Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Europe's gas markets face tight start to winter

European gas markets could see tight supply at the start of the high-demand winter season as Qatari liquefied natural gas (LNG) maintenance is expected to curb exports, coinciding with a potentially colder-than-usual early winter, analysts said.

The world's largest LNG producer, Qatargas, said it will shut at least three of the world's biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) producing plants at different times during a rolling maintenance program planned this autumn.

The maintenance work could cut LNG supplies to Europe and especially Britain, which is growing increasingly dependent on the liquefied fuel, European gas analysts said on Tuesday.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

UK farmers turn to renewables for profit

More than one third of UK farmers want to install renewable energy projects on their farmland, most of them within the next year, and hope to generate average returns of 25,000 pounds ($40,565) per year, UK bank Barclays said.

The bank's business arm on Tuesday launched a 100-million pound fund to help farmers finance renewable energy projects, including solar panels, wind farms, hydro plants and organic waste power as a growing number of agricultural businesses seek to benefit from government support tariffs.

"We want to signal very clearly to the market that we consider this to be a big future industry, a big opportunity for agricultural businesses and also a big opportunity for the renewables," said Barclays Business' Product and Marketing Director, Travers Clarke-Walker, whose team will be managing the fund.

What ‘The Green Economy Means’ for UK Businesses

In a bid to clarify what it means by “green economy” the government has published a series of documents to help UK businesses prepare for the transition to a “greener” economy.

The compilations of documents was entitled “Enabling the Transition to a Green Economy” and were developed by Defra, BIS and DECC in response to the requests from the private sector for more clarity with regards to how the government plans to guide the UK economy towards a low carbon future.

These documents include policies and how they were put together, outlines for businesses to play their role in the transition so they are prepared for new growth opportunities, job creation and how to capitalise on the upcoming changes.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Arcadis helps DMO drive 40% reduction in energy consumption

The UK Debt Management Office (DMO) has been working alongside Arcadis, a leading provider of project and cost management services, to reduce its overall energy consumption in line with Government-wide sustainability targets.

In response to the Government's 10% carbon reduction commitment, during 2010/2011 the DMO reduced its electrical energy consumption by 40.8%, saving over £16,000. CO2 emissions were also reduced by an impressive 25.8%. The DMO has also successfully reduced their Display Energy Certificate rating from 219 to 161, which has shown a clear improvement in the building's energy performance. The DMO are already looking to further enhance energy efficiency going forward, and Arcadis has assisted in putting together a clear plan of action for the remainder of 2011 and beyond.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Soaring energy bills push millions more OAPs into fuel debt

SOARING energy bills are set to push thousands more into fuel poverty as the latest price hikes bite.
Debt charities are warning that fuel debts will become a major problem this winter as millions struggle to keep up with escalating costs.

Citizens Advice chief ­executive Gillian Guy says: “Since the start of the recession, CAB advisers have seen a big increase in people coming for help because they can’t afford to pay their gas and electricity bills.

Solar Panels - Solar Thermal Vs. Photovoltaic

As we search for ways to become a more green society, the first thing that often comes to mind is solar energy. Harnessing the sun’s power to provide energy seems fairly innocuous to the environment, right? That is not always true. Actually, large amounts of fossil fuels are used in the manufacture of some of the panels, and the disposal of the waste metals not used present their own set of problems. Mercury and chromium are two of the most toxic.

What options do we have? Are there differences within the panels and the way they are manufactured and utilized? There are two types of solar panels, one being solar thermal and the other, photovoltaic. Photovoltaic or PV panels convert sunlight to electricity which can be used to supplement or replace the electricity supplied by the grid.

Solar thermal uses flat collector plates to harness the sun’s energy to heat water. Although their appearance and even installation are similar to the PV panel, solar thermal collectors do not convert sunlight to electricity, but transfer the energy directly to the water. Solar thermal systems replace the electricity or natural gas that would otherwise be required to heat your water.

Energy customers 'blind to bill costs'

UK energy customers could be leaving themselves in need of credit advice, as research shows a lack of awareness concerning gas and electricity costs.

Almost 40 per cent of Britons do not know how much they are paying each year, while 24 per cent have only a rough idea, according to

The survey found that the price difference between energy tariffs can be up to £411, meaning that neglecting to check prices could be causing financial problems for many households.

For most families, gas and electricity costs are the second highest monthly outgoing following mortgage or rent payments, prompting Scott Byrom, utilities manager at the price comparison site, to suggest that users should shop around for the best deals.

"If you pay more than £37 for your electricity and more than £51 for your gas per month, then you are potentially paying too much and should be looking to switch to a better tariff," he claimed.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

NightWatchman ensures carbon reduction at Aviva

Insurer Aviva is looking at substantial environmental and financial benefits after installing PC power management software from 1E.

Aviva has around 53 million customers across the world and is the planet's fifth largest insurer, and the largest in the UK. Joanne Goddard, group senior corporate responsibility manager at the firm told CBR that Aviva has always taken its corporate responsibility seriously.

"We believe that we need to play our part in protecting the environment in which we operate," she said. "All of our corporate responsibility commitments focus on doing the right thing for society and the business. Reducing our carbon emissions delivers cost savings, however we genuinely believe that our desire to reduce our carbon emissions stems from the principle of limiting our own environmental impact for the societal good."

The company has been steadily reducing its CO2 emissions over the last few years and recently turned its attentions to its IT department, which it estimated was contributing 40% of all emissions.

Energy bill ignorance costs over £400

Gas and electricity bills make up a terrifying proportion of our everyday spending. For anyone who has yet to make the decision to give up heating their home, it's easy to spend £1,000 or more a year on these bills. So it's particularly worrying that we haven't a clue how much we're spending, what we're spending it on, and whether or not we're on a good deal.

As a result we're wasting up to £400 a year.

A survey by found that only 38% of people know how much they are spending on energy each year. And while a quarter claim to have a rough idea, over 20% who pay monthly have no idea of the total cost of their bill for the year with a further 16% revealing that they had no idea at all of their energy costs.

The cost of ignorance
The problem with ignorance in this market is that if you don't keep an eye on your tariff, it can easily shoot through the roof undetected. Energy companies have been introducing price increases well in excess of 10%. Those who know what they are paying have a chance of spotting this before it's too late. Those who are in the dark may well drift into paying well over the odds.

The figures also revealed just what an uncompetitive tariff can cost you over an average year. The most expensive tariff at the moment will set you back an astonishing £1,391 compared to the current cheapest at around £980 - that's a pointless overspend of £411 a year, and who among us can claim to have that sort of cash burning a hole in our pockets?

Big Six Under Investigation

The UK’s energy watchdog, Ofgem, has hired the services of  private accountants from BDO to scrutinise how the “energy giants” calculate their profits. So far five out of the so called “Big Six” energy and gas suppliers have increased prices despite wholesale gas and energy prices registering multi-months lows.

BDO is the world’s fifth largest accountancy organisation and it was hired by Ofgem to improve transparency over the pricing policies of the energy companies and give consumers more clarity regarding the relationship between retail prices and wholesale energy costs.

The group of forensic accountants will investigate dodgy practises, trading profits and wholesale prices. Since March, when Ofgem noticed that energy suppliers raised prices in response to higher costs faster than they reduced them when costs dropped, hence the idea of hiring an independent consultancy firm to provide a third opinion.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Britain’s Wind Farm Scam Threatens Economic Recovery

They are among the nation’s wealthiest aristocrats, whose families have protected the British landscape for centuries. Until now that is. For increasing numbers of the nobility – among them dukes and even a cousin of the Queen – are being tempted by tens of millions of pounds offered by developers. —Robert Mendick and Edward Malnick, The Sunday Telegraph, 21 August 2011

In the course of the 25-year lifespan of the wind farm at Fallago Rig it could net the Duke anywhere between £18 million and £62.5 million. One industry expert estimated Fallago Rig could generate about £875 million income over the next quarter of a century for the Duke and his commercial partner North British Windpower.—Robert Mendick and Edward Malnick, The Sunday Telegraph, 21 August 2011

Staff smash energy target

ECO-CONSCIOUS airport bosses are “winging their way to green success” after smashing their goal of reducing the energy they use.
Staff at Newcastle International Airport had been set the target of cutting back the power they use by 2.5% over 12 months.

But when the totals came in it showed they’d more than doubled their target, saving around one million kilowatt hours of electricity – a 6.6% reduction.

Terry Clarke, energy and sustainability project manager at Newcastle Airport, said: “To beat the target we set ourselves by such a large margin is great. As well as the investments we’ve made, we’ve been educating staff about the best ways to conserve energy in their daily routines, and this has been very effective.”

As well as reducing its energy use by a fifteenth, the airport has also cut its carbon footprint by 5% year-on-year, putting it well on the way to achieving its target of a 15% drop compared to it’s 2010 levels by 2015.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Green tax hike hits businesses

Figures from Utilyx, the energy consultants and traders, forecast a 58pc rise in the cost of power by 2020, largely driven by the impending avalanche of green taxes due to come into force over the next 10 years.

The consultants estimate that 18pc of the current electricity price relates to climate change policies – or £15 per megawatt-hour out of a £82 per megawatt-hour average.

However, green taxes and new infrastructure costs will constitute 38pc of the charges, or £50 per megawatt-hour out of £130 per mega-watt hour, by 2020.

Consumers and businesses are already facing much higher prices this year because companies have put up power bills by 7pc to 16pc, blaming volatile wholesale prices.

Utility companies write down £600m of coal assets

Major energy companies have written down the value of coal and oil power station assets by £600m, with RWE npower poised to cut around 440 jobs linked to closing plants.

The falling profitability of coal stations in the medium-term is linked to costly restrictions from Europe on carbon dioxide emissions and lower wholesale electricity prices last year.

EDF Energy has booked a £340m write-down on its Cottam and West Burton coal-fired power stations, which last changed hands for £398m and £366m respectively.

The company said they both remain "an integral part of the generating portfolio" but "expectation of future revenues" is lower.

Meanwhile, RWE npower has recorded an "exceptional impairment loss against the value of two coal and two oil fired power stations" amounting to £249m.
It said: "This has been caused by a sharp decline in the margins forecast to be earned on coal and oil generation over the next three to four years reflecting fundamental changes in the UK generation market over this period."

Catalyst and Solar2Energy to bring free solar power to its customers

Catalyst, a market leading energy consultant who provides energy procurement services, sustainability and environmental services, announced their partnership.
Through this partnership, Solar2Energy will be offering its full end to end photovoltaic solution to catalysts clients to allow them to benefit from their own on site generation with no capital outlay.

This is possible due to Solar2Energy securing solar funds totaling over £100 million, to meet the capital outlay for purchasing, installing and maintaining solar PV installations for commercial use.

Solar2Energy provides an integrated commercial solar proposition to Catalyst’s clients and continuously monitors the equipment of the plant to detect operation failures or under-performance spots.

Catalyst then provides real-time and secure collection and recording of statistical data, as well as reporting according to the operators’ needs. Reports can be obtained directly on a desktop or through web browsers and email. With long term rising energy costs, the demand for onsite energy generation is set to grow significantly over the next 12-months.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Business Energy Efficiency

Business Energy Efficiency for Up-and-coming small to Medium-sized Business (SMEs)

Modern your ability to succeed report from npower suggests that over portion of UK’s small to mid-sized businesses (SMEs) not have any energy efficiency measures in position and nearly 20% on the country’s 4.8 million SMEs don’t even monitor their yearly your making success consumption.

Based on the Carbon Trust SMEs have greater probability improving their energy efficiency when compared to larger companies. The Trust says that SMEs savings could are as long as 20% for SMEs compared to up to 8% for large businesses.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

UK Business Gas Price Increase - Wholesale Gas Market

British gas for immediate delivery rose on Thursday after a rash of nuclear outages drove demand for gas-fired electricity generation above seasonal norms, while supply decreased from Norway and the Netherlands.

UK NBP within-day gas rose by a penny to 57.2 pence per therm after the transmission system fell roughly 25 million cubic meters/day short of gas at 1000 GMT.
Imports from Norway via the Langeled pipeline more than halved overnight to 18 mcm/day, while there were also flow reductions from all three liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals.

Dutch deliveries fell below 15 mcm/day amid uncertain supply outlooks and lingering doubts over future LNG shipments.

A bearish tinge to day-ahead prices suggested that Norwegian flows should start returning on Friday, traders said.

September gas was little changed at 52.95 pence. The benchmark winter 2011/12 gas contract looked strong in opening trade, rising above 72 pence for the first time since July 1.

The contract had risen around 5.7 percent from its recent low on Aug. 8. It remained well above technical support levels, although it could not sustain itself above the important 72 pence mark, paring early gains to 71 pence, down 0.70 pence on the day. A string of nuclear outages has helped drive demand for gas-fired power generation this week, lifting gas burn and moving prompt contracts closer to the coal-switching level.

Power Factor Correction Techniques in LED Lighting

High power LED based light fixtures are replacing fluorescent and HID light sources in many general lighting applications. Since LED lighting represents a green technology, the issue of power factor is very important. Power factor is defined as the ratio of real power consumed by a load (expressed in Watts) to apparent power (expressed in VA), which produces a figure from zero to unity that indicates the degree of distortion and phase shift in the current waveform. The overall power factor is the product of the distortion power factor and the displacement power factor, where displacement power factor considers only the fundamental of the current and distortion factors in the harmonics.

Real power is defined as the apparent power multiplied by the power factor, where the apparent power is the product of (rms) voltage and current. This relationship indicates that more current is required to provide the same amount of real power for lower power factors.

Low power factors negatively impact the environment because transmission lines lose more power in the form of heat proportional to the square of the current. Higher current results in wasted energy in transmission lines as well as generators and transformers consuming more fossil fuels and generating more pollution and higher costs. Clearly, high power factor is very beneficial in all electrical products that operate from the AC power grid!

Although individual lights consume relatively small quantities of power (typically 10 W to 100 W), lighting is nevertheless very significant since somewhere around 20 percent of the worlds electricity produced is consumed for this purpose.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Environment Agency cuts CO2 and costs

The Environment Agency has cut its CO2 emissions by almost a fifth since 2006/07 as part of a wider reduction of its environmental footprint that has equated to a cost reduction of more than £6 million a year, it has announced today.

The Environment Agency has placed a strict target on itself to reduce CO2 emissions by 33 per cent by 2015 from 2006/07 levels, which places it at the forefront of the public sector’s sustainable operations programme. Today it has revealed it has reduced its carbon emissions by 17 per cent, making good progress towards that goal.

The organisation measures its environmental performance in five key areas: office waste, mileage, carbon dioxide, buildings’ energy and mains water. And it has achieved double-digit reductions in all five areas.

New figures in the Environment Agency’s first internal environment management update show that office waste was reduced by 18 per cent and mileage was reduced by a third – resulting in 19 million fewer miles per year.

Along with the 17 per cent reduction in emissions, the agency reported a 15 per cent reduction in its buildings’ energy use and an 18 per cent cut in the use of mains water.

On the back of its own improved performance, the Environment Agency has called on other large companies and public sector organisations to follow suit.

UK businesses meet carbon reporting deadline

Nearly 100 per cent of UK businesses have met the first reporting deadline for the Carbon Reduction Commitment, according to the Environment Agency.

Figures released by the UK’s Environment Agency show 4,295 of the 4,549 - 95 per cent  - businesses obligated to disclose information on their carbon footprint have done so by last month’s first reporting deadline, accounting for over 60 million tonnes of carbon emissions and 10 per cent of emissions by nation.

In a released statement, Tony Grayling, Head of Climate Change and Communities at the Environment Agency, said: “This is a new scheme for the UK, so we are pleased that the vast majority of organisations required to submit a report have done so by the deadline.”

Business Energy Efficiency

The latest business energy report from npower indicates that over half of UK’s small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) have no energy efficiency measures in place and nearly 20% of the country’s 4.8 million SMEs don’t even monitor their yearly business energy consumption.

According to the Carbon Trust SMEs have greater potential for improving their business energy efficiency when compared to larger companies. The Trust says that SMEs savings could reach up to 20% for SMEs compared with up to 8% for large businesses.

But according to Patrick Harvey from npower there are promising signs. For instance SMEs that are monitoring energy consumption and business energy efficiency have reported savings of up to 10%. These companies implemented simple, quick-win measures that enabled them to start saving on their business energy bills.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

EDF Energy Overcharges 100,000 Customers

EDF Energy is set to refund £200,000 to customers who were overcharged for gas and electricity after using its automated telephone meter reading system.

Around 100,000 gas and electricity customers were affected by the problem over a seven-year period between 2003 and 2010.

The error happened as customers in receipt of estimated bills phoned the firm's automated system after a price change to register their meter reading.
They were then charged the higher unit amount for their whole bill.

EDF is refunding a total of £200,000, including interest, with some customers receiving refunds of up to £500.

Npower to increase gas and electricity prices

Energy company Npower is to raise gas prices by 15.7% and electricity prices by 7.2% from 1 October, it has announced.

The supplier, owned by RWE, is the fifth of the "big six" energy firms to announce increases in UK domestic bills in recent weeks.
It blamed the "volatile global wholesale market" - which it expects to rise in the future - for the change.

Only EDF among the major suppliers has not announced price rises recently.

'Volatile' market

Npower said customers with a dual fuel tariff would see prices rise by 12.2% from October.

"I know it hurts everyone when we put up prices and I wish we did not have to," said Kevin Miles, of Npower.

"Although our half year profits were better than last year they do not begin to match the billions of pounds we are investing in energy for the future.

"With reduced quantities of North Sea gas, we are now forced to buy energy on the volatile global wholesale market. World events have pushed up prices and we believe this trend will continue."

But Richard Lloyd, chief executive of the consumers' association Which?, said that healthy profits would lead customers to question why price rises were needed.
"The Bank of England has predicted that rising utility bills will drive inflation to 5% by the end of the year, which will put more pressure on already squeezed households," he said.

"It is critical that Npower and all suppliers do more to help customers cut their energy bills - whether that is by getting onto the cheapest tariff or making their homes more energy efficient."

Nine out of 10 firms meet Carbon Reduction Commitment reporting deadline

More than 90 per cent of firms have met the first reporting deadline imposed by the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) scheme, providing detailed data on their carbon footprint to the Environment Agency.

According to figures released yesterday by the watchdog, 4,295 reports were lodged with the agency ahead of last month's deadline, out of an anticipated 4,549 organisations that are thought to face CRC reporting obligations.

Carbon-to-Electricity Breakthrough Creates Renewable Energy While Preserving Environment

Carbon is not only the most common element and the basis for all matter that we know, it’s also the root of harmful pollution and environmental woes.  In the spirit of ‘fighting fire with fire’, an aspiring research team from Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory has mapped out a method by which to turn CO2 from a would-be pollutant into an electricity generating catalyst.

Geothermal electricity production typically uses water as the vehicle, whereby the Earth’s heat converts the water to steam which then spins the turbines to create power. In the case of the Berkley Lab project, carbon dioxide is fed into the ground instead, where the geothermal heat puts it into a super-critical state (it has properties of both liquid and gas). After that, the CO2 is drawn back up to the surface, where turbines convert it to electricity.

Monday, 15 August 2011

UK prompt gas rises on high demand, market eyes outage

British prompt gas prices rose on Monday as high demand tightened the market, but gains were limited as BP confirmed the restart of its North Sea oil and gas Unity Riser platform.Maintenance on fields feeding the Unity Riser platform was extended last week for an unknown period, tightening supply to UK gas terminals longer than expected.        Operator BP said on Monday the platform resumed operations following successful repairs.

North sea oil spill 'worst for a decade'

An oil spill in the North Sea is estimated to amount to several hundred tonnes, making it the biggest such leak in more than a decade, according to UK government figures.

The spill – far greater than annual totals dating back to 2001 – was described as "substantial" by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc).
The total amount of oil discharged into the North Sea in 2009 was 50.93 tonnes.

Shell, which operates the Gannet Alpha platform about 112 miles east of Aberdeen, said the subsea well was shut on Wednesday, but it has not confirmed the quantity of the leak.

A Decc spokesman said the energy firm is still trying to "completely halt" any further leakage.

The spokesman said: "Although small in comparison to the Macondo, Gulf of Mexico, incident, in the context of the UK continental shelf, the spill is substantial – but it is not anticipated that oil will reach the shore and indeed it is expected that it will be dispersed naturally.

Ovo Energy raises electricity, but lowers gas prices

Ovo Energy, one of the smaller energy companies, has offset an increase in its electricity costs with a surprise reduction in gas prices.

The price changes are now in effect for both its energy tariffs - Ovo 'New Energy' and Ovo 'Green Energy' - and equate to only marginal price differences for dual fuel customers.

Ovo New Energy customers will continue to pay an average of £1,050 a year, while Green Energy customers will pay around £1,102, an extra £2.

Solar panels will save council cash

A SERIES of solar panels are planned for four council-owned buildings across the county borough which the council hopes will save around £1 million over a 25 year period.

A series of photovoltaic arrays, more commonly known as solar panels, are set to be installed to four council-owned buildings across the county borough, which in addition to helping reduce the council's carbon footprint, is also likely to generate revenue and savings of almost £1 million over a twenty-five year period.

The panels also known as photovoltaic arrays are set to be installed to Caerphilly County Borough Council's headquarters Penallta House, as well as Tredomen Business Centre or Gateway Building, Trinity Fields School in Ystrad Mynach and Ysgol Ifor Bach in Senghenydd.

Cllr Colin Mann, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member responsible for Sustainability said: "We really are leading the way across Wales in ensuring sustainable, energy efficient buildings across Caerphilly county borough as has been illustrated by Greenhill Primary School being the only A+ energy rated school in the country."

Solar panels will save council cash

A SERIES of solar panels are planned for four council-owned buildings across the county borough which the council hopes will save around £1 million over a 25 year period.

A series of photovoltaic arrays, more commonly known as solar panels, are set to be installed to four council-owned buildings across the county borough, which in addition to helping reduce the council's carbon footprint, is also likely to generate revenue and savings of almost £1 million over a twenty-five year period.

The panels also known as photovoltaic arrays are set to be installed to Caerphilly County Borough Council's headquarters Penallta House, as well as Tredomen Business Centre or Gateway Building, Trinity Fields School in Ystrad Mynach and Ysgol Ifor Bach in Senghenydd.

Catalyst to hasten hydrogen gas production for energy storage

Researchers from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory used a common protein to design a material that can make energy-storing hydrogen gas.

Hydrogen gas is used in energy storage devices such as fuel cells. When energy is needed a chemical reaction is triggered that releases electrons.

Electrons are responsible for the production of electricity. Electrons bind atoms together with chemical bonds to create a molecule. To store electrical energy a material chemically bonds a lot of electrons. When the energy is needed a chemical reaction triggered by a catalyst separates and frees these electrons which then create an electric current.

The synthetic nickel complex developed by P.N.N.L. creates hydrogen gas for energy storage at a rate that is 10 times faster than the original protein found in water-dwelling microbes used for hydrogen gas production. The new protein can make 100,000 molecules per second.

Punishing industry with high energy prices will not save the world

To cut carbon emissions, we need energy-intensive industries. From the steel in wind turbines to the chemicals used in energy-saving lighting, they provide the building blocks for an energy-efficient and low-carbon economy.

Yet the current approach to climate change policy is increasingly putting their future at risk. Policies that push UK electricity prices above those of our competitors will undermine their ability to attract mobile investment and compete in international markets.

Industrial electricity prices in the UK are already far from the most competitive.

Over the past five years, they have been consistently higher than both the EU and G7 average.

Official statistics show that UK prices have typically been 20-25 per cent higher than the EU-15 average for the largest consumers. This competiveness gap extends to our major competitors – UK prices were 10-25 per cent higher than those in Germany and 60-75 per cent higher than those in France.

The situation is set to deteriorate further. Green policies already account for approximately 20 per cent of industrial electricity prices and a series of significant new measures are scheduled to be implemented over the next few years.

EEF estimates that one of these measures alone, the Carbon Price Floor could increase the price manufacturers pay for their electricity by another 10 per cent by 2020.

British Gas to scrap door-to-door selling

BRITISH Gas is ditching its door-to-door sales teams after years of complaints from customers.

The energy giant will suspend the practice for three months, but almost certainly scrap it altogether. It follows a backlash from households over the practice.
A British Gas insider said: “The truth is people don’t want to be interrupted when they’re watching Coronation Street by someone trying to sell them energy.”

UK SME’s are missing out on energy cost savings, warns npower

Utility npower is warning that over half of the UK’s small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) are missing out on energy cost savings.

According to the company’s latest Business Energy Index (nBEI), 53% of the country’s 4.8 million SMEs have no energy efficiency management measures in place and 18% don’t know whether they have reduced energy consumption over the last year or not.

But the report also shows that where companies are monitoring energy consumption and efficiency, half made savings of up to 10%.

SMEs have even greater potential for making energy savings than larger companies, according to the Carbon Trust, which says savings could reach up to 20% for SMEs compared with up to 8% for large businesses.

“The greatest driver for increasing energy efficiency [for SMEs] is cost, rather than the environment,” says npower’s Patrick Harvey. “This is why it is surprising that so many are still not measuring the positive impact that implementing energy efficiency measures can have on their business.”

Thursday, 11 August 2011

SSE joins with RFU to power club rugby in English communities

Leading energy company, SSE, has today been named as a National Community Partner of the Rugby Football Union (RFU). The three-year partnership will see SSE invest significantly to support community rugby in England and take on the title sponsorship of the National and Divisional Leagues.

To help shape their commitment to English rugby, SSE are asking all members of local rugby clubs throughout England to have their say on the resources and facilities that will benefit them most. After the rugby community has had their say through the ‘What Clubs Need’ online survey, SSE will use these results to roll out a season-long programme of rewards, resources and opportunities for rugby clubs.  The survey is live today on

At the launch event this week, SSE National League 3 side Bracknell RFC was announced as the first club to benefit from additional resource to give their season a boost. England International and SSE ambassador Tom Croft visited the club, providing their National League First XV with a training session and delivering the good news that SSE would be giving them exactly what they need in the form of a contribution to their much-needed floodlights.

SMEs missing best energy deals

Many small businesses are paying over the odds for energy due to complex tariffs and a lack of competition in the energy sector.

This is according to uSwitchforbusiness, who found the majority of small businesses responding to its survey think switching energy supplier is more complicated than switching bank account, broadband or phone provider.

Of the 1000+ businesses surveyed, 90 percent did not switch provider in 2010 with a further third saying they had never switched.

And 24 percent said the energy market was not competitive enough, with one in five saying they had concerns that a handful of corporate giants dominate the business market.

Two-fifths say that the business energy market is more confusing than the household market, and fewer than 15 percent believe Ofgem – the energy regulator – has done enough to ensure the energy market is competitive and efficient enough for SMEs.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Business gas prices fall while bills continue to rise

Wholesale gas prices has hit it lowest levels since November last year. The same happened to electricity prices on the open market which also hit the lowest points over the past week. But not surprisingly energy bills continue to rise and E.ON was the next to follow suit and raised its bills by 18pc blaming high commodity costs.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

U.K. Winter Natural Gas Declines to Six-Week Low as Oil Tumbles

U.K. winter natural gas for delivery fell to six-week lows as Brent crude slumped to its lowest since February amid growing fears about a global economic recovery.
Brent dipped below $100 overnight for the first time since Feb. 8. Gas prices have fallen 10 percent since April 4 when contracts rallied to the highest this year in the wake of the earthquake in Japan and the closure of nuclear power stations in Germany.

Gas for delivery in the six months from October dropped as much as 1.1 percent, or 0.75 pence, to 67.5 pence a therm. The contract was at 67.65 pence at 10:40 a.m., according to broker prices compiled by Bloomberg. That’s equal to $11.10 a million British thermal units. A therm is 100,000 Btu.

Summer 2012 gas fell 1.3 percent to 62.20 pence, the lowest since March 14.

Brent fell as much as $5, or 4.8 percent, to $98.74 today on the ICE Futures Europe exchange. It was at $101.63 at 10:40 a.m. U.K. time. Most of mainland Europe buys its gas on multiyear contracts linked to the cost of crude-oil products. The price on the Continent affects the British price due to pipeline connections.

Monday, 8 August 2011

'Early action' CRC companies 'disadvantaged by AMR'

The Energy Consortium (TEC), which provides procurement services for public sector organisations, said companies were penalised not only because revenue recycling has been scrapped, but also because allowances now have to be purchased for all automated meter readings (AMR). Previously, the CRC allowed up to 10 per cent of emissions to be classified as "residual" emissions, which did not require emissions permits.

TEC's head of carbon advisory service, Brian Hornsby, said "Installing AMRs was marketed as a means to improve ones position in the CRC league table with the prospect of a full or enhanced refund of revenue in the recycling process.

Haven Power Signs New Deal with Bglobal Metering For Services

Bglobal Metering has contracted with Haven Power for Half Hourly (HH) Meter Operator, Data Collection and Data Aggregation Services. This deal follows a previous agreement between the two companies, still in effect, for a Non-Half Hourly agreement in which Bglobal installs and operates smart meters. The additional services Bglobal now provides to Haven under terms of the new deal, enables them to appoint Bglobal as one of its service providers for sites trading in the Half Hourly market.

E.ON is insisting we pay for electricity stolen from us

E.ON is attempting to make us pay for electricity that has been stolen. We rent a flat over a coffee shop run by the landlord, who connected two commercial fridges to our electricity supply without our knowledge. We didn't notice for a year because our bills were all estimates.

When the meter was read it showed our energy use had spiked dramatically and E.ON sent an engineer to investigate. He found out what had happened and said we should switch off the landlord's supply immediately. But the landlord asked us to leave it on for the weekend as it was Friday and the fridges contained cafe stock. We agreed.

He took two weeks to fix this and we continued taking readings. We supplied these to E.ON and it compared them with our usage before the problem started and calculated how much the landlord owed. We have paid our share of the bill and the landlord has paid £350 but still owes £964. He has now left the shop, sold the lease and stopped returning our calls. We told the police. E.ON knows we did not use that electricity but says we are responsible for the £964 as our name is on the bill. We complained but were told we had until the end of July to pay. LW, Bedford

UK’s electricity reforms to bring investment, structuring opportunities in renewables

The UK’s proposed electricity market reforms will tempt a wider range of investors to put money into renewables, and lead to a blossoming of structured products and financial services for developers, according to energy aggregator Smartest Energy.

However, the recently announced white paper on Electricity Market Reform needs many details to be elaborated before the full impact is understood, energy investors and developers warned at a seminar in London today, organised by the Renewable Energy Association (REA).

The white paper introduces the concept of feed-in tariffs (FiTs) with ‘contracts for difference’ (CfDs) to support renewables generation. This will gradually replace the UK’s Renewables Obligation, which puts the onus on suppliers to deliver a certain proportion of renewable energy.

The CfDs will guarantee that generators receive a fixed price (‘strike price’) for their electricity, by receiving a top-up on the wholesale price of electricity. The strike price will depend on the generation technology, and the top-up will added to the day-ahead wholesale electricity price for intermittent sources, such as wind, and on the year-ahead electricity price for dispatchable sources, such as biomass-fired power plants, which can be turned on or off on demand. However, if wholesale prices soar above the strike price, generators will have to give up some of their revenues.

Energy Market Report August 2011

Our monthly analysis of the UK gas and power markets is now available on line for the month of August 2011. The service is intended to keep you up to date with all the major news in Europe’s gas and power markets. It is also designed to keep power executives focused on market activity in an easy to digest format.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Energy giant outsources smart meter services to Logica

Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) has outsourced some of its smart metering processes to Logica. The IT services firm will provide the communications between smart meters and SSE, manage the data collected and create pre-payment systems.

Two-way communication capabilities will enable SSE to engage with its customers about their energy consumption.

The UK Smart Metering Implementation Programme (SMIP) aims to help users manage their energy consumption and reduce carbon emissions. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has put out a notice to IT suppliers informing them to be ready to bid for work in its plan to introduce smart meters to UK homes, businesses and public sector organisations. Smart meters are expected to start rolling out to the mass market in 2014.

Ample supply pushes down on UK nat gas prices

US Natural Gas futures registered essentially all of the day's downward price movement right at the open, then hardly varied during the remainder of the trading session. In the process, the September contract set a new low for the year, settling at $4.09 per MMBtu, down by seven cents. Prices for 2012 slipped by 2 cents, to $4.59.

Our view is that $4 in the cash market represents a soft floor for prices, since at that price level, Coal displacement can be sizeable. Henry Hub cash traded at an average price of $4.26, down by 4 cents. New York (Transco-Z6) slipped by 8 cents lower, to $4.62, while SoCalBorder fell by 4 cents, to $4.33.

But with hot weather a seemingly permanent fixture in the east, there will be little spare gas-fired capacity with which to displace Coal units. Further, the market has a mixed view on coal displacement, meaning that prices can trade below the $4 floor for short periods. Ample supply pushed down further on UK gas prices yesterday, with the prompt losing a further 0.5p to close at 50.85 £/therm.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Good Energy Hikes Gas But Freezes Electricity Prices

Utility firm Good Energy has become the latest energy provider to hike its gas prices, but in a surprising move the company announced yesterday that it would be freezing electricity prices for its customers until 2012.

The eco-friendly company will however be raising its gas prices by 9.4% from 6 September, despite previously stating earlier in the year that it was hoping to fix its gas costs until the end of 2011.

UK electricity market reform ‘could deter investment’

A recent proposal to implement a capacity mechanism in the UK has sparked concern that government intervention could stifle infrastructure development.

A number of energy market players, including investment bank Evolution Securities, warn the UK's electricity market reform (EMR) could raise the risk of energy shortages.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Miliband's new energy policy could be a vote winner

A Hackgate-galvanised Ed Miliband has picked a new Goliath to aim his slingshot at. In a little-noticed newspaper interview, the Labour leader pledged to demolish the Big Six energy suppliers' control of the domestic electricity and gas market: "Six energy companies control 99.9 per cent of the consumer market. This cannot be right and we must take action to open up the market over the coming months," he said. Household bills will fall as result, he claimed.

The phone-hacking scandal has provided Team Miliband with some traction. His story of the powerful-versus-the-powerless is gaining momentum. Attacking what he sees as the unfettered interests of the over-powerful started with banks, and flourished with newspaper proprietors. The energy companies are now firmly in his sights.

It was a carefully-chosen political target. A recent poll by Populus found that 63 per cent of 2,000 respondents were "very concerned" about rising gas and electricity prices. The issue is nearly twice as important to the British public as the state of the NHS, unemployment rates and public sector cuts, which have all received far greater media attention. Miliband, reacting quickly to recent energy price rises, has grabbed a topic that wouldn't normally attract attention until the autumn, when the weather turns colder.

In his zeal to keep bills down, Labour's leader must not ignore the cost of green policies in higher energy prices. Currently climate policies add around 14 per cent on to household electricity prices (and 4 per cent on gas prices), according to government figures. By 2020, policies will increase electricity prices by more than 30 per cent. For businesses, the percentage rise is around 40 per cent.

Business Energy Savings

Refrigeration accounts for a significant percentage on energy bills of businesses that rely on it. Costs with refrigeration could be as high as 70% of the total business energy expenditures. In order to help businesses reduce their energy bills the Carbon Trust released a guide to help businesses cut their refrigeration expenses by up to 20%.

UK GAS: Bearishness continues due to strong supply, economic uncertainty

Prompt and curve prices continued to slide down on the UK gas market midday Tuesday as demand remains well below seasonal norms and crude oil contracts carry on with bearish sentiment due to macroeconomic growth concerns.

"It is a similar picture to Monday on the UK NBP with nothing changing on a fundamental basis," a trader said.

Both within-day and day-ahead gas contracts fell by about half a penny on market close Monday to 51.15 pence a therm and 51.30 p/th, respectively.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Green survey on gadgets in the home

IT’S hard to drag the kids away from the computer these days – unless dad’s got there first.

Fathers are the most gadget-crazy members of the family, says a study by Imperial College, London. But probably not when it comes to working the washing machine.

The survey, sponsored by energy supplier EDF, shows just how important household appliances and gadgets are in modern homes – one in 50 of which boast three fridges.

Ofgem Sets Out Proposals For UK Energy Transmission Price Controls

Britain's energy regulator Ofgem Tuesday published initial proposals for revenues it will allow the four energy transmission companies to recover from consumers from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013 under the one-year extension to the existing price control.

The proposals come as Ofgem prepares to implement the new RIIO price regime designed to deliver GBP30 billion investment in low-carbon energy infrastructure at lowest cost to consumers as Britain moves to meet climate targets and energy security goals.

Ofgem is extending the current transmission price control by one year so that it finishes at the same time as the 2008 to 2013 gas distribution price control.
The regulator decided to align the end dates of the two price controls so that it can implement the new RIIO model for regulating networks into the next transmission and gas distribution price controls at the same time.

The new RIIO price control will run for eight years from 2013 to 2021.

Germany Shows How Renewable Energy Should Be Done

Germany is doubling its efforts to be a renewable-energy power over the next 50 years, and it's expanding beyond just solar power. After the country put the kibosh on exploding solar installations by cutting feed-in tariffs (FIT), it has increased the FIT for biomass, geothermal, and offshore wind while simplifying solar rates. The wet blanket currently covering the German nuclear industry meant the country needed to find a way to push renewable-energy installations to meet national renewable-energy goals before plants began closing.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Shale gas fracking: UK government policy call

Shadow UK Energy Minister Huw Irranca-Davies has called for the UK government to devise a policy on shale gas.

Potential multi-million pound reserves lie under in south Wales but its claimed an extraction method called fracking causes pollution and could lead to earthquakes.
The Ogmore MP says the gas could help supply energy needs but must be handled safely.

The government says attempts to drill for it must be environmentally viable.

Mr Irranca-Davies Davies told BBC Wales Country Focus programme that he will continue to put pressure on UK Energy Minister, Charles Hendry over the issue.

It comes after research by exploration companies found a potential £70bn of reserves in rocks deep under south Wales and numerous planning applications have been submitted for test drilling to be carried out.

Ikea buys Scottish wind farm

Ikea Group, the world’s biggest home-furnishings retailer, bought a wind farm in Scotland and plans to install 39,000 solar panels on its UK stores as part of a goal to get all of its energy from renewable sources.

Ikea bought a 12.3-mw wind farm in Huntly, northeast Scotland, from Good Energies Capital, chief sustainability officer Steve Howard said. That’s enough to cover 30% of Ikea’s UK electricity use. The solar panels, totaling 2.1 mw, will be fitted on 10 stores, providing an average of 5% of each shop’s power, he said.

The Huntly purchase adds to wind farms the company already owns in Denmark, France and Germany. By building up a renewables portfolio, Ikea is seeking to reduce its exposure to fluctuating energy prices, which cost the company 1.2 billion euros ($1.7 billion) to 1.5 billion euros a year, Howard said.

U.K. Factory Power Costs May Rise Up to 58% by 2030, DECC Says

Britain’s policies to curb emissions and spur investment into nuclear and wind to secure power supplies may raise electricity prices for factories by as much as 58 percent by 2030, according to a government study.

The U.K.’s Department of Energy and Climate Change published today an initial estimate of the costs of its policies on so-called energy-intensive users such as steel factories, cement works and paper mills. The biggest rise would come a scenario whereby natural-gas prices fall, the analysis on the government website shows. Price rises would be curbed to as little as 7 percent should gas prices remain unchanged, according to the analysis.

Natural gas is used to produce about half Britain’s electricity, so its cost is used as a proxy for power prices. The government is overhauling the electricity market and studying measures such as long-term contracts to give price certainty and help attract funds for offshore wind turbines, nuclear reactors and carbon capture and storage projects. A tax on emissions from fossil fuels, under the so-called carbon floor, is planned from 2013 as well as programs to drive energy efficiency such as its Carbon Reduction Commitment.