Thursday, 31 March 2011

Fury after 5 gas bosses bag £3.2m in bonuses as prices soar

Gas chiefs sparked fury last night by awarding five bosses £3.2million in bonuses – less than three months after jacking-up bills.

The payouts were among a near £16million boardroom bonanza at British Gas owner Centrica last year.

The directors’ windfall formed part of a £135million bonus pool shared by the firm’s workforce which critics said would infuriate hard-pressed customers.

Biggest winner was Centrica chief executive Sam Laidlaw who took home a package of almost £2.3million last year, including a £941,000 salary and a hefty £900,000 bonus.

UK greenhouse gas emissions up 2.8 percent in 2010

Britain's greenhouse gas emissions rose 2.8 percent in 2010 due to increased power generation,  largely due to cold weather early and late in the year, provisional data  from the government showed on Thursday.

In 2010, UK emissions were provisionally  estimated at 582.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, compared  to 566.3 million tonnes in 2009, the Department of Energy and Climate  Change (DECC) said in a statement. Under the U.N.'s Kyoto  Protocol, the UK has to cut emissions 12.5 per cent below 1990 levels  from 2008 to 2012. Britain also has its own, longer-term, aim of  reducing emissions by 34 percent by 2020.

Chris Huhne faces legal challenge over nuclear link to cancer in children

The government has ordered an expansion of the UK's nuclear programme without properly factoring in evidence that nuclear power stations cause an increase in cancer cases in children living nearby, according to a legal challenge in the high court.

The case alleges that the energy and climate secretary, Chris Huhne, did not properly review the evidence on cancer when giving the go-ahead  for the
expansion last year. Lawyers claim the action could delay, or  even stop, the programme of new reactors.

Rory Walker, a 24-year-old community worker from Lancaster, has won legal aid to launch the unprecedented case.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

British renewables investment drops 70%

Figures released today (March 29) appear to show the UK is rapidly collapsing as a renewable energy hub.

Apparent fear amongst private investors over the Conservative lead coalition's position on renewable power seems to have completely stalled what was a rapidly growing market, according to the figures.

World-wide statistics released by the influential American Pew Charitable Trust claim the UK's private investment in clean energy fell by 70% in 2010.

The drop in UK funding comes depite figures for the rest of the world where, overall, investment grew by 30% to a new record of $243 billion in 2010.

Should Britain Turn its Back on Nuclear?

The catastrophic events in Japan that led to Fukushima’s nuclear crisis made the world review their concepts about nuclear energy generation. What once was seen as an effective way to generate carbon free electricity is now being questioned about its safety that will sure comprise its economical viability.

What happened at Fukushima’s nuclear power plant caused deep wounds on the nuclear industry, forcing governments in every corner of the globe to review their nuclear development policies.

Read More:

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

UK to inject £3.2bn in renewables by 2014

The UK is set to increase its renewable energy budget to over £3.2bn for the next three years, UK Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has revealed.

Huhne has vowed to leave no stone unturned in support of Scottish renewable energy projects in particular, in the belief that Scotland is vital to the UK’s climate change targets.

He has given a snippet of the upcoming UK budget, announcing that the UK will increase its renewable energy monetary allocation to over £3.2bn in the next three years.

‘If we are to meet our climate change targets, Scotland will be mission critical. Success here will define our low carbon legacy,’ said Huhne.

Make Carbon Reduction Commitment Work for Business

The CBI today (Tuesday) warned that the Government's flagship energy efficiency scheme is untenable in its current form, as it reiterated its call for the incentive behind the Carbon Reduction Commitment to be restored.

Launching a new policy brief, Back to the Answer: Making the CRC work, the UK's leading business group argues that the Government's decision to remove the revenue-recycling element at October's Spending Review has undermined the original purpose of the scheme of encouraging organisations to cut emissions.

The CBI added that the fact that the decision was made just two weeks after the final deadline closed came as an unexpected blow to organisations that had joined the scheme in good faith.

UK gas prices ease on healthy supply, technicals

British gas prices dropped slightly on Tuesday morning as the system was long due to healthy liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports and moderate demand, traders said.

Winter 2011/2012 gas forward prices were at 74.20 pence per therm at 0830 GMT, down around half a pence a day earlier.

Solar energy ‘still viable’ despite tariff shake-up

Sun farms, converting sunlight to electricity on a large scale, were being planned for this region until the government declared its intention to rewrite the tariff for green electricity last weekend – and could still be viable, according to one specialist.

The Feed-in Tariff (FiT) for electricity from renewables was published only a year ago and both the National Farmers Union and the Country Land & Business Association say changing the rules now is unfair and short-sighted.

But the Department of Energy and Climate Change says the original FiT was threatening to create more solar power than DECC could afford while failing to provide enough incentive for turbines linked to anaerobic digesters, producing gas.

DECC is officially “consulting” but is proposing to halve the payments for solar production feeds of more than 50 KW and add a little extra for digester power from August 1. However, it wants to make conditions to discourage the use of crops as opposed to waste in digesters – which the farmers’ lobby says is also a mistake.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Surge in business for new NI electricity firm...

A new Irish electricity company, which offers a pay-as yougo service and does not issue bills, has signed up more than 350 customers within weeks of its launch.

Prepaypower was set up in 2009 and, after a development phase, was launched on a pilot basis at the start of this year. This month, the company moved out of this test phase and expects to hit 500 customers by this week.

Aidan O’Neill, Prepaypower’s chief executive, said the firm installed its own technology in customers’ homes and customers could then purchase ‘‘credit’’, similar to a mobile phone, and input the unique code into their home system.

The firm charges the same unit prices and standing charges as the ESB, but also applies a fixed daily charge of 30 cent. O’Neill said customers could top up at about 500 prepay points nationwide, or could top up over the phone.

As yet, no online top-up service is available, but the firm is currently developing such a facility. Customers can top up by €5, €10 or €20, or by combinations of these amounts, subject to a daily cap of €175.

Schneider Electric Snaps Up Summit Energy for $268m

Schneider Electric has announced that it will acquire Summit Energy, a $65 million provider of outsourced energy procurement and sustainability services, for $268 million.

The acquisition will play a critical role in strengthening Schneider Electric’s energy management services portfolio, which will now offer customers energy procurement, market intelligence, data management, risk management and sustainability consulting services, Schneider said.

Summit’s online platform, dashboarDView, allows corporations to understand their energy and environmental costs and usage, Schneider said.

All of Summit’s 350 employees, in 11 offices throughout North America and Europe, will stay with the company. They will become part of Schneider’s Energy Solutions group.

Data Centre Claims European Clean Power First

Companies such as BT and Logica will be taking advantage of sustainable power at no extra cost.

A data centre operator based in Wales claims to be the first in Europe to run a facility on 100 percent renewable energy.

Next Generation Data (NGD) Europe, based in Newport, says it is the only provider in Europe that can offer customers access to the 750,000 square foot data centre running on purely renewable energy.

According to NGD, it won’t be charging customers such as BT and Logica any more for renewable energy. And if anything goes wrong with the supply, NGD is keen to point out that it has a 180 Megavolt Amperes (MVA) back-up sub-station which also connects to the national grid.

“In an industry which consumes over two percent of the UK’s total power supply, it is a significant step to ensuring our operations are as competitive, efficient and environmentally-friendly as possible,” said Nick Razey, CEO of Next Generation Data Limited.

2 million gas and electricity customers in debt

Figures from Ofgem, the energy regulator, show that nearly 2 million gas and electricity customers are repaying a debt to their supplier.

But, the price comparison website, says that the real figure is close to 5 million. It says the Ofgem figure leaves out almost 3 million people who owe money to their energy company but are not on an ‘official’ debt repayment programme.

Ann Robinson, of, says: “Ofgem’s statistics are damning, but they skim the surface and conceal the real size and scope of the energy debt in Britain today. Our research shows that nearly 5 million households owe money to suppliers and that their collective debt is £624 million.”

Friday, 25 March 2011

Scottish energy firm SSE reveals £8bn investment plan

Scottish and Southern Energy plans to invest £8bn over the next five years.

The Perth-based power company, which trades north of the border as Scottish Hydro-Electric, has earmarked £3.5bn of the total for Scotland.

A further £1.5bn has not been designated to any area, but much of it is expected to be on renewable energy in Scottish waters and in hydro power.

The company claims it will help create 7,000 contractors' jobs in Scotland, on top of the 5,000 staff it already has.

Projects approved for capital expenditure by SSE include the large onshore wind farms Clyde and Griffin, and up to 12 other sites. It also plans to upgrade its hydro projects, including pump storage projects near Loch Ness.

Brent crude oil nears $116, upside risks

Oil rose on Friday with Brent crude near $116, and analysts saw the risk of another price spike as unrest bubbled across the Middle East and western powers continued a military campaign in Libya.

Friday protests were planned in Yemen and Bahrain, and investors kept a close eye on Syria, where at least 37 have died following protests against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Western warplanes struck Libyan ground forces on Friday, pursuing a campaign that has yet to deliver a crippling blow to Muammar Gaddafi's tanks and artillery.

Brent crude for May rose 5 cents to $115.77 a barrel by 1035 GMT, about $4 from a 2-1/2-year high just below $120 reached a month ago. U.S. crude rose 20 cents to $105.80.

UK carbon price floor to drive up electricity prices, warns consultancy

The level of the carbon price floor announced by the UK Treasury today is estimated to drive wholesale electricity prices up by ten per cent by 2020, a specialist energy consultancy has warned.

Although high carbon prices will come as welcome news to the renewable energy industry, they may also make the cost of buying green energy un-viable.

Redpoint Energy carried out support analysis for the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Treasury on a possible support for a carbon price.

The Carbon Price Support mechanism is expected to stimulate investment in low carbon generation, but is expected to be overridden by other subsidies.

Redpoint Energy director Duncan Sinclair said, ‘We estimate that wholesale electricity prices may be around £5-£6 MWh or ten per cent higher by 2020 given the levels of carbon price floor announced today.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Bglobal Half Hourly Smart Metering

Bglobal Metering has launched a Half Hourly (HH) smart metering  solution to accompany the existing Non-Half-Hourly (NHH) service it  currently provides. 

For the new service Bglobal Metering will operate  in the UK as an accredited Half Hourly Meter Operator, Data Collector,  and Data Aggregator, beginning March 31, 2011. Bglobal is the current NHH market leader in the UK.

For businesses that have a peak energy load at any time during the day of more than 100kWh, their electricity meter will be Half Hourly.  Energy Consumption Data is collected via the Smart Meter every half an  hour throughout the day, and sent back to the Bglobal Metering data  centre, via a sim-card built into the meter.

Customers will be  able to take advantage of the additional services that Bglobal provides,  including consumption analysis and reporting via WebAnalyser, and  ‘smart’ energy efficiency consultancy to provide greater savings and energy management.

Bglobal wins deal with Dignity to supply smart meters

Smart meters supplier Bglobal's shares gained two per cent after the Lancashire-based firm announced its latest contract win.

Bglobal, which is based in Darwen, has signed an agreement with funeral services provider Dignity to supply, install and service smart electricity meters and to provide data collection and analysis services.

It follows a successful pilot initiative. John Furness, group sales director at Bglobal, said: "We are thrilled to be supporting Dignity in their commitment towards smarter energy management and carbon reduction.

Understanding The Inconstancy Of UK Gas Prices

Remembering when the UK was self sufficient for natural gas few factors changed gas prices. They were weather and demand, nowadays, the United Kingdom gas market has become more complex and various factors have a head-on effect on prices.

With the fall of North Sea gas production the United Kingdom went from being self sufficient and an exporter of natural gas to being a net importer. This has caused numerous changes to the UK gas market, for the most part in business and commercial gas prices volatility.

Since 1998 when the first pipeline between the United Kingdom and Europe was opened UK gas prices were automatically hooked to European oil indexed prices. Since then, United Kingdom gas prices were determined by marginal transactions. Basically if oil prices augment so does UK gas prices.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Japan’s Disaster Impacts on the UK Energy Market

As uncertain to the future of the UK energy market, Japan’s disaster has caused even more uncertainties. Should the government stick with the nuclear energy programme? Or was what happened at Fukushima’s nuclear plant a warning that as efficient as nuclear might be, safety comes first?

Once again energy market specialists are divided into two groups. Those that believe Japan’s nuclear crisis will change global energy markets for good and those that despite knowing the risks of nuclear power plants still think the Government must not divert from its nuclear energy programme.

Ofgem told to ‘step up’ to protect SMEs

watchdog Consumer Focus has called on energy regulator Ofgem to take steps to better protect small businesses in the energy market.
It follows a new report by the watchdog that found many of the UK’s smallest businesses are losing out on the best energy deals because of the way that some brokers operate when negotiating contracts with energy suppliers. The report highlights concerns that some brokers mispresent offers from suppliers, and that they offer poor quality advice. Not all brokers are upfront about their fees, while in many cases brokers fail to declare how they are being paid – for example, through commission from suppliers, or fail to make it clear that they do not have to search the whole market for the best deal.

Brokers can be valuable in helping guide firms through the huge range of complex tariffs and ensuring they get a better deal. However, not all brokers are genuinely independent or honest in their behaviour.

Financial Mail has long highlighted the ongoing issues facing small firms in the energy market and called for better protection for small firms against such ‘rogue’ brokers. Currently brokers are not regulated, which means there is little protection or recourse for small businesses who are caught out by rogue brokers.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

How energy brokers make life even tougher for small firms

Here's something many of the country's smallest businesses might identify with.

You're busy just trying to keep your head above water, so when you get a call from a supposed expert who says he can get you a better energy deal, you welcome the news. Afterall, you don't have the time to wade through the many complex electricity and gas tariffs.

What you might not know is that the so-called expert may be a broker who hasn't read through all the different tarrifs either and, worse, is being paid commission by the energy supplier he'll recommend.

It's a situation that must change, says Consumer Focus in its report Watching The Middlemen.

Brokers are important because they can guide a busy business through the range of complex tariffs, says the watchdog. Often, it will be a direct approach from a broker that makes a micro-business realise they could get a better deal.

But the report highlights some serious problems. One of the most common is that brokers often aren't clear about their role or don't explicitly say that they do not have to search the whole market for the best deal.

IBM and Cable & Wireless to gather smart meter data in the cloud

IBM and Cable & Wireless (C&W) have announced plans to collaborate on the
development of a cloud-based smart metering system, dubbed the UK Smart Energy

This collaboration aims to support the UK's Smart Meter Implementation
Programme, which should see about 50 million smart meters rolled out in the UK
by 2020.

Read more:

Monday, 21 March 2011

Ofgem told to ‘step up’ to protect SMEs

Consumer watchdog Consumer Focus has called on energy regulator Ofgem to take
steps to better protect small businesses in the energy market.

It follows a new report by the watchdog that found many of the UK’s smallest
businesses are losing out on the best energy deals because of the way that some
brokers operate when negotiating contracts with energy suppliers. The report
highlights concerns that some brokers mispresent offers from suppliers, and

that they offer poor quality advice. Not all brokers are upfront about their
fees, while in many cases brokers fail to declare how they are being paid – for
example, through commission from suppliers, or fail to make it clear that they
do not have to search the whole market for the best deal.

Brokers can be valuable in helping guide firms through the huge range of
complex tariffs and ensuring they get a better deal. However, not all brokers
are genuinely independent or honest in their behaviour.

Financial Mail has long highlighted the ongoing issues facing small firms in
the energy market and called for better protection for small firms against such

‘rogue’ brokers. Currently brokers are not regulated, which means there is
little protection or recourse for small businesses who are caught out by rogue

£250,000 smart meter roll-out aims to cut schools' energy use

COUNCIL chiefs are to press ahead with the roll-out of smart meters in schools in an attempt to cut down on energy costs.

Education leader Marilyne MacLaren has acknowledged that "low temperatures over the winter have caused problems in some schools" and said action had been taken to help any schools that had a deficit in their energy budgets.

The Evening News revealed last month that the council had pledged to give headteachers an extra £571,000 to help them pay their energy bills after some struggled to pay.

Innovative Renewable Energy Generation Ideas

Portable Ethanol Refinery Turns Food Waste into Fuel – Every year in the UK alone thousands, maybe millions of tones of food goes to waste. What if we could find a use for all this waste? That is exactly what a California based company did, they’ve created a portable ethanol refinery that produces the fuel out of food waste.

G4S Utility Services targets EV infrastructure market

G4S Utility Services, the one year-old energy services business of securities company G4S, is eyeing an expansion into the electric vehicle infrastructure market, its business development director Jeff Studholme revealed to NewNet.

‘We are looking at wider service extensions in our sector including, for example, assessing the electric vehicle and energy survey markets,’ said Studholme.

‘Installation of charging points at homes is one area we will look into. We are assessing where we can help in the electric vehicle market – targeting electric vehicles and smart metering because they are in line with our core competence, which is to hold and manage data and exploit our field workforce.’

In the last 12 months G4S Utility Services has gone from providing limited meter reading services to offering a range of energy services to the SME market, and it is now also turning its attention to domestic customers.

Business could save £23bn annually through resource efficiency

The research commissioned by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the resource efficiency savings could be achieved through  
"little or no investment" and could improve competitiveness and employment opportunities for UK business. However, it found businesses were often not
taking action because of behavioural or financial reasons or because they lacked information about how to do it.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Oil prices look set to trade higher after Libya bombings

Oil prices are set to jump in early trading tomorrow after Saturday’s bombings in Libya will have investors on edge about unrest in the region and how the situation in Libya could affect western oil supplies.

Libya Bombings – Operation Odyssey Dawn

British and American warships unleashed cruise missiles against Libya last night as the world finally turned on Colonel Gaddafi. Last night, the US Pentagon reported that 112 Tomahawk missiles had been fired from both US and British ships and submarines in Operation Odyssey Dawn.

Oil Prices to Rocket Higher

Oil prices jumped two percent in trading on Friday after a UN Security Council resolution imposed a no-fly zone over Libya, however prices fell back in the afternoon as it seemed that Libya would adhere to the call.

The resolution initially pushed both Brent and WTI oil contracts higher after it was passed and traders are expecting oil futures to remain bullish next week after operation Odyssey Dawn unfolds.

Friday, 18 March 2011

New call for watchdog to ban 'rollover' energy contracts

Energy watchdog Ofgem is facing renewed pressure to ban rollover contracts for small firms. 

Rollover contracts mean that firms are automatically locked into a new,  more costly deal after their initial contract has ended if they fail to give notice in time to their supplier.

Financial Mail has highlighted how small firms are being caught out by such deals, which force them to pay significantly more for their energy, and has campaigned for Ofgem to ban them.

Since January, suppliers have been limited to rolling over the smallest  firms for a maximum of one year. But firms that employ ten or more staff  can be rolled over for longer.

Last week, Ofcom announced proposals to ban rollover deals on landline phone contracts for both business and residential customers. It  expressed concern that such contracts 'make it harder for customers to  switch providers and reduce the benefits of competitive choice'.

Figures published last week by online energy adviser show small and medium-sized firms pay nearly £2bn more on electricity  than they need to. Just seven per cent changed supplier in 2010.

Read more:

Bluesky Maps UK's Solar Energy Potential

Bluesky is rolling out nationwide coverage of its pioneering Solar Suitability Map.

By mapping the potential for power generation using solar panels on roofs, the Solar Map is designed to identify optimum properties for solar power; helping to achieve renewable energy targets and reduce soaring energy costs. Bluesky has seen a growing demand for its solar mapping amongst local authorities, utilities, housing associations and solar panel companies.

Bluesky's solar maps calculate the usable roof space of each property. By using detailed 3D aerial survey data and discarding features such as dormer windows, large skylights and chimneys, Bluesky's Solar Maps provide the only truly accurate indicator of the solar potential of individual roofs.

In addition to the nationwide coverage of solar potential Bluesky is offering a service to create more detailed, bespoke 3D Solar Reports for individual complexes such as government buildings, schools, hospitals or commercial warehouses. All Bluesky Solar Maps can be linked to existing address databases or mapping to select and target the best properties for solar energy generation.

"Since launching the first solar maps last spring we have been inundated with enquiries from local authorities, solar panel companies as well as energy and environmental organisations," commented Rachel Tidmarsh, Managing Director of Bluesky. "As a result of these enquiries and our own ongoing research and development studies we have refined our processes and developed what is thought to be the most accurate methodology for determining the suitability of properties for solar energy installations, which is why now seems to be the right time to roll the product out nationally."

Global crises pushing up energy costs for small firms

SMALL and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Scotland and other parts of the UK are facing a sharp rise in their energy bills because of the unrest in North Africa and the Middle East as well as the nuclear crisis in Japan, a leading impartial energy brokerage service warned yesterday.

Within the past week energy prices for UK small businesses have increased by 7% on average, according to

“As well as prices sneaking upwards, suppliers are also only guaranteeing their prices for a day or two reflecting the level of uncertainty currently being experienced,” said James Constant, director of the brokerage, which helps business customers get the best gas and electricity deals.

“Britain’s small businesses are already feeling the impact of the current crisis. We have already seen moves across the UK business energy market this week as suppliers rush to pull prices. They are being replaced with prices that are significantly higher and furthermore there is no obvious end to the uncertainty as world events continue to evolve.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

UK renewable energy FIT cuts could cost thousands of jobs

Possible cuts to the UK’s feed-in tariffs (FITs) will cost the country thousands of jobs, according to supporters of the industry.

Chris Huhne, the Energy and Climate Change Minister, told parliament that employment in UK solar companies had increased by 10,000 since FITs were first introduced in April.

Up to 17,000 people are estimated to be employed by the industry in early 2011, he said, a number which may grow to 30,000 in a year’s time.

‘It is utterly amazing that only ten months into this hugely popular and successful scheme the ministers are putting employment in the sector at risk,’ said Howard Johns, chairman of the Solar Trade Association.

Are Government's carbon reduction targets realistic?

Are the Government's current energy reductions strategies doing enough to reduce the UK's carbon footprint?

Total Environmental Management (TEM), consultants responsible for energy management at the 02 Arena, is conducting a survey covering opinions of UK businesses on a range of energy related issues.

TEM's short survey seeks to identify if UK businesses believe the Government's carbon reduction targets are achievable or not.

Results of the survey, which can be viewed here, will be published on's energy channel later this year.

TEM's operations director, Tracy Lewis, said: "There's positive talk about sustainability and reducing the amount of energy used within buildings through the introduction of renewable technology and behavioural change, but it is not always possible.

Europe’s retrofit plans are ‘eminently achievable’, says energy efficiency specialist

As the UK government considers scrapping the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), the European Commission’s retrofit plans offer an ‘eminently achievable strategy’ for reaching a low carbon economy, according to UK-based energy efficiency technology manufacturer Sabien Technology Group.

The level of funding under the CRC energy efficiency scheme, which was intended to encourage companies to cut carbon emissions by rewarding those that did, is under revision by the government.

But while the UK is fretting about its energy efficiency incentives, the European Commission has called to step-up investment in green technologies, insisting that countries in the European Union (EU) invest more in energy efficiency.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

U.K. Coal Plant Profits Increase as Natural Gas May Go to Japan

Profits from using coal to generate U.K electricity for next winter soared to the highest level in 17 months, on speculation natural gas will be diverted to Japan amid the Asian country’s deepening nuclear crisis.

Profit from using coal to generate power in the U.K. for next winter, the six months from October, rose 7 percent to 14.67 pounds ($23.56) a megawatt-hour in London. That’s the highest level since at least October 2009, when Bloomberg started compiling the data.

The profit, known as a clean dark spread, soared as electricity tracked natural gas, making it more favorable to burn coal in power stations. Gas rose on speculation it would be used to replace nuclear generation. Germany said it would close seven of its oldest reactors while it reviewed safety after an earthquake hit Japan, shutting down the country’s nuclear stations and causing explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Britain gets about 80 percent of its power from a mixture of coal and gas plants, switching between the fuels depending on prices. The nation also has 10 atomic stations, mostly owned by Electricite de France SA. Mike Weightman, Britain’s chief nuclear inspector was asked by Chris Huhne, energy minister, to report on the implications of Japan’s nuclear situation, according to a statement on the Department of energy and climate change’s website.

Latest News: Gas Prices Rise with Power Shortages in Japan

Yes you read it right, power shortages in Japan made UK gas prices rise four percent yesterday. In total 10 nuclear plants are out of action in Japan which increases the likelihood of LNG tankers being diverted away from the UK to Japan.

 “The severity of the situation is heightened by the possibility that the injection of seawater for emergency cooling of several of the reactors affected by the earthquake could require the scrapping of those reactors, so resulting in a permanent loss of some of the nuclear capacity already down,” Deutsche Bank analysts said in a note on Tuesday.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

‘Proper’ Green Investment Bank needed to meet UK’s energy investment needs

In another dent to the UK government’s green plans, a Parliamentary committee has warned that the promised Green Investment Bank could flounder unless it is give the power to raise capital.

The report out today by the Environmental Audit Committee urges the government not to water down its plans for a Green Investment Bank so that the UK won’t miss out on billions of pounds of investment in green energy projects.

“The Chancellor must ensure the Green Investment Bank can do what it says on the tin and raise extra capital like a real bank,” says committee chair Joan Walley MP. “Setting up a Green Investment Bank without the power to borrow would be a bit like trying to buy a house without first getting a mortgage offer.”

The Chancellor George Osborne pledged £1 billion to the Green Investment Bank in the Spending Review last year, plus proceeds from the sale of certain government assets, but it has not been confirmed whether the ‘bank’ will be able to borrow money and raise additional capital.

Evidence presented to the Environmental Audit Committee indicates that between £200 billion and £1 trillion of private sector investment is needed over the next 10-20 years to transform the UK into a low-carbon economy and meet its climate change and renewable energy targets.

Electricity meter mix-up costs golf club bill for £63,000

Members of a golf club were stunned to get a business electricity bill for almost £63,000. It was sent to Honiton Golf Club for power it has used over a period of more
than five years. Now the club’s committee is seeking legal advice over whether it has a case not to pay the demand from electricity company E.on.

Club vice-chairman John Chew said the bill arrived out of the blue. He said: “Without doubt it came as a huge shock. We were astounded. It came out
of the blue. Everyone has been astonished. The amount covered an undercharge of electricity over a period extending over five-and-a-half years.”
He said it came to light after checks of the club’s electricity by E.on’s meter readers.

It showed five digits, instead of six on the meter – meaning a false reading was given for years.

Mr Chew said the club changed to E.on from another utility company in May 2005.

Nuclear crisis forces up UK gas prices

Energy experts have warned that UK energy bills could increase after the Japan earthquake triggered an increase in natural gas prices.
The cost of liquefied natural gas (LNG), which accounted for nearly a third of Britain's gas supply last winter,  has risen sharply since Friday's disaster
knocked out 11 of Japan's 54  nuclear reactors. The price for a summer delivery of LNG to the UK rose  by 6.4% per therm on Monday, with a winter delivery
climbing by 5.8%.

Adam  Forsyth, analyst at Matrix Group, said: "If the price rises and is consistently at a high level then it has to come through to people's gas  bills

Forsyth added that LNG cargo ships can be  diverted away from their original destinations at short notice and that  appears to have been the case with Japan,
which has requested extra  shipments in the wake of last week's disaster to cover the shortfall in  nuclear-generated electricity.

Monday, 14 March 2011

EDF Energy named UK’s most sustainable power utility

The study compared the performance of 13 power utilities operating in the UK judged on 37 criteria, including availability of green electricity contracts, sustainable gas provision, on-site renewable energy and heat generation and advice on energy management and climate change legislation.

EDF Energy is one of the UK’s largest energy companies, supplying over 5.5 million homes and businesses, and a leading producer of low-carbon electricity. The company has also positioned itself at the centre of the UK’s putative revival of nuclear power with plans for four new plants.

“Sustainability is at the heart of EDF Energy,” says Laurent Mineau, head of the company’s B2B services. “We look to help our customers to use less energy… meaning our business customers are able to place great trust in the energy savings we promise and help them to deliver.”

As well as EDF Energy, Verdantix also looked at Centrica, E.ON Energy, Ecotricity, Gazprom, GDF Suez UK, Good Energy, Haven Power, RWE npower, Scottish and Southern Energy, Scottish Power, SmartestEnergy and Total Gas and Power. Of those, Centrica, E.ON and RWE npower also have well-formed sustainability strategies.

According to the report, customers are increasingly looking for energy management services from their utility to improve efficiency, save costs and ensure that they are meeting the requirements of new legislation.

Japan quake could mean higher energy prices for UK

Friday’s devastating earthquake and a second explosion at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant may send global gas and electricity prices higher.

Analysts at broker Matrix warn that Japan may lose at least 5% of its generation capacity permanently. This will be made up by gas fired power, requiring larger imports of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).

LNG prices are already up and it’s only a matter of time before that feeds through to the gas and electricity markets.

U.K. Gas Prices Jump Amid LNG Competition on Japan Nuclear Halts

U.K. natural gas for delivery next winter rose after the March 11 earthquake in Japan halted nuclear power stations, raising concern that liquefied natural gas cargoes may be diverted away from Britain.

Gas for winter, the six month period starting in October, gained as much as 5.1 pence, or 7.4 percent, to 74 pence a therm as of 7:53 a.m. in London, according to broker prices compiled by Bloomberg. That’s equal to $11.87 a million British thermal units and the highest since November 2008. U.K. summer gas prices also rose.

The U.K. relies on supplies from countries such as Qatar and Algeria for LNG to supplement waning North Sea gas output.

SmartestEnergy sees 50 per cent rise in indie-generated power

SmartestEnergy, leader in independently generated green power, has seen a 50 per cent surge in the amount of electricity it is purchasing from indie producers.

SmartestEnergy said it will have purchased more than five terawatt hours (TWh) of power over the last year to March 31, 50 per cent more than the previous year. The company is putting the record rise down to growth in the renewable energy generation market in the UK following the recession and the introduction of incentives, such as the Feed-in Tariff.

"Over the last 12 months we have seen an increasing number of businesses, communities and landowners looking to become energy entrepreneurs to provide new income streams and reduce their own energy bills," said Mark Knights, head of Business Development for SmartestEnergy.

SmartestEnergy, which is largest trader of non-utility generated electricity, supplies power to large businesses in the half-hourly metered market, including Marks & Spencers and L’Oreal.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Japan declares 'nuclear emergency' at quake-hit reactor

Japan declares 'nuclear emergency' at quake-hit reactor

Analysts said the closure of the reactors was likely to lead to an increase in demand for liquefied natural gas, an alternative source of energy, from the country. “Such a reduction in nuclear generation is likely to increase the demand for spot LNG ...
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UK gas, Asian LNG prices surge on earthquake-led demand in Japan

UK gas, Asian LNG prices surge on earthquake-led demand in Japan

UK forward gas contracts and Asian LNG prices surged Friday as an earthquake in Japan triggered the shut down of nuclear and coal-fired power stations in the country, with LNG as a possible substitute fuel, which means cargoes may be diverted away from ...
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UK energy companies back ‘green gas’ accreditation scheme

Some of the UK’s energy companies are backing the Renewable Energy Association’s newly launched accreditation scheme to guarantee ‘green gas’ for consumers.

Gas  use could increase radically in coming years as carbon emissions  targets rule out coal and new low-carbon energy sources such as nuclear  and wind power are slow to come online.

But biomethane can be  produced from anaerobic digestion, in the form of biogas, from landfill  or from synthetic gas – syngas – production.

The Green Gas Certification Scheme (GGCS) will track all biomethane through the supply chain so that  consumers can be certain that they are purchasing ‘green gas’.

British Gas, Bio Group, E.ON, National Grid, Thames Water, CNG Services and Milton Keynes Council are all backing the scheme. 

“The  Green Gas Certification Scheme is a simple and reliable way to  eliminate double-counting of registered green gas,” explains Steve  Sharratt, chief
executive of Bio Group, which designed and constructed a  bioenergy plant for brewer Adnams.

Britain “The Era Of Constant Electricity At Home Is Ending”, National Grid Chief

There is something very,very wrong with this Coalition Government and  it’s energy policies, the evidence continues to mount from around the  world that wind power, quite simply does not work for a wide range of reasons: too much
wind, too little, the turbines are frozen.Again and again blogs and MSM outlets have pointed out that Chris Huhne will cause Black Out Britain and still blinded by the light of Climate Religion Dave and the  Huhnatic are hell bent on Blackout Britain, and it’s not just Climate  Realists who say this:

Carbon reduction commitment updates

For the past year, property lawyers have been getting to grips with the carbon reduction commitment (CRC) energy efficiency scheme, with little sign of any standard practice yet emerging on CRC drafting for leases and the raising of enquiries, against the backdrop of a complicated and ever-evolving scheme.

CRC is a mandatory emissions trading scheme for the UK, which aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through energy efficiency. Organisations that met the qualification criteria – which are based on whether they were supplied with electricity by a ‘half hourly meter’ and how much electricity they were supplied with –were obliged to register with the Environment Agency by the end of September 2010.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

5m Britons in debt over energy bills as UK suppliers increase prices

Big four energy firms offer best green future

Research by an independent analyst firm has shown four of the biggest UK utility providers are best placed to offer renewable energy in the future.

The firms, British Gas parent company Centrica, EDF, E.ON and npower are the 'best positioned' to provide UK businesses with sustainable energy according to Verdantix.

Other companies looked at by the report were Ecotricity, Gazprom Marketing and Trading Retail, GDF Suez UK, Good Energy, Haven Power, Scottish Power, SmartestEnergy and Total Gas and Power.

The study looked at 13 power utilities operating in the UK, ranging in revenue size from £10 million to £70 billion, on 37 assessment criteria.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Troubled Skykon turbine plant attracts energy firm bid


LED maker turns to silicon to lower costs

The LED light-source maker said on Tuesday that it has demonstrated the production of commercial LED light chips on silicon, a transition that will cut production costs by 75 percent  and ultimately result in cheaper, more energy-efficient
light fixtures. 

Bridgelux intends to start making LEDs, which will be fitted into bulbs made by other companies, with the process in two or three years.

Light fixtures with LEDs use semiconductors made by growing Gallium nitride (GaN) on a substrate of sapphire or  silicon carbide. Using GaN on silicon, Bridgelux engineers have been  able to get the same light quality and comparable efficiency as today's  commercial products, the company said.

Middle East Unrests Continue to Influence Gas Prices

UK gas prices climbed to its highest levels in more than 21 months supported by conflicts in Middle East which are pushing Brent crude oil prices close to the $120 a barrel.  On Monday Brent crude oil prices firmed at $117.40 a barrel, causing a rally in the UK gas market. Winter gas contract prices climbed to 68.50 pence per therm on Monday morning, the highest since May 2009.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The Carbon Trust and Siemens launch new green finance deal worth £550 million to green businesses in the UK

The Carbon Trust and Siemens have launched a scheme to provide UK businesses with green equipment finance worth up to £550 million over the next three years.

This major new deal will boost green growth and unlock business investment in the low carbon economy – key to the UK’s recovery. The new dedicated low carbon finance scheme is a first and will enable UK businesses to invest in cost effective energy efficiency equipment or other low carbon technologies, such as new efficient lighting and biomass heating.

All businesses will be able to apply for new green growth finance from the scheme from 1 April 2011. Under a Heads of Agreement signed between the two parties Siemens Financial Services Ltd. in UK (SFS UK) will provide the financial backing and manage the provision of funding and the Carbon Trust will use its expertise in carbon saving from energy efficient technologies to assess the carbon, energy and cost savings of any application. This will enable the financing to pay for itself through energy savings, resulting in no net cost to the customer.

Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, commented:

“Driving green growth in the UK is key to our economic recovery. A missing ingredient at present is access to affordable finance to enable business to make green investments.  This new major finance facility will improve business competitiveness, cut carbon and boost green growth.”

Milford Haven in to Get LNG Tanker

The U.K.’s Milford Haven will receive a shipment of liquefied natural gas from Trinidad and Tobago next week, according to AISLive data on Bloomberg.

The Methane Princess is due to arrive at the port in south Wales on March 14. The ship can carry 136,086 cubic meters of LNG, the data show.

Exxon Mobil Corp. owns about 24 percent of South Hook LNG Terminal Co. Qatar Petroleum holds nearly 69 percent, and Total SA owns the rest.

Monday, 7 March 2011

European Carbon Permits Rise to Five-Month High as Natural-Gas Prices Gain

European Union carbon permits rose to the highest in almost five months as natural gas advanced, prompting utilities to switch to burning dirtier coal for power generation.

EU allowances for December 2011 delivery rose as much as 20 cents, or 1.2 percent, to 16.02 euros ($22.38) a metric ton on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange, its highest since Oct. 13. They were at 15.93 euros as of 8:22 a.m. local time.

Higher natural-gas prices can trigger some utilities to switch to coal to generate electricity. Coal emits twice as much carbon dioxide and so requires double the number of permits.

UK gas prices surge as oil rallies on Saudi, Libya

Wholesale British gas prices surged again on Monday as oil markets were supported by conflict in Libya and rising unrest in the oil and gas rich Middle East, traders said.

Winter gas contract prices jumped to 68.50 pence per therm by 1010 GMT on Monday morning, up 1.60 pence from Friday and the highest level since May 2009.

The rally, which was seen across the UK gas market, came as Brent crude oil prices firmed to $117.40 a barrel LCOc1, up from Friday's close around $116, as Libyan clashes continued and tensions in the world's biggest oil exporter Saudi Arabia rose.

Although the Libyan conflict has cut off only about 2 percent of Europe's gas supply since Feb. 22, fears that the wave of anti-government protests across the Middle East and North Africa could spread to bigger supplier Algeria have spooked gas markets.

Middle East unrest puts oil on a slippery slope

It seems a little callous when watching violence and death unfold in the Middle
East for so much concern to be paid to the oil market.

However, no one should underestimate the possible consequences of a rocketing
oil price given the strong correlation between spikes and recessions.

A growing number of experts and policy-makers, including Chris Huhne, the Energy
Secretary, have this week been warning of the real possibility of an “oil shock”
that could have deep effects on economic recovery –

potentially plunging the world back into financial hardship.

Dragan Trajkov, oil and gas analyst at Renaissance Capital, points out that
there have been only two occasions in the past 40 years – in 1980 and 2008 –
when global oil costs were above 5pc of global GDP. Both times this resulted in
a severe economic crisis and a consequent severe drop in oil demand leading to
an oil price crash, he points out.

Carbon tax 'may not reduce CO2'

When the government changed the terms of a new tax on the carbon emissions of
large companies in last year's Spending Review, it was accused of hitting
firms with a "green stealth tax".

Money raised through the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) will now go to the
government, rather than to those firms who cut their bills the most, as had
been originally planned.

The business group, the CBI, is calling on the government to turn the tax back
into an incentive-based scheme or scrap it altogether.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Scottish & Southern Energy's 870MW gas-fired power plant wins approval

Wales is set to gain a new power plant with the potential to provide electricity to 1.4 million homes, as Energy Minister Charles Hendry gave the go-ahead for Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) to build an 870-megawatt gas-fired power station near Port Talbot.

The Abernedd Combined Cycle Gas Turbine Plant will be built at the Baglan Bay Energy Park, on the former site of a chemicals facility.

Charles Hendry said:

“This new power station will bring jobs and industry back to this disused site and will provide a boost to the nation’s energy security.

How to Conduct a Business Gas Price Comparison

Businesses go all out to increase sales, and therefore, the revenue. This is what brings in the profits. Yet, there is another way to increase your margin and to the bottomline, which is to look for ways to reduce expenditure.

Every business has certain unavoidable core expenses, such as the cost of producing the goods or delivering the services.  However, there are also certain non-core expenses that are just as unavoidable, such as business gas or electricity.  In other words, if you are looking to cut down costs, these are the areas that can help you do magic to your balance sheet.

The reason why business gas and electricity have become such an important component these days, is that the price of energy is on the upswing – and who knows for how long it will be so. The only good thing about this situation is that industry deregulation has allowed immense competition, which provides you with a great opportunity to bag excellent deals.  Business gas suppliers today are forced to make competitive offers for holding on to existing customers and increasing their account numbers.

U.K. Natural Gas Prices Soar as Crude Jumps Amid Libyan Turmoil

U.K. natural gas contracts climbed, with winter gas reaching the highest price since October 2009, as Brent crude jumped amid increased turmoil in Libya.

Gas for winter, the six months from October, rose as much as 1.7 pence, or 2.7 percent, to 64.5 pence a therm.

The contract was at 63.4 pence as of 4:30 p.m. in London, according to broker prices compiled by Bloomberg. That’s equal to $10.23 a million British thermal units. A therm is 100,000 Btu.

Summer gas, the six months through September, gained as much as 1.5 pence, or 2.8 percent, to 55.5 pence. It was at 54.4 pence at 4:40 p.m.

Oil price surge may cut UK GDP -govt

A doubling in oil prices from an average of $80 per barrel last year to $160 in 2011 would trim around 45 billion pounds ($73.2 billion) off Britain's gross
domestic product over two years, according to UK government economists.

Britain's GDP was 1,456.27 billion pounds in 2010, so the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) estimate for $160 oil cutting 22.5-billion pounds a year off would equate to over 1.5 percent of GDP for that figure.

Brent crude prices have already risen about $23 per barrel since the start of 2011 , hitting $119.79 per barrel on Feb. 24 as violence and production cuts in
Libya drove prices to levels not seen since 2008 before the global economic crisis.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

US firm strikes £3.5bn E.ON deal

American utility firm PPL has snapped up its second major UK electricity network after striking a deal worth £3.5 billion with Germany's E.ON.

The acquisition of the Central Networks business adds an electrical supply system serving five million customers in the Midlands, including Birmingham and Nottingham, through about 83,000 miles of overhead and underground cables.

Pennsylvania-based PPL already owns Western Power Distribution, which provides regulated distribution through 52,000 miles of power lines to 2.6 million customers in South-West England and South Wales.

Electricity Key Scam Nets Criminals Millions

Private sector can boost UK's low-carbon future, report finds

Energy minister Chris Huhne has today welcomed report findings that show energy efficiency in the private sector can cut carbon, safeguard UK fuel-security and save business £6 billion a year.

The influential report tackles the problem of legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and a potentially widening gap between future energy supply and demand and encourages a greater focus on the nation’s energy consumption.

The Carbon Connect report, “Energy Efficiency: The Untapped Business Opportunity”, has received cross-political party support and backing from across the private sector.

Secretary of State Huhne, said: “Energy efficiency is an untapped opportunity for all UK businesses, whatever their size. By saving energy, businesses can slash overheads and boost the bottom line. What’s more, by cutting carbon, the private sector can play its part in reducing the UK’s emissions. Carbon Connect’s report is a welcome addition to this debate.”,-report-finds.html

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

The Importance of Hiring an Energy Broker

Every week we bring you the latest UK energy and gas prices. These prices vary on a daily basis influenced by a series of factors that we talked about in our article: “Understanding the Fluctuation of UK Gas Prices“. As professional gas and energy brokers it is our job to stay on top of the news in order to find the best deals for our clients.

Now imagine you having to do all this for your business or allocating employees that have no experience in the UK energy market, to find your organisation the best business energy and business gas prices. First you would be wasting time that could be used on other projects that matter to your business, and second these professionals wouldn’t be able to find you the best deals because they don’t have the market knowledge to do so.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

SSE ditches plans for Kintyre offshore wind farm

2011 'crucial year for UK energy'

The UK is about to embark on a huge process of change in the way it produces, transports and uses energy. Steve Holliday, chief executive of National Grid, explains how 2011 is the crucial decision point for investment decisions that will have huge long-term implications for the UK's business energy policies.

UK firm develops way to store hydrogen

One of the biggest stumbling blocks on the road to hydrogen power has long been the difficulty in storing the fuel. Hydrogen atoms are so  small that they can
slip between the spaces in molecules of other  materials, and the gas can be a hazard if it escapes.

But a cheap and practical way of storing hydrogen has been developed by a British company. Cella Energy used nanotechnology to develop microbeads – about the size of a grain of sand – that can trap hydrogen and release it when heated.

The energy can then be used safely to power vehicles – drivers could simply top up  with microbeads on filling station forecourts. What's more, the beads  are
not just for hydrogen vehicles - they also work in standard  combustion engines, in which they can be used as an additive to help the  petrol burn more cleanly,
reducing greenhouse gas emissions.