surprise when ‘The World Wildlife Fund Scotland’ announced that renewable energy in Scotland had a “bumper month” in October 2014. Wind alone was the major provider with enough energy generated to power around 3,045,000 homes, an enormous number when you consider the population of Scotland which stands at 5.295 million (2011). Solar and hot water generation also added to the country’s success, who said Scotland was rainy and grey?

An estimated 982,842 MWh of electricity was generated equating to 126 percent of the electricity needs of Scotland met.

Wind power is Scotland’s fastest growing renewable energy technology with their installed on and offshore wind farms. The Scottish Government has a target of generating 100% of Scotland’s electricity by 2020. The majority of this is likely to come from wind power.

The country lies in the path of eastward-moving Atlantic depressions and these bring wind and clouds regularly throughout the year. In common with the rest of the United Kingdom, wind prevails from the south-west, bringing warm, wet air from the Atlantic. The windiest areas of Scotland are in the north and west, parts of the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland have over 30 days of gales per year.

It wasn’t just a successful month for Scotland as the UK as a whole saw an increase in wind power generation, providing the island with 2,496,842 MWh of electricity. This is enough to meet the needs of 7,736,000 UK households according to figures from WeatherEnergy. The figures equate to a huge 28 percent of households electricity needs being met for the month.

Solar production also managed to pull in an impressive result as according to the WWF; “For those homes fitted with solar hot water panels, there was enough sunshine to meet an estimated 41% of the hot water needs of an average home in Edinburgh, 31% in Inverness, 30% in Glasgow, and 27% in Aberdeen.”

Considering summer has officially ended these are remarkable figures for this time of year. The population of Scotland that are living with installed solar panels or heat water, around a third of their energy needs were met from the sun this October, helping reduce their reliance on coal, gas, or even oil. Impressive stuff!

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks has said; “The science is clear, if we are to prevent the worst impacts of global climate change, then the world needs to move away from fossil fuels. The good news is that here in Scotland we’re making good use of wind power to create clean electricity.

“With nuclear power plants were being forced to shut because of cracks, Scotland’s wind and sunshine were quietly and cleanly helping to keep the lights on in homes across the country.”

Well done Scotland, and hopefully the success will continue!

Hurricane Bertha leaves the UK with record breaking amounts of wind power!

4 Sep

This August we observed a huge shift in power from coal to wind. With hurricane Bertha leaving trails of her ruin pummelling the UK with wind and rain, wind turbines around the country provided more power to the UK grid than coal plants. RenewableUK, the country’s leading renewable trade association, announced on Monday that UK wind had surpassed coal on the 3rd, 9th, 11th, 12th, and 17th of August 2014.

RenewableUK found wind averaged over 5 gigawatts (GW) of power, with high winds in the evening meaning the clean energy overtook coal. It was found that between 9.30pm and 10pm on Sunday August 11, wind generation was at the highest percentage share for the month so far, meeting 17% of national demand.

Jennifer Webber, The director of External affairs at RenewableUK stated: “Wind energy is taking its place as the UK’s new powerhouse, overtaking coal and nuclear as one of the most important resources we have to keep Britain’s lights on”.

Taking Hurricane Bertha out of the equation, wind power generation has been coming on leaps and bounds when we consider the construction of new wind farms around the country, not only onshore but offshore also for example The London Array. Both offshore and onshore wind generation have continued to increase from 2012–2014. Recent energy statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change found both onshore and offshore load factors exceeded or equalled that of gas.

Jennifer Webber continued “It continues to surpass its own records, and these figures prove that can happen at any time of year. As we approach autumn and winter, we can expect wind to maintain this strong August’s performance and provide electricity when demand is especially high.”

Wind also bypassed nuclear on the 29th of August, racking up 5,805 MW. This compared to 5,379MW generated by nuclear power shows the progression of clean energy generation.

On 11th August wind broke a record by providing 21% of the UK’s electricity needs, this record was then broken on the 17th August, when wind went on to generate 22% of the UK’s electricity demand.

“We’re seeing very high levels of generation from wind throughout August so far, proving yet again that onshore and offshore wind has become an absolutely fundamental component in this country’s energy mix,” said Webber earlier in August. “It also shows that wind is a dependable and reliable source of power in every month of year – including high summer.”

In December 2013, the UK saw 13% of its energy needs met by wind power. This August met 10% of that energy demand which is amazing when you think it’s a high summer month where wind strengths are generally lower. It’s clear that if the UK wind industry keeps expanding and developing we will be seeing new records especially coming into the autumn and winter months.

The UK is still a world leader in offshore wind with a total of 62 offshore wind projects in the UK, including those in development. Pretty impressive for this little island!


Blustery UK breaks wind power records

20 Feb

The UK has come on leaps and bounds in regards to offshore wind power. It has been a bumpy road which wasn’t always cheap, but we’ve helped drive forward the industry which will benefit many people. Just like Germany who helped boost the solar industry over the best decade leading to cheaper solar power for all.

So what have we done? We have only gone and set new national wind power records with a total 2,841,080 megawatt hours (MWh) of wind power produced during December. This is enough power to supply 5.7 million British homes with electricity or alternatively meet 10% of Britain’s total electricity demand!

During the week of December 16th 2013 our wind turbines generated a record 783,886 MWh of power, which equates to 13% of Britain’s total electricity demand over the week.

Wait…there’s more…the Saturday before Christmas (21st), one of the UK’s busiest shopping days of the year, wind farms created 132,812 MWh of power, 17% of the country’s total electricity demand for the day. This day alone broke the ‘single day’ record of wind power produced in the country.

Currently the UK is ahead of China and America who both have great potential for wind power developments. At present, Britain gets more electricity from offshore wind farms than all other countries combined. Our waters currently contain more than 1,000 turbines.





10 Million UK homes for solar panel installations?

7 Feb

In order for the country to fulfil its renewable energy potential, energy experts have said that ten million homes in the UK should have solar panels attached to their roofs during the next six years. This would mean over a third of households would be generating energy from solar which would let the UK harvest about 6% of its annual electricity needs from the sun. Nearly half a million homes in the UK have solar panels installed today.

The solar industry has observed a boom in sales over the last 5 years and an increasing number of households are embracing the technology. Those who have energy efficient electric heating and use feed-in tariffs are seeing the greatest benefit, and are safeguarded from the big six price rises.

Germany has been leading the way with solar power, with a major push over the last decade. Currently, solar power costs about a Euro cents 10 per kilowatt hour in Germany, compared with about 6 to 8 Euro cents per kilowatt hour with gas and the most carbon intense form of fuel, brown coal. Wind and solar energy have effectively merged into the energy mix and are now contributing to renewable energy targets within Germany.  This is somewhat due to a determination by the German Government in 2011 to eliminate nuclear energy generation and concentrate purely on clean energy, a decision made in the wake of the disaster of Fukushima.

Ajay Gambhir from the Imperial College London has said that by 2030, the cost of solar should be equivalent to that of the dirtiest forms of coal and gas. Due to economies of scale, installing more solar panels will bring the cost of the technology down dramatically as Germany has recently shown.

According to academics from the Grantham Institute of Imperial College London, due to current trends, over the next 20 years the cost of fossil fuels are expected to stay the same, whilst solar energy should reduce to 6 to 8 Euro cents per kilowatt hour by 2030. It has been argued that this will only be achievable with the installation of more solar panels on houses, large public buildings and offices. The implementation of solar farms would also accomplish UK government targets, which involves building large arrays of solar panels over empty fields.

In the UK, the installation of renewable energy into the electricity grid has thus far been a slow process. Several of the UK’s present-day coal-fired power stations and aged nuclear reactors will have to be taken out of service by the end of the decade, but efforts to substitute this generation with renewable power has so far evolved sluggishly.

Research from the Grantham Institute has publicised that solar energy could in for an enormous expansion in the UK. Though, this being subject to favourable policies within the government to boost the installation of more solar panels across the country.

Over 495,000 homes across the UK are now solar powered, according to the latest statistics published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).


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