Energy roundup

Farmers will lose their right to claim subsidies for fields filled with solar panels under new plans to ensure more agricultural land is dedicated to growing crops and food. The change will come into effect from January 2015.

Latest figures from Barbour ABI reveal that more than £81bn worth of renewable energy projects are proposed by 2025, representing nearly half of all infrastructure spending in the UK. However this number does include £25bn for the Severn Barrage which, though on the wish list for many engineers, is not yet close to approval. A total of 405 renewable energy projects are in the pipeline says Barbour ABI which account for approximately 47 per cent of proposed UK infrastructure projects. 

Business and energy minister Matthew Hancock has said that the Government is preparing to announce plans for a ‘sovereign wealth fund’ to hold the revenues from fracking for the north of England. He also announced creation of a new National College for Onshore Oil and Gas, based in Blackpool with offshoots in Chester, Portsmouth, Redcar and Strathclyde. It will train school leavers and graduates in fracking technology, enabling them to win lucrative jobs in the industry. Meanwhile the UK Energy Research Centre has said, in a new report, that shale gas was so early in its infancy it was impossible to know how much could be extracted and at what cost.

Unveiled this week was the £10M Urban Community Energy Fund which will give community groups in England the opportunity to bid for grants of up to £20,000, or loans of up to £130,000 to help kick-start local ‘power hub’ projects such as installing solar panels on local buildings or building anaerobic digestion energy to waste plant.