Monday, 28 February 2011

We need Innovation, Not Insulation Says Bill Gates

Conservation and behaviour change alone will not get us to the dramatically lower levels of CO2 emissions needed to make a real difference. We also need to focus on developing innovative technologies that produce energy without generating any CO2 emissions at all.

These are the words of Bill Gates about global warming and the global urge to reduce CO2 emissions. Recently we published an article about Mr. Gates quest to find a clean source of energy that will “save us” from the eminent threats of climate change. The man who revolutionized personal computing is now investing millions to stop global warming.

EU Carbon Rises to Three-Month High, Tracking German Power, Gas

European Union carbon permits advanced to a three-month high as rising German power and U.K. natural gas prices boosted demand for emission allowances.

EU permits for delivery in December closed at 15.40 euros ($21.24) on London’s European Climate Exchange after rising as much as 1.5 percent to 15.52 euros a metric ton, the highest intraday level since Nov. 25.

The contract extended this month’s gain to 2.8 percent as the European Commission. The EU regulator is considering withholding 500 million to 800 million allowances in the next round of the bloc’s cap-and-trade program from 2013. The amount would correspond to the surplus that can be carried over from the current five-year phase that ends in 2012, according to the commission estimates in a draft document circulated last week.

German baseload power for next month gained 0.6 percent to 51.50 euros a megawatt-hour, according to broker prices on Bloomberg. Higher power prices can strengthen the incentive to sell electricity forward, stimulating demand for CO2 permits.

Solar energy drive draws German investment

One of Germany's biggest installers of solar panels has set up a base in Kent amid expectations of rapid growth in the UK solar energy market.

SunConcept, which also operates in Italy, Spain and South Africa, has opened a subsidiary at Kings Hill, near Maidstone, as a springboard into the UK market. It is hoping to benefit from the government's "feed-in tariff" system, which encourages the installation of solar panels.

The system was introduced by the Labour government in April, allowing anyone installing small-scale power generation in businesses, homes, hospitals or schools to claim a tariff of 41.3p a unit. A further 3p a unit could be earned from electricity sent to the grid.

Even as SunConcept ramps up its UK presence, the feed-in tariff could be under threat after the coalition government brought forward a review of the scheme as it sought to cut costs.

Why Google’s Bet on Wasted Energy Is Great News For the Rest of Us

Google has poured millions into solar, wind and geothermal,  all investments aimed at its mission to make renewable energy a cheaper  source of electricity than coal.

But Google’s latest investment via its  venture arm Google Ventures in Transphorm,  a company that makes super-efficient power modules, could have a  greater impact than all of its efforts combined. And here’s the best  part, Transphorm’s tech could help Google solve a niggling problem:  power-hungry data centers.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Being energy efficient is key to being competitive

At a time when cutting costs is imperative for many businesses, utility costs can be a significant and unavoidable overhead. Energy costs can account for up to a fifth of the average business' expenditure and this is compounded by a volatile energy market and an increasing amount of complex regulation on the horizon.

However this threat can be turned into an opportunity to cut costs and gain competitive advantage if businesses are willing to transform their approach to managing their energy use.

From our experience of working with over 750,000 business and public sector customers we know that most businesses can save at least 10% on their bills by taking steps to manage their energy more efficiently.

For those that go a step further and make energy efficiency a business priority, savings in the region of 20-30% are achievable.

Wholesale Energy Prices Continue 2011 Rise as Centrica Announces Record Profit

British utility Centrica announced record profits on Thursday as news of soaring oil prices continued to put UK energy prices under upward pressure.

Centrica's pre-tax profit of GBP1.92bn in 2010 was an increase of 18% over the previous year. ICIS Heren data shows that the key Day-ahead UK price for wholesale gas rose by 38% in 2010 compared with 2009.

Year on year, the average price of wholesale gas for January 2011 was 59.031 pence/therm - an 88% increase over the price for January 2010, at 31.39 pence/therm. This index figure is a weighted average of all the deals for gas delivered over the next month reported to ICIS Heren. These deals took place the month before delivery.

And the Day-ahead price for gas delivered during working days is up by 44% so far this year, compared with the same period last year.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Electricite de France profits fall 74% on downturn

French utility Electricite de France (EDF) has reported a 74% drop in net profit, saying demand for gas and electricity has not returned to levels seen before the economic downturn.

In 2010, EDF earned 1.02bn euros (£857m), down from 3.90bn euros the year before.

The firm said that although electricity prices were on the rise, they remained low in Europe.

The energy situation meant EDF made provisions amounting to 2.9bn euros.

G4S contract means smarter gas meters in UK

UK-based G4S Utility Services has been awarded a £500,000 contract to install gas data loggers for Gazprom Global Energy Solutions. These new installations will provide smart metering capability to a number of high street business brand names from the retail and hospitality sectors.

Green Machine: solar street lamp feeds energy to the grid

The humble street light is joining the ranks of wind turbines and solar power plants in supplying renewable energy to the electricity grid.

A street lamp covered in photovoltaic cells, which can generate more energy from sunlight than it consumes to light the street, is being tested in the UK. And the lamp is already supplying electricity to the National Grid.

The SunMast, developed by Scotia, based in Aarhus, Denmark, generates electricity from sunlight during the day, which it supplies to the grid. It then simply draws electricity back from the grid at night to power its light.

If the trial in South Mimms in the UK is successful, the lamps could reduce the emissions produced by streetlights by 120 per cent, the company claims.

The photovoltaic solar cells, which are designed to generate electricity even on cloudy days, are fitted down the length of the mast, to increase their surface area. An inverter in the base of the lamp converts the DC electricity generated by the cells into AC for the grid.

British Gas Reports Record Profits

British Gas Reports Record Profits

story picture

British Gas has reported its profits rose by 24% to a record £742m last year.

Read on Sky News

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

UK gas prices ease after Libya-led rally

British gas prices eased on Wednesday after surging on Tuesday when the crisis in Libya led to a cut in gas supplies to Europe and drove up crude prices, traders said.

Low demand for commercial gas because of relatively mild weather in Britain and healthy supply from liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and the North Sea weighed on the prompt, while the surge in curve prices seen on Tuesday prompted some to sell for a profit on Wednesday.

Gas Prices Rise as Middle East Unrest Continues

What started in Egypt seems to be spreading all over the Middle East. Popular revolt and political uncertainty is making investors plan for the unpredictable, as crude oil prices continues to rise, which in turn is contributing to higher gas and energy prices.

When the protests started in Egypt crude oil prices were below the $100 mark, more precisely at $98 a barrel. Last Monday the Brent crude oil barrel was traded at $108.  As UK gas prices are tied up to oil prices, prompt and curve gas prices rose too.

Read More:

Huhne reopens UK's first commercial wind farm

Energy secretary Chris Huhne has reopened a wind farm capable of offering green power to around 7,000 homes.

Mr Huhne today (February 22) opened the refurbished Good Energy site in north Cornwall.

Good Energy has invested £11.8 million into redeveloping the Delabole wind farm - taking the UK's first commercial wind farm into the second generation of onshore wind.

Good Energy to announce local community fund; and plans for community investment schemes that will enable local residents to benefit from future wind farms developed by Good Energy.

UK Energy Minister: No Concern Over European Oil Supplies

The U.K. doesn't see a potential shortage in the supply of oil to Europe due to the political unrest in Libya, but high oil prices on continued turmoil in the Middle East causes "anxiety," the country's energy minister said Tuesday.

Libya's oil production is a small proportion of total global output, and reassurances from  Saudi's oil minister that producing countries will meet any potential  shortage are "very clear," Charles Hendry told Dow Jones Newswires on the sidelines of a meeting here.

"The  reassurance we've had from the minister makes it very clear that he thinks if there was a significant shortage the producers can step in to  get it back up to where they think it needs to be," Hendry he said.

Read more:

Gas Prices Rise as Middle East Unrest Continues

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Study Says Green Energy Could Power Earth Within 40 Years

Fossil fuels, specifically oil, are going to run out. You can debate the time frame of “when” until you’re blue in the face and it won’t change the fact that it’s a mathematical certainty that, eventually, that black gold is going to run out.

Efforts to nudge the civilized world towards alternative sources of energy have been ongoing for some time and have seen significant progress. If you find that to be good news, you’ll love this:

According to researchers at both Stanford and the University of California-Davis, the world could be practically free from fossil fuels inside of 40 years.

Gazprom and Europe are trying to end their interdependence

The story of Gazprom is the story of interdependence. The Russian energy giant, benefiting from monopoly control of natural gas exports, is one of the central pillars of the state.

Last year, the Kremlin depended on this single company for 15 per cent of its tax revenues. Gazprom, in turn, depended on gas sales to Europe for most of its export earnings, which totalled $72.4bn last year, while supplies to the world beyond the former Soviet Union accounted for $52.8bn.

Meanwhile, a string of European countries, particularly the Kremlin’s former satellite states, depend on Gazprom for between 80 and 100 per cent of their natural gas imports. Just as the Russian energy giant must sell its wares, so these countries have nowhere else to turn if they are to keep their lights on. Mutual interdependence locks together Gazprom, the Russian state and European gas consumers.

Monday, 21 February 2011

UK gas prices rise on tight system, strong crude

British gas prices rose across the board on Monday as higher demand tightened supply margins,while curve contracts traded up on North Sea oil prices reaching new highs following Libyan oil export concerns.

Gas for day-ahead delivery traded at a six-day high of 53.75 pence ($87.18) per therm, up 1.40 pence from the previous session. Within-day gas prices traded in line with the spot at 53.70 pence, a 1.20 pence gain.

"On the prompt the gas system is short and the weather isn't looking as warm, so all staying strong," one UK-based energy trader said.

Government poised to provide more funding for renewables sector

The UK government is expected to announce further funding for the renewable energy sector following calls for a £100 million fund to support new projects. Government sources indicated an announcement could come as early as next month, while the wave and tidal industry is also preparing its own funding campaign.

Martin McAdam, chief executive of wind energy developer Aquamarine Power, said UK government funding would help to bring in investment from the private sector.

Demonstrator projects could then be used as a shop window for attracting orders from commercial customers at home and abroad, McAdam said.

Bill Gates Investing Millions to Stop Global Warming

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Big Freeze drives up British Gas profits to a record £720m

British Gas is to announce record annual profits of more than £720million on the back of punishing price increases and the coldest winter in 120 years.

City analysts believe the 2010 figure will be up by  21 per cent – £130million – on the previous year.

The ‘big freeze’ is believed to have added £80million to the operating profits of Britain’s biggest energy supplier, which has 16 million customers.

Read more:

Friday, 18 February 2011

Being energy efficient is key to being competitive

At a time when cutting costs is imperative for many businesses, utility costs can be a significant and unavoidable overhead. Energy costs can account for up to a fifth of the average business' expenditure and this is compounded by a volatile energy market and an increasing amount of complex regulation on the horizon.

However this threat can be turned into an opportunity to cut costs and gain competitive advantage if businesses are willing to transform their approach to managing their energy use.

From our experience of working with over 750,000 business and public sector customers we know that most businesses can save at least 10% on their bills by taking steps to manage their energy more efficiently. For those that go a step further and make energy efficiency a business priority, savings in the region of 20-30% are achievable.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Gas and electricity statements are 'flawed'

The "linchpin" of a plan to make the domestic energy market more competitive is failing consumers, a survey says.

More than half of those asked in the poll by price comparison website Uswitch had not received the new annual energy statements, or had failed to recognise it if they had.

The statements, being delivered to every UK home, explain discounts available on a customer's tariff.

An industry group said the statements were a "huge undertaking".

It said any household yet to receive their energy statement would do so soon.

Newham Hospital saves £18,500 with power management

Newham University Hospital NHS Trust has cut costs by deploying software from energy management specialist 1E.

The trust said it expects to save around £18,500 a year with the new tools.

Shaun Jeffery, ICT operations manager at Newham University Hospital NHS Trust, said: "One month in and we were already saving approximately £1,250 per month across just the PCs which have had the agreed power policy applied. In just one year, we stand to reduce our carbon emissions by approximately 143 metric tonnes a year."

EU could meet carbon targets more cheaply with gas than renewables, say gas firms

Europe could save €900bn (£762bn) and still hit its 2050 carbon reduction  targets if it built fewer wind farms and more gas plants, a coalition of  gas producers including Gazprom, Centrica and Qatar Petroleum has told  the European commission.

The industry is lobbying against the possibility of the commission setting new renewable energy targets and phasing out the use of gas. Next month, it will publish a draft "road map" energy strategy to 2050.

The  Guardian has obtained a copy of an unpublished report by consultancy McKinsey, commissioned by the European Gas Advocacy Forum, which also  includes ENI, E.On, GDF Suez, Shell and Statoil. The report, which has  been sent to the commission, describes gas as a clean, plentiful and  relatively cheap form of

It challenges the idea that renewable forms of energy should be the primary way to cut emissions.

British Gas is set to post record profits

The earnings haul, to be revealed on February 24, will sit uneasily with many consumers who recently saw their energy bills rise.

It compares with profits of £595 million for 2009.

Before  Christmas, British Gas, Scottish Power and Scottish and Southern Energy all announced hikes to household bills because of rising wholesale  costs. Average annual electricity and gas bills now stand at £1,133. During  the first half of 2010, British Gas made £585 million, according to analysts, on the back of the cold snap and an influx of customers who had switched from other suppliers after it lowered prices.

Its number of customers rose by an estimated 270,000, representing the best growth for a decade for British Gas.

Britain’s biggest energy supplier now has 16 million customer accounts.

Profits were much lower in the second half of the year, with some months thought to be loss making.

Read more:

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Gazprom Expects Record 2011 Export Revenue of $72.4 Billion

OAO Gazprom expects 2011 total export revenue to top the 2008 record as natural-gas prices increase and demand for the fuel recovers in Europe.

Gazprom expects total export revenue of $72.4 billion this year, or $2.5 billion more than the record in 2008, Deputy Chief Executive Officer Alexander Medvedev said today in London. That includes $52.8 billion from exports of natural gas outside the Commonwealth of Independent States, he said.

Russia’s state-owned Gazprom, which expects European gas prices to rise 15 percent this year, plans to boost exports to the region. Sales to Europe are
planned at about 152 billion cubic meters of gas this year, compared with 139 billion cubic meters last year, according to a presentation to investors provided to Bloomberg.

Manufacturers urge Treasury to rethink Carbon Price Floor

UK manufacturing industry has called for a re-think of potentially damaging proposals for a Carbon Price Floor.

Manufacturers’ organisation EEF stressed the importance of a CPF based on a full assessment of the damage to competitiveness, a proper regulatory impact assessment and a more co-ordinated approach to climate change policy.

Responding to the HM Treasury Consultation on the CPF, the organisation said it supports measures to accelerate a move to a low carbon power generation mix and accepts that there will be some costs to bear. However, it believes that the Carbon Price Floor as it is being proposed will have the unintended consequence of increasing costs for manufacturing, especially energy intensive sectors (while meeting the wishes of electricity generators for greater support to accelerate investment in low carvon electricity generation).

EEF chief executive Terry Scuoler said: “Industry accepts that addressing climate change comes with a price tag but we are rapidly reaching a tipping point where companies who are internationally mobile will say enough is enough.”

Commercial Gas Prices Rise Again

Commercial Gas Prices Rise Again

UK spot gas prices rise as Norway’s biggest gas platform Troll shuts temporarily overnight.  Just as UK gas market analysts and gas brokers were talking about how reliable and important Norwegian gas supplies has been to the British gas market this winter. Two weeks of unexpected outages and shut downs due to power cuts in Norwegian gas platforms and gas processing plants made the rollercoaster of UK gas prices move again.

Revealed: how energy firms spy on environmental activists

Three large energy companies have been carrying out covert intelligence-gathering operations on environmental activists, the Guardian can reveal.

The energy giant E.ON, Britain's second-biggest coal producer Scottish Resources Group and Scottish Power, one of the UK's largest electricity-generators, have been paying for the services of a private security firm that has been secretly monitoring activists.

Leaked documents show how the security firm's owner, Rebecca Todd, tipped off company executives about environmentalists' plans after snooping on their emails. She is also shown instructing an agent to attend campaign meetings and coaching him on how to ingratiate himself with activists.

The disclosures come as police chiefs, on the defensive over damaging revelations of undercover police officers in the protest movement, privately claim that there are more corporate spies in protest groups than undercover police officers.

Senior police officers complain that spies hired by commercial firms are – unlike their own agents – barely regulated.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Gazprom cuts gas prices for some European clients

Gazprom, Russia's top energy firm, said on Monday it agreed to cut gas prices in its long-term contracts for some European clients last year on the back of sagging demand and low spot prices.

A deluge of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Europe over the past two years, at a time of weak demand, has often driven spot gas prices well below Gazprom's long-term contract prices, making Russian gas unattractive and unprofitable for its customers.

Gazprom did not say by how much it cut the prices, although, according to its own estimates released last week overall average prices for its gas in Europe in 2011 will be increased by some 15 percent to $352 per 1,000 cubic metres.

Telecom Plus sees profit ahead on energy hike

British utility services group Telecom Plus said full-year profit will be slightly ahead of market expectations after benefiting from higher energy prices and greater consumption during the cold snap in December.

The company, which supplies gas, electricity, telephony and broadband under the Utility Warehouse brand, said it would recommend a final dividend of 14 pence, totalling 22 pence per share for the year.

"Our financial performance for the second half of the current financial year will reflect a small positive contribution from the impact of the latest retail energy price increases, as well as from the recent cold weather," said the company in a statement on Monday.

Gas prices will keep going up, but there are ways to keep the costs down

With tensions rising in Egypt and throughout the Middle East, the price of oil this week broke through $100 a barrel, its highest level for nearly two years. It's a development that has already raised concerns about the impact on global economic recovery.

But beyond these regional geopolitical influences, commodity prices are rising across the globe. Everything, from food to raw materials, appears to be on an inflationary path. Gas is no exception. Wholesale prices on the UK spot market doubled from 30p a therm in March 2010 to 60p by December. Forward prices for 2011 rose by nearly 50% over the same period. This dramatic shift triggered the recent increase in domestic UK energy prices.

To some observers, this upward move is perplexing, as they read about the prolific discoveries of shale gas in the US. It has been hailed as a long-term "game changer", which could trigger a global gas glut. Shale has certainly revolutionised the US market, releasing vast, and hitherto uneconomic reserves. It now accounts for 20% of production there, up from just 5% in 2006. As a result, the price of natural gas in the US has fallen by 40% over the last three years. At times this month it has traded at half the cost of gas in the UK.

Bglobal's Utilisoft recognised in Australian fast-growing company list

Utilisoft Pty - part of Bglobal - has been recognised as one of the fastest growing companies in Australia in the 'Dun & Bradstreet SmartCompany Industry Growth List'.

Utilisoft was ranked 8th in the information technology sector for the whole of Australia, having achieved revenue growth of 86% in 2010.

The list is compiled by SmartCompany - a news, information and resource site for Australian entrepreneurs, business owners and business managers - in collaboration with business information specialist Dun & Bradstreet, using information from its commercial database of more than 2.8 million companies.

Utilisoft MD Peter Norris said: "This is a fantastic achievement for a niche operator like Utilisoft and everybody within the company should feel proud of this award.

Monday, 14 February 2011

GE to buy U.K. energy services firm for $2.8B

General Electric Co. is to buy a unit of British energy services firm John Wood Group for about $2.8 billion, the latest move by the largest U.S. conglomerate to boost its presence in oil services.

GE's acquisition of John Wood's well-support division raised hopes of more deals in the oilfield services sector, where GE has recently been an active buyer of assets.

GE, which is buying the unit through its oil and gas business, agreed in December to buy Britain's oil drilling pipemaker Wellstream Holdings Plc for $1.3 billion U.S.

That followed a 2008 deal to buy pressure control equipment company Hydril for $1.1 billion and a 2007 deal to buy privately held oil and gas field equipment maker Vetco Gray.

O2 Delves into Energy Market

O2, the UK’s leading provider of mobile phones and broadband, has  signed a multi-million pound contract with G4S Utility Services to  simplify the remote management and monitoring of its national smart  meter network. G4S is one of Britain’s largest providers of smart  metering and field services.

The alliance is O2’s first foray into the smart meter market, which  is poised for significant growth as power utilities deploy residential  smart meters to meet the government’s 2020 deadline.  As part of the  three year, multi-million pound deal, O2 will provide M2M technology,  including approximately 150,000 SIM cards, to connect smart meters  across the UK to G4S’ data centre.

In addition, G4S will use  O2’s SMS gateway to transmit information from its smart meters to its  data centre and back again. Outbound messaging will enable G4S to  remotely monitor the Smart meters, reducing the cost of maintenance and as well as the carbon emissions associated with travel. O2 will provide G4S with the connectivity to run the annual testing of its disaster  recovery process.

Italian Scientists Claim (Dubious) Cold Fusion Breakthrough

Good science is always rooted in good data, but the most entertaining science is the stuff that transcends the need for data by rooting itself in fantastical claims -- and a rejection of the idea that data is even necessary.

So naturally it’s a thrill to learn that two Italian scientists claim to have successfully developed a cold fusion reactor that produces 12,400 watts of heat power per 400 watts of input. Not only that, but they’ll be commercially available in just three months.


Cold fusion is a tricky business -- some say a theoretically implausible business -- and exactly zero of the previous claims of successful cold fusion have proven legitimate (remember when North Korea developed cold fusion?). Hypothetically (and broadly) speaking, the process involves fusing two smaller atomic nuclei together into a larger nucleus, a process that releases massive amounts of energy. If harnessed, cold fusion could provide cheap and nearly limitless energy with no radioactive byproduct or massive carbon emissions.

Bglobal in meter tie-up with Samsung

Bglobal is joining forces with Korean giant Samsung to develop a smart meter energy suppliers can use for their UK residential and industrial and commercial customers.

The two firms will establish a joint venture. Samsung will provide this company with smart meters and will work with Bglobal to secure funding to develop a fully funded, rental model for that energy suppliers will able to rent to their residential and commercial customers.

Energy-Saving Light Bulbs not Really Green

Although an energy-saving lamp can save 60 percent to 80 percent on electricity usage and has a much longer service lifespan than an incandescence bulb, it can pollute 1,000 liters of water and 300 cubic meter of air, the reported.

Due to costs and technological restraints, Chinese companies are incapable of producing non-mercury bulbs. 0.5mg mercury content in each bulb will poison 1,000 liters of water and further impact soil and crops.

"No matter whether it's buried or burnt, energy-saving bulbs will cause pollution to water and soil." said an official at the Hebei provincial environmental protection bureau.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Carillion buys green energy group Eaga for £306m

UK spot gas prices jump as Ormen Lange shuts down

British gas prices surged after one of the North Sea's biggest production
platforms shut down on
Friday, slashing supply to Europe's biggest market.

Norway's Ormen Lange field was shut down on Friday morning after a technical
glitch, with operator Royal Dutch Shell unable to say when it might restart.

Flows of gas from the huge field through the Langeled pipeline dived from around
65 mcm/day at around 0910 GMT to around 53 mcm 30 minutes later, driving UK gas
prices for immediate delivery up about 3 percent from Thursday's levels GB2NB to
highs around 54 pence on Friday morning.

Deloitte questions benefits of UK water competition

Current plans to introduce retail competition into the UK water sector will add £60 to annual non-household bills for little medium-term benefit, Deloitte warned industry regulators and investors this week.

A report from the business advisory firm said the proposals would not deliver the same gains in the water industry as retail competition had in the telecoms, gas and electricity sectors for three reasons: their lack of focus on well-identified and significant cost inefficiencies; their limited scope (proposals do not currently include domestic customers); and the absence of upstream competition in the sector.

U.K. Natural Gas Falls on Warmer Weather, QatarGas LNG Start

U.K. natural gas declined amid forecasts for milder weather that may reduce heating demand and as Qatar Liquefied Gas Co. said it started a new production plant in the Gulf state.

Qatar is the world’s biggest producer of liquefied natural gas and supplies the fuel to the South Hook terminal in Wales. LNG made up 60 percent of the U.K.’s imports in September, surpassing pipeline shipments for the first time. QatarGas Train 7 is the last of the state’s production units to start.

“All 14 LNG trains are now producing LNG, meeting the energy needs of tens of millions of people around the world,” Mohammed Saleh Al Sada, Qatar’s energy minister, said in an e- mailed statement.

Solar power is now cheaper than nuclear, researchers say

The power generation business has changed so much over the last decade that electricity generated from solar energy will be cheaper than electricity generated from the proposed new nuclear plants according to a leading UK power supplier and US researchers.

"The cost of generating power from solar photovoltaic (PV) systems has steadily fallen over the last ten years while the projected costs of constructing the new nuclear plants have ballooned," said Ken Moss, CEO of mO3 Power company.

"The cost of producing and installing PV cells has been steadily dropping for some years," he said. "A PV system now costs about half of what it did in 1998."  The average price of a PV module in 2010 was $1.50/kW and by mid- year that figure is expected to drop to a maximum of $1.10kW.

UK lacks investment to harvest 20-year North Sea oil supply

Hannon Westwood, a specialist consultant on North Sea oil, has urged the Government to use tax allowances to encourage investment in 90 key oil discoveries that could yield the Exchequer $44bn (£27bn) in the next two decades.

Clarity over whether clean-up costs can be offset against petroleum revenue tax as well as help with access to pipelines and credit would also encourage more North Sea field development, the consultancy said.

Some 20bn barrels of oil are believed to lie below the UK continental shelf, enough to power the country for the next 20 years. However, Jim Hannon, director at Hannon Westwood, said developers are unlikely to raise the investment needed without Government assistance.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

For and against wind farms

The UK needs to meet a target to generate 15 per cent of energy from renewables by 2020 as part of global plans to fight climate change.

The technology produces no greenhouse gases once it has been installed.

Wind farms will decrease reliance on volatile energy supplies from abroad. Manufacturing and installing wind farms in the UK will provide ‘green jobs’

The technology is becoming cheaper as wind farms are built around the world.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Commercial Gas Prices Ease - While Energy Prices Remain Steady

To Drill Or Not To Drill: Shale Gas Inquiry

To Drill Or Not To Drill: Shale Gas Inquiry

story picture
Tessa Chapman, north of England correspondent

The possibilities and potential hazards of drilling for shale gas - a fuel that has revolutionised the American energy market - are to be examined by a group of MPs.

Read on Sky News

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Smart meters 'must not deter switching'

Smart meters being installed in UK homes must not create a barrier to consumers switching energy suppliers, regulator Ofgem has said.

By 2020, every home in Britain will be fitted with a smart meter - a device that shows exactly how much gas and electricity is being used.

Installation of the devices has already started in some households.

As a result, Ofgem plans to step up protection, so consumers are not tied to the supplier that fitted the meter.

"It is important that where a customer has a smart meter installed, this does not create a barrier to them switching supplier," the regulator said in a consultation document published on Monday.

Capgemini Supports the Utilities Sector

Capgemini, one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, today announced a new offering for its utility customers using the Home Energy Dashboard, a device based on Intel® architecture that enables utilities to interact directly with consumers in the home.

Capgemini’s Smart Energy Services team will support utilities in the deployment and management of the Home Energy Dashboard, enabling them to offer new and enhanced energy services and improve their customer acquisition and retention performance.

This next generation In-Home Display will allow utilities to better manage their demand response programs by shifting residential customers’ peak usage without impacting their comfort. It will allow utilities to offer preferential tariffs to their customers, as they seek to reduce energy consumption, and to deliver new services, such as solar panel monitoring, electric vehicle battery management and storage management. Bundling these value-added services together with tariffs to make them more attractive to new and existing customers will also allow utilities to improve customer acquisition and retention in competitive markets where switching rates are high.

Monday, 7 February 2011

UK spot gas prices ease, cold supports prompt

British spot and curve gas prices eased on Monday morning as supplies improved
and oil prices remained well below last week's highs, although the price for
next week firmed slightly on a colder weather outlook.

Supplies of gas from Norway rebounded over the weekend after exports from the
Kollsnes and Kaarstoe gas treatment plants were cut by power supply problems.

Scottish and Southern fined £500,000

Scottish and Southern Energy's power distribution arm has been penalised for failing to meet a three month-deadline for connecting customers.

The energy regulator Ofgem fined Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) £500,000.

Ofgem said it was "vital" that customers got prompt connections.

The regulator said Perth-based Scottish Hydro co-operated with the investigation and the penalty could have been much higher if it had not.

Stuart Cook, from Ofgem, said: "Customers such as developers of housing estates or wind farms are reliant on local power network companies to provide a good service on connections.

Birmingham Smart Meter Trial Produces Significant Savings

A 12-week smart meter trial in Birmingham, England, has saved more than 10 tones of CO2 emissions, with some homes reducing electricity costs by £35 per month.

The Digital Birmingham and Family Housing Association installed DEHEMS (Digital Environment Home Energy Management System) smart meters in 49 homes in Lozells, Handsworth, and Edgbaston.

Besides the DEHEMS meter, participants received ‘Green Doctor’ training designed for changing their behavior and encouraging efficient energy consumption.

Over the trial period, the number of people unplugging chargers from the mains, always switching off lights when leaving a room, never leaving appliances on standby and boiling just enough water for one person when using a kettle had doubled on average.

Trial participant Jean Allison from Handsworth says the project has changed her behavior for good and considerably reduced her bill.

EDF restarts four UK nuclear plants

EDF Energy restarted four nuclear power generators over the weekend, a spokeswoman for the company said on Monday.

The 630-megawatt Sizewell B1 nuclear power turbines in southeast England was restarted on Friday evening, followed by the 630-MW Sizewell B2 and 450-MW Heysham 1-1 generators on Saturday.

Breakthrough promises $1.50 per gallon synthetic gasoline with no carbon emissions

UK-based Cella Energy has developed a synthetic fuel that could lead to US$1.50 per gallon gasoline. Apart from promising a future transportation fuel with a stable price regardless of oil prices, the fuel is hydrogen based and produces no carbon emissions when burned.

The technology is based on complex hydrides, and has been developed over a four year top secret program at the prestigious Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford. Early indications are that the fuel can be used in existing internal combustion engined vehicles without engine modification.

According to Stephen Voller CEO at Cella Energy, the technology was developed using advanced materials science, taking high energy materials and encapsulating them using a nanostructuring technique called coaxial electrospraying.

“We have developed new micro-beads that can be used in an existing gasoline or petrol vehicle to replace oil-based fuels,” said Voller. “Early indications are that the micro-beads can be used in existing vehicles without engine modification.”

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New licence bid by controversial energy broker

Businessman Andrew Pilley, the man behind energy broker Commercial Power and energy supplier Business Energy Solutions (BES), has applied for several new supply licences to allow him to offer gas and electricity under two company names.

Financial Mail last year highlighted how BES had been taken to court by hotelier Bokmun Chan after he claimed he was signed up for an energy deal with the company that was different from and far more expensive than the one he agreed through Commercial Power.

Pilley settled out of court. At the time, we warned that some rogue brokers in the market were targeting small firms, while experts called on Ofgem to do more to prevent widespread mis selling.

Friday, 4 February 2011

U.K. Natural Gas Rises as Bad Weather Curbs Norwegian Exports

U.K. natural-gas contracts rose as exports from Norway’s two biggest plants were reduced because of bad weather and erratic power supplies.

“The processing plants at Kaarstoe and Kollsnes have had a loss in power supply due to bad weather conditions, and are now reduced,” Lisbet Kallevik, a spokeswoman for Bygnes, Norway- based Gassco AS, said today in an e-mail.

Exports from Kollsnes were reduced to about 50 million cubic meters a day at 11:30 a.m. local time, Kallevik said, adding that “the rate is changing all the time, since we are ramping up now.”

Norway is the biggest foreign gas supplier to the U.K. and the second-biggest exporter to Europe after Russia. Both Kollsnes and Kaarstoe send fuel via sub-sea pipelines to markets in mainland Europe as well as Britain.

G4S Utility Services bags £12m smart metering contract with British Gas

UK metering provider G4S Utility Services has bagged a £12m contract with British Gas to deliver smart metering services in North England and Scotland.

The company said the arrangement, which will encompass smart and legacy metering operations, will last for three years from this April.

The contract covers comprehensive electricity and gas metering services across the northern half of the mainland and start in a staged basis.

The new agreement complements the contract G4S won for South England that was announced in October, and positions it as a national service provider for British Gas, which is a Centrica business.

UK week-ahead gas firms with colder weather

British gas prices for working day-ahead delivery firmed on Friday as temperatures were expected to fall again, and curve contracts continued their four-session upward trend which has been fuelled by firmer oil prices.

The weather was forecast to turn colder again from the start of next week, which is likely to increase gas demand used in heating systems.

The prospect of higher demand lifted Monday gas prices by 0.45 pence to 54.65 pence per therm at 1010 GMT on Friday. Gas for working days next week traded 0.45 pence above Monday's level at 55.10 pence.

The Shambles of the European Carbon Trading Market

Pressure is growing at international climate change conventions for the carbon trading markets to go global, but recent events in Europe, the world’s most developed carbon trading market, illustrate only too graphically the challenges any such move would face.

In a recent Telegraph article, coverage highlights two disturbing issues in the European market that should make other regions pause for thought before embracing the idea. Firstly let us say that in principle, if we accept that carbon emissions should be reduced, then we are in favor of the concept of carbon credits as a means of encouraging polluters to reduce those emissions. A free market in carbon credits is better than government taxation because it allows companies to respond to what is best for their organization rather than all firms being forced to react in the same way; however, the experience in Europe has totally undermined the concept and the reality is that the same forces that have undermined the European market would have a major impact on adoption in other regions.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Any Big Differences Between Home and Commercial LED Lights?

The types of LED bulbs available for use in businesses aren't much different than those designed for home use. Home and commercial LED lights work on the same principle: they contain a chip that glows when electrical power is applied. The size of the bulb, its intended use and application all determine where it is best used.

Energy Star Ratings

The energy star program was conceived to help people better understand their energy conservation options. The rating has come to symbolize a certain standard of quality. LED bulbs, commercial or domestic, are still in their early stages, and looking for products that are energy star approved may help reduce the occurrence of difficulties with poorly manufactured lamps.

In the Commercial Setting

Since a majority of commercial lighting involves recessed or canned lighting, and LED bulbs release very little of their energy in the way of heat, they are ideal candidates for office situations. Their direct lighting and good intensity will allow you to provide focused light where it is most needed. They work with dimmer switches which will help tailor the lighting to the needs of the individual, and perhaps best of all for the bottom line, they save money on utilities.

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UK curve gas rallies again on rising oil

Wholesale British curve gas prices rose again on Thursday as increasing unrest in the Middle Eastdrove crude oil prices higher, traders said.
After violence in Egypt escalated and tensions rose in gas exporter Yemen, Summer 2011 gas prices in Europe's biggest market rose to 54.35 pence per therm ($8.81 per mmbtu) by 1110 GMT on Thursday, up from a previous close of 53.80 pence, as oil prices broke through $103 a barrel LCOc1.

Vattenfall and partners to build UK-Norway interconnector

Vattenfall has signed a co-operation agreement with four energy companies to plan and build an electrical interconnector between the UK and Norway.

Vattenfall and its partners, Agder Energi, E-CO, Lyse, and Scottish and Southern Energy, agreed to establish Northconnect, a jointly owned interconnector-development company.

‘Northconnect will make an important contribution towards developing the European market for electricity, with increased competition in regional markets, a secure supply of electricity and more stable energy prices for consumers,’ said Harald von Heyden, head of Vattenfall Asset Optimisation and Trading.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Norway energy link plans examined

Plans to link Scotland and Norway with an underwater electricity cable will be examined in a new study.

First Minister Alex Salmond said a number of UK sites are under consideration but hopes the shortest route to the north-east will become the main landing point.

He announced a partnership agreement between Scandinavian utilities companies and SSE Interconnector, a subsidiary of Scottish and Southern Energy, during an offshore wind conference in Aberdeen.

Mr Salmond said the north-east is the "obvious choice", adding: "Today's agreement represents a major early step towards the integration of Scotland's electricity network into a pan-European grid."

He said the study will be supported by 50,000 euro (£42,500) from the Scottish European Green Energy Centre.

Can a Possible Oil Crisis Affect UK Commercial Gas Prices?

The answer is yes, but right now despite oil prices peaking at there highest level in 28-months that is not the case,  thanks to an oversupply of commercial gas from Norway.

High oil prices are affecting the far curve; traders are very concerned that the crisis in Egypt could interrupt oil shipments through the Suez Canal. 

British wholesale gas prices fell on Monday and early Tuesday as Norway kept the UK gas system oversupplied cutting dependence on storage and LNG supplies.

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Greenhouse gas emissions plummet by 9% in a year as struggling Britons use less fuel and energy

The country's greenhouse gas emissions are falling dramatically as belt-tightening Britons use less power in the wake of the recession, figures showed today.

Carbon Dioxide emissions fell by almost a tenth in 2009 according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, a trend that will be welcomed by environmental groups. 

But the fall has mainly been caused by falling demand for energy from homes and businesses - and illustrates the severity of the economic downturn.

Industry alone emitted a third less greenhouse gas, suggesting  a rapid drop in demand for raw materials such as those used in the construction industry. 

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne warned the figures were not a cause for celebration.

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Tuesday, 1 February 2011

E.ON, RWE to Trade U.K. Power Futures as Market Opens

E.ON AG and RWE AG, Germany’s biggest utilities, are preparing to trade U.K. electricity futures as Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. began offering the contracts.

No trades were completed on the first day, according to the exchange’s website. Five companies are ready to buy and sell, Trine Riccardi, spokeswoman for Nasdaq OMX Commodities, said by e-mail, declining to provide their names.

“We’re not quite there yet,” Paul Beynon, vice president of U.K. power at RWE Supply and Trading GmbH, said today by phone from Swindon, England. “Our legal work hasn’t been completed yet, so it’s probably another one to two weeks until we can trade.”

Essen, Germany-based RWE is among the main supporters of the N2EX exchange, which led the company to trade with more counterparties on lower credit risks, Beynon said in December.

EDF shuts UK's Sizewell B nuclear plant

EDF Energy shut down Britain's 1,260-megawatt Sizewell B nuclear power plant early on Tuesday for an unplanned outage, a spokesman for the UK arm of France's EDF said.

"We took the decision to take Sizewell B offline at 0400 GMT on Feb 1," the spokesman said, declining to say why Britain's newest nuclear power station had been taken offline.

Another spokeswoman for EDF Energy said that although the shutdown on Tuesday was not one of the power station's planned statutory maintenance outages, it had been planned in the last few days and was not a sudden trip.

UK business gas prices slide again on Norwegian supply surge

Near term wholesale British gas prices fell again as supplies from Norway surged higher on Tuesday, leaving the UK gas system overupplied, while concerns
over the crisis in Egypt supported the far curve, traders said.

Gas prices fell on Monday as Norwegian gas exports to the UK recovered from last week's field maintenance, and prices plunged again early Tuesday as flows from Norway into Scotland and England jumped, cutting reliance on storage and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Gas for delivery on Tuesday fell to 52.65 pence per therm by 1000 GMT, down about 0.85 pence from close on Monday, while contracts for Wednesday dipped to 52.55 pence and the new front month contract March fell to 52.60 pence ($8.46 per mmbtu).

But contracts from the second quarter of 2011 and beyond firmed, after a rally in crude oil prices. driven by concerns over unrest in Egypt impacting oil supplies. [O/R] "The prompt is off but the curve staying firm," said one UK energy trader. "Egypt is pricing in more beyond the spot."

Take a look at our latest video on how to compare business gas prices now...

Compare Business Gas Prices - How to compare business gas prices

Oil price tops 100 dollars a barrel

Brent crude oil prices broke the 100 US dollar (£62.3) a barrel mark for the first time in more than two years following fears that the civil unrest in Egypt would block the Suez Canal.

The price of crude on the futures market rose 63 cents on Monday as prices hit 100.05 US dollars - the highest future price for Brent crude since October 2008.

Oil prices have already risen by more than 15% in 2010 and experts warned that prices of 110 US dollars (£68.5) are not far away as the weak US dollar and high demand continue to push up prices.

Analysts said gas prices will follow oil upwards, with this summer's day-ahead prices set to be 10% higher than at the same time last year.

Emma Pinnock, an analyst at Inenco, said: "The situation in Egypt has caused the market to worry about the flow of oil in the Middle East.