Tag Archive | die-cut machines

Rural communities invited to bid for 15m green energy pot

The government has unveiled a 15m fund designed to encourage hundreds of communities across England to invest in small-scale renewable energy projects, such as wind turbines or heat pumps.

Rural communities were invited to bid for a share of the funding pot late last week, which can be used to support the first steps of a project, including investigating the potential for renewable energy in their area and applying for planning permission.

Communities can apply for funding for a range of technologies such as wind, solar, biomass, heat pumps, anaerobic digestion, gas with combined heat and power, and hydropower.

“Not only can local generation bring people together, boost local economies and drive forward green growth, it can help save money on energy bills too,” said Climate Change Minister Greg Barker in a statement, adding that the previous Local Energy Assessment Fund helped bring forward 236 community energy generation and management projects across England.

Each community will be eligible for a grant of up to 20,000 for feasibility studies and they can also apply for a loan of up to 130,000 to help fund applications for any necessary environmental and planning permits.

The government is also currently consulting on finding new ways of funding community energy projects, and is planning to publish a community energy strategy in autumn.

Speaking at an event organised by think tank Policy Exchange last week, Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said community-funded schemes could play an important role in ensuring that local people reap the benefits of onshore wind turbines and other schemes.

He said the government was looking at a range of ways to involve communities in local energy projects, including using community benefits given to them by developers of existing wind turbines to invest in even more renewable energy.

“The ownership question is a really interesting one and we are very much exploring that and want to come forward with positions in the autumn,” he said.

In related news, new research has found the number of farmers using renewable energy has shot up in the past three years.

A survey by Nottingham Trent University, Forum for the Future and Farmers Weekly found that of 700 farmers asked, 40 per cent are generating renewable energy onsite, compared to five per cent in 2010.

More than two thirds of those not using renewable energy are considering investing in it over the next five years. Click on their website scfwindturbine for more information.

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Councillors grant wind mast permission

The application by SSE Renewables, one of the shareholders in the 457 megawatt wind farm project, had attracted four objections.

During a short hearing in Lerwick Town Hall on Tuesday morning, James Mackenzie of anti-Viking group Sustainable Shetland told the four councillors present that planning conditions had previously been breached when the applicant used the wrong access route.

“In the event contractors were observed accessing the mast site from the A970 close to Petta Water and an occupied red throated diver breeding site on two occasions,” Mackenzie said.

“It is therefore of great concern to me that conditions or recommendations made by the planning authority may be ignored again to the detriment of wildlife.”

Viking Energy’s project officer David Thomson said the data mast was one of many the project had across the site.

As the wind farm is unlikely to be built before 2018/19, collecting further wind data was necessary to make the right decisions on turbine acquisition and financial modeling, he said.

The recommendation to renew the temporary planning permission was then moved by councillor Drew Ratter and seconded by Steven Coutts.

Former Viking director Ratter had earlier declared a non-pecuniary interest as a trustee of Shetland Charitable Trust, a major shareholder in the Viking project, but decided to participate in the planning meeting.

Committee member and former Sustainable Shetland chairman Billy Fox said he could not take part, as it was he who had presented the group’s original objection back in April 2010.

After the meeting Thomson said: “We’re satisfied with the result and are always happy to go through the correct process so everyone can have their say.

It is important to us to have continual wind data to cover the period until the project is up and running.

“At that point the temporary masts will be decommissioned and the permanent masts that already have been approved as part of last year’s wind farm consent will take over.”

Mackenzie said: “I was not surprised by the decision today, be we nevertheless thought it worthwhile to bring to the attention of the committee and the wider public that this temporary planning permission has conditions attached which cannot be complied with.

“One of the conditions is for the re-instatement of the site after the removal of the mast. This is impossible as the mast will be replaced by a large section of the planned wind farm.”

The wind farm project received planning consent from Scottish ministers in April last year, a decision that is currently being challenged by Sustainable Shetland in the Court of Session.

Eye on Maruti earnings

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may finally give in to the government’s prodding by announcing the first cut in interest rates in nine months, reported Reuters. RBI is expected to cut rates by 25 basis points to 7.75% on Tuesday next week.

Overnight, Wall Street’s S&P 500 touched a five-year high intra-day as signs of economic improvement in the US and China offset a sharp fall in Apple shares, reported Financial Times. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.3%, S&P 500 closed flat and Nasdaq Composite was down 0.8%.

Asian markets were trading mostly higher on Friday morning following further acceleration in the Chinese economy. The flash China purchasing managers’ index by HSBC rose to 51.9 in January from 51.5 in December.

Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average was up 2%, China’s Shanghai Composite was flat and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.2%, reported MarketWatch.

In India, RBI raised the ceiling for foreign institutional investors’ holdings in corporate bonds and government securities by $5 billion to $75 billion, reported Business Standard. This would attract more foreign funds into the bond market and may help curb the current account deficit.

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) may see some action following an Economic Times report that the telecom arm of RIL may buy a stake in Reliance Infratel. The deal includes leasing around 50,000 towers over a 10-year period at Rs.8,500-10,000 crore.

The Bombay Stock Exchange will float its initial public offer in the first quarter of FY14 through the offer-for-sale route, becoming Asia’s first stock exchange to list its own shares, reported Mint.

Larsen & Toubro Ltd may continue to remain in the limelight after it reported better-than-expected December quarter results, Its order book jumped 14% to Rs.19,545 crore from a year ago and was on track to achieve its yearly guidance, erasing fears of a slowdown.

Tata Motors Ltd may continue to remain under pressure after its Jaguar Land Rover unit warned investors that it may post a lower operating margin in the December quarter as its UK unit sold higher number of the cheaper models and spent money on introducing a new Range Rover.

HDIL may continue to see some action after management in a conference call with analysts and investors clarified that stake sale by the promoter was done to raise funds to pay for a land acquisition in south Mumbai, reported Business Standard.

Suzlon Energy Ltd will be in the limelight after it reached a deal for corporate debt restructuring of $1.8 billion. This will give the wind turbine maker enhanced working capital facilities of $350 million.

Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) is set to import coal from its Mozambique mine where production will commence this year, reported Business Standard. JSPL plans to import about 500,000 tonnes of coking coal from the Africa in 2013.

Lastly, towards the end of the first day of the Jaipur Literature Festival, a panel of five judges released their shortlist for the Man Booker International Prize which has 10 finalists, with Kannada author U.R. Ananthamurthy, the only one from India, reported Wall Street Journal India.

On joining a classroom full of Christmas card diehards

If you’re on my Christmas card list you know who you are: You’ll have received my warm wishes via text, email or Facebook. Not only do I express my seasonal sentiments in a form of communication that requires little more effort than mental telepathy, I give gift cards instead of presents. Yes, I’ve made Christmas so damn easy that the only trouble is, it just doesn’t feel like Christmas anymore.

And so, in an attempt to recapture the joy, this year I’m putting the hell back into the holidays. I’m going to find out where you live, dear friends and loved ones (you can’t all reside on Gmail Street), and send each and every one of you a tangible Christmas card — signed, sealed and mailed before the Canada Post deadline (Dec. 14 for the U.S., Dec. 17 for Canada!). And don’t expect some mass-produced card that’s too mushy, too gaudy or — God forbid — too religious, I’m sending a personalized masterpiece I actually made.

Since I’m not exactly a sharp shooter when it comes to glue guns, I recently took a two-hour vintage holiday card-making class at Michaels. In a telephone conversation I had with the teacher Christine Comi beforehand, she assured me that despite bad memories from my brief Martha Stewart phase back in the ’90s — the wreath that disintegrated with each opening and closing of my front door, the candle-making kit that never saw the light of day — I would thrive in her classes.

Walking into the classroom transported me into my safe-haven days of kindergarten. The walls were adorned with brightly coloured works of art and the room buzzed with the energy of students chattering as they took their seats. Even Comi welcomed me much the way my beloved Mrs. Poff once did, warmly introducing me to my classmates, gently guiding me to my chair. No sooner was I settled in did the serious craft-making begin.

“By the end of this class you will be able to create cards in a vintage style,” Comi informed us. “You will learn several aging and distressing techniques such as how to use distressing inks to stamp images, colour in images, create subtle backgrounds and use embossing folders in die-cut machines.”

I squirmed with excitement.

Our first card started out as a white piece of paper. Following the teacher’s cue, I carefully folded it in half and then waited my turn to use the Cuttlebug, a lunch bucket-sized plastic contraption that is both an embossing machine and a die-cutter. With the help of the woman seated next to me, I passed my paper through the device and voila! A raised design of dangling Christmas balls appeared on the front of my card.

“Oh, this is beautiful,” I marvelled.

Next, we learned how to rub subtle shades of inks over the surface of the card to give it a distressed look.

“Go slowly,” a woman seated across from me warned. “You can always add more ink but you can’t take it off if you apply too much.”

I followed her advice and was thrilled with the results. Then I was handed a tube of glitter. Head bent, and with the focus of a brain surgeon, I resisted my urge to go overboard, and sparingly applied mere dabs of bling. “Look at me,” I thought with pride. “I am developing my own style — no tacky cards by this artiste!”

As the evening progressed and we moved on to other types of cards and techniques, I became comfortable enough to craft and converse at the same time. I learned that many of the ladies at my table were “extreme scrappers” attending scrapbook-
making sessions at least a few times per week. Some would regularly show up for “the crop,” a session offered by Michaels’ so that customers could access the company’s various cutting machines. Mind you, many diehards had their own materials and equipment. For example, one woman who had brought along a carry-on-size piece of luggage with wheels was not heading to the airport after class as I’d assumed. This was simply her portable craft box.

There was a wonderful sense of camaraderie in the room. Crafters shared the stuff they’d brought from home, applauded each others’ efforts, and teased each other about idiosyncratic tendencies (one woman always rounded her cards’ corners). I discovered too that it was OK to pat yourself on the back. Caught up in the fun, at one point I announced what I thought was really cool.