Oct 14, 2020

Iberdrola makes progress on £90.8m wind energy project

Renewables
windpower
spain
Scott Birch
3 min
Construction of three of four planned windfarms in Spain's Asturias region has commenced, providing 130MW of wind power
Construction of three of four planned windfarms in Spain's Asturias region has commenced, providing 130MW of wind power...

Iberdrola, the Spanish power company, reports significant construction progress on the most comprehensive wind energy infrastructure project currently underway in Spain – the construction of three of four windfarms (Cordel-Vidural, Capiechamartín, and Panondres) planned for the region of Asturias, which require an £90.8 million-plus investment.

The company adds that it will start construction of the fourth project – Verdigueiro – once administrative authorisations have been obtained. The new capacity – 130MW of wind power – will allow the energy company to triple the installed power it has so far in the region.

In a statement, Iberdrola says that it has commenced the assembly work of the wind turbines, having finished the civil work, planned the arrival of materials at the windfarm sites, and planned out the different actions to be performed in the field. As many as 400 people will be involved in carrying out these tasks, the company adds.

Set at an altitude of 800 metres, and in an area with constant weather shifts that make work difficult, large wind turbines are already being erected. The blades are 56 metres in length, while the nacelles weigh as much as 126 tonnes, and the towers reach between 80 and 93 metres in height.

In order to reach the level of the windfarms, the materials (towers, nacelles and blades, amongst others) all need to be transported along narrow, single-access roads with numerous slopes and bends of up to almost 180 degrees. To carry this out has required exhaustive planning to avoid effects on the planned works and to make possible the arrival of up to 200 daily shipments of different materials, the company explains.

“The wind farms will consist of SG114 wind turbines, with a unit capacity of 2.62 MW: Cordel-Vidural (37 MW) is located between the municipalities of Navia, Valdés and Villayón; Capiechamartín (34 MW) is located between Tineo and Valdés; Verdigueiro (36 MW) will be built between Tineo and Villayón and Panondres (21 MW) between Villayón and Valdés,” the statement notes, adding that the construction of these projects is contributing to the revitalisation of the local industrial framework and will make it possible to generate up to 1,000 jobs.

Almost all field and civil works will be carried out Asturian companies, such as Hormavasa and Horvalsa, Canteras Rencanos, Deymet, Excade, Posada, Méndez y Mota, Gruas Roxu and Taxus. 

The project is being developed by ERPASA, while the manufacturing of the wind turbine towers is being carried out at the Windar facilities in Avilés.

“In this way, the company is contributing to the consolidation of a model in which Asturian companies and the generation of employment are oriented towards sectors of the future, such as renewable energies. 

“Once in operation, the wind farms will generate energy to supply more than 100,000 homes and avoid the emission of 65,500 tCO2/year,” the statement concludes.

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Jun 25, 2021

UK must stop blundering into high carbon choices warns CCC

climatechange
Energy
Netzero
UK
Dominic Ellis
5 min
The UK must put an end to a year of climate contradictions and stop blundering on high carbon choices warns the Climate Change Committee

The UK Government must end a year of climate contradictions and stop blundering on high carbon choices, according to the Climate Change Committee as it released 200 policy recommendations in a progress to Parliament update.

While the rigour of the Climate Change Act helped bring COP26 to the UK, it is not enough for Ministers to point to the Glasgow summit and hope that this will carry the day with the public, the Committee warns. Leadership is required, detail on the steps the UK will take in the coming years, clarity on tax changes and public spending commitments, as well as active engagement with people and businesses across the country.

"It it is hard to discern any comprehensive strategy in the climate plans we have seen in the last 12 months. There are gaps and ambiguities. Climate resilience remains a second-order issue, if it is considered at all. We continue to blunder into high-carbon choices. Our Planning system and other fundamental structures have not been recast to meet our legal and international climate commitments," the update states. "Our message to Government is simple: act quickly – be bold and decisive."

The UK’s record to date is strong in parts, but it has fallen behind on adapting to the changing climate and not yet provided a coherent plan to reduce emissions in the critical decade ahead, according to the Committee.

  • Statutory framework for climate The UK has a strong climate framework under the Climate Change Act (2008), with legally-binding emissions targets, a process to integrate climate risks into policy, and a central role for independent evidence-based advice and monitoring. This model has inspired similarclimate legislation across the world.
     
  • Emissions targets The UK has adopted ambitious territorial emissions targets aligned to the Paris Agreement: the Sixth Carbon Budget requires an emissions reduction of 63% from 2019 to 2035, on the way to Net Zero by 2050. These are comprehensive targets covering all greenhouse gases and all sectors, including international aviation and shipping.
     
  • Emissions reduction The UK has a leading record in reducing its own emissions: down by 40% from 1990 to 2019, the largest reduction in the G20, while growing the economy (GDP increased by 78% from 1990 to 2019). The rate of reductions since 2012 (of around 20 MtCO2e annually) is comparable to that needed in the future.
     
  • Climate Risk and Adaptation The UK has undertaken three comprehensive assessments of the climate risks it faces, and the Government has published plans for adapting to those risks. There have been some actions in response, notably in tackling flooding and water scarcity, but overall progress in planning and delivering adaptation is not keeping up with increasing risk. The UK is less prepared for the changing climate now than it was when the previous risk assessment was published five years ago.
     
  • Climate finance The UK has been a strong contributor to international climate finance, having recently doubled its commitment to £11.6 billion in aggregate over 2021/22 to 2025/26. This spend is split between support for cutting emissions and support for adaptation, which is important given significant underfunding of adaptation globally. However, recent cuts to the UK’s overseas aid are undermining these commitments.

In a separate comment, it said the Prime Minister’s Ten-Point Plan was an important statement of ambition, but it has yet to be backed with firm policies. 

Baroness Brown, Chair of the Adaptation Committee said: “The UK is leading in diagnosis but lagging in policy and action. This cannot be put off further. We cannot deliver Net Zero without serious action on adaptation. We need action now, followed by a National Adaptation Programme that must be more ambitious; more comprehensive; and better focussed on implementation than its predecessors, to improve national resilience to climate change.”

Priority recommendations for 2021 include setting out capacity and usage requirements for Energy from Waste consistent with plans to improve recycling and waste prevention, and issue guidance to align local authority waste contracts and planning policy to these targets; develop (with DIT) the option of applying either border carbon tariffs or minimum standards to imports of selected embedded-emission-intense industrial and agricultural products and fuels; and implement a public engagement programme about national adaptation objectives, acceptable levels of risk, desired resilience standards, how to address inequalities, and responsibilities across society. 

Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner said the report is another reminder that if the UK is to meet its ambitious climate targets there is an urgent need to scale up bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

"As the world’s leading generator and supplier of sustainable bioenergy there is no better place to deliver BECCS at scale than at Drax in the UK. We are ready to invest in and deliver this world-leading green technology, which would support clean growth in the north of England, create tens of thousands of jobs and put the UK at the forefront of combatting climate change."

Drax Group is kickstarting the planning process to build a new underground pumped hydro storage power station – more than doubling the electricity generating capacity at its iconic Cruachan facility in Scotland. The 600MW power station will be located inside Ben Cruachan – Argyll’s highest mountain – and increase the site’s total capacity to 1.04GW (click here).

Lockdown measures led to a record decrease in UK emissions in 2020 of 13% from the previous year. The largest falls were in aviation (-60%), shipping (-24%) and surface transport (-18%). While some of this change could persist (e.g. business travellers accounted for 15-25% of UK air passengers before the pandemic), much is already rebounding with HGV and van travel back to pre-pandemic levels, while car use, which at one point was down by two-thirds, only 20% below pre-pandemic levels.

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