Monday, 31 October 2011

Solar tariff cuts risk jobs, industry warns

The subsidy for solar power is to be cut in half for new installations from 12 December of this year, the government has said.

Solar panel makers and installers say the cut will cost thousands of jobs.

It also means consumers who register for the scheme after that date - even if they have already paid a deposit - will see their return halved.

The government has launched a fast-track consultation on the change, but says it reflects falling panel prices.

The new tariff of 21 pence, down from the current 43p, will take effect from 1 April and be paid to anyone who installed their solar system after 12 December.

Speaking in an emergency debate at the House of Commons, Climate Change Minister Gregory Barker said the government risked running out of money by next year.

Paying people to use less energy will save money

Everyone wants cheap energy. The UK's North Sea oil and gas reserves, exploited systematically since the 1980s, helped give us a long run of low energy costs – and we built our consumption patterns on this bonanza of cheap supply. But since 2004, energy imports and prices have risen sharply.

Household bills have doubled in tandem with the doubling of the cost of imported gas, which now makes up nearly 40% of our demand. As Sam Laidlaw, the chief executive of British Gas, said: "The price we pay for our gas is determined by a global marketplace, not the marginal cost of North Sea production." Our reliance on a single source of fuel for almost all our heating and half our electricity – good for both climate and cost in the 1990s – is looking less wise now that prices are rising.

Rising prices are supposed to make us use less, which means less cost and less carbon in the atmosphere. But the consumer pain of price rises also creates a political demand for action to cut prices, which has fed demands on George Osborne to cut "green levies" on our bills. Doing so would be counterproductive, because it will raise future bills.

'This could put us out of business': Couple face ruin over £73,000 bill, despite electricity supplier admitting it made an error

A married couple say they are facing financial ruin after they were landed with a £73,000 electricity bill in error - and were ordered to pay it.

Despite their electricity supplier admitting to the mistake, Sean and Catherine Coleman have been told an astronomical underpayment must be met after they were undercharged for five years.

The couple, who run a bar in Leeds, were unknowingly undercharged by a British Gas consumption meter for five years - an error to which the company has admitted.

Npower fined £2m by Ofgem for mishandling complaints

The energy regulator Ofgem has fined Npower £2m for failing to handle complaints properly.

Ofgem said Npower had not recorded complaints properly or given dissatisfied complainers details of the Energy Ombudsman's redress service.

It added that Npower had now remedied all of the breaches of the regulations for which it was fined.

A spokesman for NPower said: "We are very sorry, we let our high standards slip on this occasion."

"A small number of processes were not correctly adhered to. We have zero tolerance for this type of issue and we'll continue to work hard to make sure our customers are put first."

Biomass branded as 'inefficient'

Plans to supplement Britain's electricity needs by burning large quantities of wood are inefficient and put rural jobs at risk, Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing will tell UK ministers.

Mr Ewing is to meet the UK Energy Minister Charles Hendry and host a meeting with bioenergy stakeholders.

He will urge Mr Hendry to follow the Scottish Government's lead and abandon subsidy for large-scale woody biomass in plants which produce electricity only.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

'1,000 New Jobs' Created By Energy Projects

'1,000 New Jobs' Created By Energy Projects

story picture
Tadhg Enright, business correspondent

One thousand construction jobs are to be created by two major infrastructure projects that will be given the green light by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Sky News has learned.

Read on Sky News

Solar panel subsidies to be slashed from next year

Cuts to the feed-in-tarriff scheme, which rewards households for using renewable energy, will see the amount they earn fall from 43.3p per kilowatt hour of solar power to 21p.

Returns will fall from about 7 per cent to 4 per cent, official papers published on the Energy Saving Trust (EST) website suggest, in a move that could make the technology affordable only to the wealthy.

The move would almost double the length of time it would take for solar panels to become cost-effective, meaning it would take homeowners an estimated 18 years to earn their money back rather than 10.

Solar panels have dropped in price from an average of £13,000 to £10,000 over the past two years, meaning the amount consumers could save has steadily risen.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Some background facts on UK domestic energy supply

1)      About 60% of UK householders say that they have never switched suppliers.
2)      The number of switchers is tending to fall. 22% of electricity customers switched in 2006, falling to 17% last year. The gas numbers were similar.
3)      Only 13% say that they have recently checked prices.
4)      Ofgem research suggests that ‘5-10%’ of householders ‘proactively’ search for better prices. Up to 90% of people were shown by their consumer research to be ‘disengaged’ or ‘passive’.
5)      The last check by Ofgem indicated that there were about 320 different tariffs available in the UK domestic market (January 2011). This is up from about 170 four years before.

Friday, 28 October 2011

UK to announce solar tariff changes on Monday

Britain's energy ministry said it will on Monday launch a review of state subsidies for solar power installations, the second change to the scheme since it started in April 2010.

Energy Minister Greg Barker is scheduled to publish details of a consultation into altering the so-called feed-in tariffs (FITs) in Parliament at around 10 a.m. on Monday.

"We'll be publishing a full consultation on changes to the solar PV (photovoltaic) tariff changes in Parliament on Monday," a spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said.

The ministry also said leaked consultation documents on the Internet, which proposed a 50 percent cut, were inaccurate.

The minister is widely expected to suggest slashing state aid for solar plants, after he hinted at a tariff reduction in a speech delivered at a conference on Thursday, saying costs for solar modules had fallen 70 percent in two years.

Work on Ireland/ UK power link begins

Work begins this morning on the laying of underwater cables to link the electricity power grids of Ireland and Britain.

It's been described as the biggest energy infrastructure project here, since the construction of Ardnacrusha power station.

The East / West interconnector involves the laying of 180 kilometres of undersea cables to enable the flow of electricity in both directions between Ireland and Britain.

When the €600 million project is completed next year the Irish electricity grid will be able to call on power from Britain when needed.

Energy customers suffering in postcode lottery

Britons are falling foul of a postcode lottery when it comes to their energy bills, with some people paying £180 more than others as a result, uSwitch has revealed.

According to a survey by the comparison website, energy suppliers are varying their prices according to where customers live by an average of £76.

In one case, E.ON is charging householders in one area up to £180 more than those living elsewhere, even though they are on the same plan, paying by the same method and using the same amount of energy.

The provider's regional pricing policy sees a Save Online 10 customer living in Brighton paying just £984 a year on average, compared with £1,164 a year for someone in London.

People in Cardiff pay the most in the country - an average of £1,108 a year - while households in Liverpool are paying £1,100.

UK manufacturers pay 10pc more for electricity than German rivals

Chemical and steel companies along with other energy intensive industries in Britain are increasing the pressure on the Government for relief, with the release of new figures showing they are paying substantially more than their German counterparts for electricity.

An analysis by the EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, published on Friday, shows prices in Britain for the big energy users are currently 10pc higher. Over the next two years the gap will increase to 15pc with the introduction of the carbon floor price.

The EEF says the Government’s approach to climate change policies is damaging the competitiveness of the energy intensive sector. It wants the Chancellor to use the autumn statement to keep his promise to introduce a package of measures to reduce the burden.

Video: Switching energy supplier: Easier said than done?

Energy prices are soaring and the advice we're getting sounds simple: if you want to save money on your fuel bills, switch supplier. Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has recently been telling us all to switch, while the companies themselves have been telling us to do it for years.

Sounds simple enough, but is it really? The complaints we've received from energy customers at Watchdog suggest otherwise - Riz Lateef reports on five viewers' switching nightmares.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Energy price hikes: 200 older people a day will die thanks to hikes says Age UK

That’s the warning from charity Age UK, which has hit out at the Big Six power firms for ramping up prices again. Research by the charity says there could be 30,000 “excess winter deaths” as the elderly ration their heating. “Why is this not a national scandal?” asked spokesman Mervyn Kohler.

A huge response to our Fair Price for Power campaign shows this is a burning issue across Britain. Many readers, especially OAPs, face a stark choice between heating and eating.

They blame the Big Six for greed and PM David Cameron for cutting the Winter Fuel Payment.

Here are just a few of their chilling stories...

Energy Broker boss faces fraud charge over fees

A head of energy procurement for more than 100 British local councils has been accused of a £2m fraud by allegedly taking "management fees" from Centrica and npower on top of the energy they supplied.

Ross Knowles, who worked for the state-owned energy buyer LASER, pleaded not guilty to two counts of fraud by abuse of position and one count of money laundering at a court in Kent last month.

One of the counts relates to alleged illegal transfers "for the purchase of a Jaguar [car]". The other charges claim Mr Knowles dishonestly abused his position "by negotiating a management fee with Centrica of 0.04p per kWh of energy supplied", plus "a management fee with npower of 0.05p per kWh of energy supplied", which were allegedly diverted into his bank account.

LASER is the body which buys energy for most councils in London and the South East. It signed a three-year contract to buy gas from British Gas, owned by Centrica, and electricity from npower, at the beginning of September 2009.

There is no suggestion that Centrica or Npower would have known about any alleged fraud.

A spokesman for Centrica declined to comment on the case, but said: "Management fees are standard industry practice." Npower declined to comment.

Video - Interview with Smartest Energy at EBEC

UK gas prices fall on healthy supply outlook

British forward gas prices fell on Wednesday, guided by warmer than normal temperatures and falling crude oil prices while prompt markets were well supplied.Fears that a convincing, comprehensive plan to tackle Europe's debt crisis will remain out of reach following a meeting of European Union heads weighed on crude oil markets, pressuring curve gas contracts.The benchmark summer 2012 gas contract fell 1.15 pence at 62 pence-per-therm on Wednesday as crude oil gave up earlier gains, dropping more than $1.5 per barrel.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Global CO2 emissions are on the rise again, energy report warns

Global CO2 emissions are expected to rise again following the first decrease in over a decade, according to the latest statistics released today by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The report states that due to the 2008-2009 economic crisis global CO2 emissions decreased for the first time since 1990, but a large rebound is anticipated in 2010

While carbon dioxide emissions in developing countries continued to grow in 2009 (+3.3%), emissions of developed countries fell sharply (-6.5%), according to a new publication. Most of the reduction, however, comes from a decrease in the energy consumption due to the 2008-2009 economic crisis.

Statistics for 2009 show that emission levels for the group of countries participating in the Kyoto Protocol – a multinational agreement to mitigate climate change – were just shy of 15% below their 1990 level.

Video - Interview with Smartest Energy at EBEC

Leeds bar's £72,000 electricity bill 'a mistake'

A couple who run a bar in Leeds were landed with an electricity bill for more than £72,000 after a meter reading error by their supplier.

Sean and Catherine Coleman, who own Sandbar in Horsforth, were undercharged by a British Gas high consumption meter for the past five years.

British Gas admitted it had made a mistake, but said it still wanted the underpayment to be met.

Mr Coleman said: "It's an amount we can't afford and it's not our error."

He said that while the £72,788.04 outstanding bill from British Gas had been since revised to £58,000, this was still "unachievable".

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Engaging your Employees to Save Energy

On its fifteenth edition EST's (Energy Saving Trust) Energy Saving Week 2011 kicked off on Monday with a focus on households and how consumers can "Take back control of your energy bills".

Despite being aimed at household consumers business owners can show their support by engaging their employees with information to empower them to save energy and reduce their bills.

++ PLUS ++

Can you please help us spread our news, and hit the facebook like button or our new Google + button.

Solar Power UK comes to Birmingham

Birmingham will be hosting a prestigious conference and exhibition on solar power in the city later this month.

Held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) from October 26-28, Solar Power UK brings together all segments of the solar industry, with the conference expected to attracted around 600 delegates from the photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal sectors.

There will be several key-note speakers at the event, including Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker, with other members of DECC also attending the conference. Solar Power UK has been supported by Meet Birmingham, the official business tourism programme for Birmingham, thanks to its online accommodation service, bespoke website and exclusive city discount vouchers.

Birmingham is already a pioneer in the use of solar technology and boasts one of the largest domestic PV programmes in the UK, which is delivered by the Birmingham Energy Savers initiative.

The project is a Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Environmental partnership, working with organisations across the city, which aims to help the people of Birmingham to become more energy efficient and help protect the environment, often through the installation of PV panels. Plans have already commenced by Birmingham City Council to install solar panels on the 10,000 council rooftops.

UK renewable energy subsidies slashed

Public subsidies for a range of renewable energy technologies are to be cut under plans unveiled by the government on Thursday, as ministers respond to complaints of "green taxes" driving up energy bills.

Power stations using biomass from plants or waste byproducts to generate energy are among the worst losers, with developers disappointed that their subsidy levels have been left at a level they say will not encourage new projects.

Companies generating energy from landfill gas will cease to receive any subsidies at all. Projects to produce energy from waste will have their subsidies slashed, and hydroelectric power will receive only half the subsidy it used to.

Gaynor Hartnell, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association, said: "If the government wants to encourage a greater contribution from the very cheapest technologies, this is the wrong way to go about it. No new projects have been built since 2009, at the existing levels. Reducing them further cannot help."

The savings from the subsidy cuts are likely to be small – they could be as little as £400m at the lower end, and no more than £1.3bn.

New front in battle against energy’s 'big six'

A new front has opened in the battle against the 'big six' energy companies, with environmental charities demanding a full public inquiry into the soaring costs of energy bills.

Dubbed the 'dirty half dozen', the six major energy companies in the UK are accused of abandoning plans for green energies and increasing fossil fuel production, while passing the rising costs of oil and coal straight on to their consumers.

Friends of the Earth are calling for the government to fully investigate the root of the price hike, which has seen thousands of consumers living in fuel poverty across the UK.

"David Cameron must urgently set up a public inquiry into the power of the big six energy companies – ending their stranglehold over the UK’s energy system will be good for consumers and good for the planet," said Andy Atkins, executive director of Friends of the Earth.

The charity is also angry over recent claims that green taxes are to blame for the crippling fuel prices and have argued that it is in fact the escalating price of gas and oil which has sent prices sky high in recent months.

They also slammed the major energy companies for enjoying ever-increasing profits while many consumers struggle to pay bills.

Call to double UK gas storage capacity

The UK must increase current amounts of gas storage to reduce the impact of energy price spikes, as part of efforts to secure supplies and keep the lights on, MPs have urged.

A report by the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee warned that the UK can only store 14 days of gas supply, compared to France’s 87 days and Germany’s 69 days of supplies, and should double storage capacity by 2020.

The committee criticised the Government for making an “opportunistic raid” on UK continental shelf oil and gas producers with a £2 billion levy in the 2011 Budget, warning such actions could damage investor confidence in home-grown fossil fuel production.

However, the report on energy security said decreasing supplies from UK offshore oil and gas fields would not threaten the UK, as long as the Government has a strategy for ensuring diverse sources of power that does not rely too much on fossil fuels from unstable parts of the world or one technology at home.

The report said new electricity generation currently planned or being built would fill the looming “gap” in the power system as ageing plants close up to 2018.

But the MPs called for more efforts to promote greater energy efficiency in order to reduce demand, and warned the Government against relying on power companies to deliver the message on saving energy as consumers did not trust them.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Wholesale electricity trading receives jolt from EU

The EU has adopted new stringent rules on wholesale energy trading.

The main objective is to prevent use of insider information and other forms of market abuse which distort wholesale energy prices.

This is an important step in energy trading as it will be the it will be screened at EU level, a task which will be carried out by the Agency for the Cooperation of

Energy Regulators (ACER), to uncover abuses, while national authorities in member states will enact penalties to help stop and prevent market manipulation.
The main tasks of ACER will be to collect the data needed to assess and monitor wholesale energy markets.

The ACER will establish a European register of market participants based on the information provided by national regulatory authorities. The new rules also prohibit insider trading and market manipulation and establish provisions on an obligation to publish inside information.

French government announces smart meter rollout schedule

This week, with everyone back from summer holidays, Eric Besson (France’s Minister for Industry, Energy and Digital Economy) made it official: Électricité Réseau Distribution France, the distribution company serving all of France, will deploy 35 million smart meters.

Le Telegramme reports that installations will begin in 2013 and be completed by 2018. This project will cost €4.3 billion and provide 10,000 jobs.

A Solar Bridge Will Span the River Thames in England

A Victorian-era bridge in England is getting a new look - with over 4,400 solar PV panels.

The bridge, built in 1886, crosses the River Thames. Construction began this week on a new roof which will house over 6,000 square meters of solar PV panels, generating around 900,000kWh of electricity every year and creating the biggest solar array in London.

The bridge is the foundation for a new railroad station, for which the solar panels will supply half the energy. The station will also feature rain harvesting systems and sun pipes for natural lighting.

London-based solar firm Solarcentury is building the project using SANYO Electric solar modules.

Video: Elephant-poo power electrifies zoo

At Munich Zoo you can watch the courtship rituals of the banded mongoose, hear the morning song of the scarlet ibis or visit the Indian elephants, who help help keep the lights on with electricity generated from their dung.

They can do this because Munich Zoo has harnessed "poo power," energy stored in animal waste, which can be converted into a fuel known as "biogas."

It works like this: The zoo has built three large containers, each capable of holding about 100 cubic meters of animal waste -- that's around a week's worth of dung collected from all the vegetarian animals in the zoo.

Once inside the containers, it's mixed with warm water and the bacteria in the dung is left to decompose in an oxygen-free environment for 30 days.

What are effects of energy used from social networking sites and web surfing?

The environmental impact of so much online time really boils down to energy usage, which in turn affects the amount of greenhouse gases we pump into our atmosphere. For one, each of us can help by limiting computer time (whether surfing the ‘net or not) and shutting them down or putting them into sleep mode when we aren’t using them (this can be automated via the computer’s power management control panel).

Also, when shopping for a new computer, consumers and businesses alike can opt for models certified by the federal government as energy efficient with the Energy Star label. If all computers sold in the U.S. met Energy Star requirements, Americans could pocket $1.8 billion annually in saved energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to taking some two million cars off the road.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

British Gas and SSE end doorstep sales permanently

British Gas and Scottish and Southern Energy have permanently ended the use of unsolicited doorstep sales of gas and electricity contracts.

They are the first of the major suppliers to stop the tactic entirely.

Pre-arranged appointments will replace unsolicited calls at the door.

A temporary halt to doorstep sales had been in place during staff consultations and remains for EDF Energy. Npower is reviewing its sales strategy.

"Since we announced a halt to unsolicited doorstep selling, feedback from our customers and staff has been very encouraging," said Ian Peters, energy managing director at British Gas.
"Many of our customers choose to do business over the telephone or online, but there is also still a very real demand for face-to-face energy advice among customers - as long as it is delivered at a time and place that is convenient for them."

Friday, 14 October 2011

inShare New energy reduction technology showed cased at Energy Solutions

An energy reduction company is promising to make strides into the UK market after attending its first energy show.

bluecarbon's Ultra eco has been on the market in the UK for a year, but the business has only started marketing recently.

Marketing director, Andy de Sallis, told edie the company was in talks with a supermarket too, but didn't want to discuss it further as it was in the 'early stages'.

Mr de Sallis explained the company is already making waves pointing to a casestudy with landscaping product giant Marshalls.

Simply by installing the Ultra eco in the company's manufacturing plant on an old cement mixer, used to make paving stones composites, the company has cut its energy use by 40.9% - based on kWh consumption.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

SSE set to offer wholesale deals to consumers - report

Scottish and Southern Energy will break ranks with rival utilities companies by offering its electricity for sale to any UK household supplier this week, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

SSE is set to sell electricity they generate directly to consumers and will auction 100 percent of its power on the UK's day-ahead wholesale market as soon as practically possible.

The newspaper cited Ian Marchant, chief executive of SSE, as saying he expected "one or two" of his competitors among the big six utilities companies to follow suit by Christmas.

Marchant had hoped to begin auctioning all of his electricity as early as Wednesday, but the risk of "swamping the exchange" meant that it would phase in auctioning, starting on Friday, according to the FT article.

Renewable Energy On The Rise

Electricity generated from Renewables reaches 10% but still with no major impact on energy prices.  Renewable energy generation, registered an increase in supply of 50% in comparison to the same period last year and now accounts for almost 10% of all the electricity generated in the UK. However this has had hardly any noticeable impact on energy prices.

UK faces colder-than-normal winter - National Grid

Britain faces another colder-than-normal winter at a time when energy exports may surge as Europe struggles to cope without 8.3 Gigawatts of German nuclear capacity following the Fukushima disaster in Japan in March.

The prospect of greater exports squeezing UK gas and electricity supplies may force operators to backtrack and restart 2 Gigawatts (GW) of mothballed power generation capacity.
"We would expect the market to respond by exporting energy out of the UK which will lift power prices and encourage mothballed plants to restart," according to a spokesman from National Grid.

In its Winter Outlook 2011/2012 forecast published on Tuesday, National Grid said colder temperatures and Germany's decision to phase out swathes of nuclear capacity will increase exports from Britain to Europe.

"Germany's recent decision to close 8.3 GW of nuclear plant immediately and put in place a phased closure of all nuclear plant by 2022 is expected to have impacts during this winter," the network operator said.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Nuclear inspector gives green light to atomic energy

UK nuclear plants are safe and government strategy for new plants is adequate, the Chief Nuclear Inspector said on Tuesday, just two weeks after one developer pulled the plug on its nuclear new build plans.

"I remain confident that our UK nuclear facilities have no fundamental safety weaknesses (but) no matter how high our standards, the quest for improvement must never stop," said Mike Weightman, the head of the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), who also led a U.N. team of nuclear experts on a fact-finding mission to Japan's Fukushima in May.

The report also said there was no need to change the government's strategy for choosing new sites for nuclear power plants.

U.K.’s CO2 Floor Uses ‘Trick’ to Circumvent EU Law, RWE Says

The U.K. is using a regulatory “trick” to introduce its carbon tax on fossil-fueled power generation, which would not have been allowed under European Union emissions trading law, said the U.K. unit of RWE AG.

Britain is using an exemption under the EU Energy Products Directive to proceed with its tax, which it named a carbon floor, John McElroy, director of policy at RWE Npower, said in an interview at the Platts emissions conference in Brussels.

“That’s the trick that they have used,” he said Oct. 6. “It’s not permitted under the EU emissions trading system.”

Chancellor George Osborne in March fixed a carbon tax of 4.94 pounds ($7.71) a metric ton from 2013 to raise revenue and prompt investment into power generation such as wind farms and nuclear. Wind turbines are subsidized and the coalition government has said no subsidy will be given to new nuclear power stations. The government indicated the tax, part of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition agreement when they took office in May 2010, may rise to 9.86 pounds in 2015.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Energy Market Report Oct11:

Our monthly analysis of the UK gas and power markets is now available on line for the month of October 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, 7 October 2011

Wickes to Help Homeowners Reduce their Energy Bills and Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

One of the UK’s biggest DIY chain stores has just launched a new initiative to help homeowners save money on some of their biggest household expenses, namely heat and energy costs such as electricity, gas and oil. At the same time, by making some of the changes outlined on the website, people can also make their homes more eco-friendly.

Harrow, Middlesex (PRWEB UK) 7 October 2011

Wickes, a popular retail outlet for DIY enthusiasts, has just published a new section on their website demonstrating how homeowners can significantly cut their energy bills while also helping to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions throughout the UK. A new website page with an easy-to-understand infographic has been developed containing a host of tips consumers can use to cut down their energy usage and, as a result, cut their electricity and heating bills.;_ylc=X3oDMTEwN2twZjFyBF9TAzIwMjM4Mjc1MjQEZW1haWxJZAMxMzE3OTc5NjMw

Report shows our spiralling electricity useage

UK households own three-and-a-half times as many home appliances and gadgets as 20 years ago, according to a new report from the Energy Saving Trust and our love of electrical gadgets could see the UK miss its carbon emission reduction targets for domestic appliance electricity use by as much as seven million tonnes. The Trust runs a UK-wide labelling programme which tests appliances on strict criteria and rewards the most energy efficient models.
EST's report reveals that the UK will miss its 2020 target of a 34 per cent reduction in domestic appliance electricity carbon emissions from 1990 levels by up to seven million tonnes unless we ramp up our efforts now. If every household in the UK replaced just their old fridge freezer, washing machine and dishwasher with the most efficient Energy Saving Trust Recommended models, they could collectively save £585M on their fuel bills, and prevent two million tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere – enough to fill Wembley Stadium 257 times!

Carbon-neutral data center powered by renewable energy, cooled by Iceland's chilly climate

Building a data center that minimizes use of fossil fuels is one of the gargantuan tasks facing the IT industry, yet at least one company has a simple solution: move to Iceland. With cooling freely provided by nature and access to both geothermal and hydroelectric energy, the UK-based co-location vendor Verne Global says it is on the verge of opening a “100% carbon neutral” data center before the end of this year.
“It’s all about the power,” Verne Global CTO Tate Cantrell says. “Iceland has great natural resources.”

Based in a former NATO facility in Keflavik, the data center is capable of supporting as much as 200,000 to 250,000 square feet of compute and technical space with more than 100 megawatts of power and 8-terabit-per-second connectivity to the United States and Europe, Cantrell says.

It certainly won’t be the world’s biggest data center, but Verne Global claims to be unique in getting all of its power from two sources of renewable energy. The energy in Iceland will cost less than half as much as power in the UK, Cantrell said. While access to separate geothermal and hydroelectric power sources will guard against power outages, Verne Global does have diesel engines installed just in case both sources of renewable energy fail. Verne Global further saves on power costs by taking advantage of Iceland’s natural climate to gain free cooling.

The Verne Global facility is 20 milliseconds from London and Paris and 41 milliseconds from New York, the company says. Of course, cheap data centers are all well and good, and Iceland is roughly centrally located between North America and mainland Europe, but some applications require low levels of latency that can only be achieved by close proximity to data centers.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Bank of England injects further £75bn into economy

The Bank of England has said it will inject a further £75bn into the economy through quantitative easing (QE).

The Bank has already pumped £200bn into the economy by buying assets such as government bonds, in an attempt to boost lending by commercial banks.

But this is the first time it has added to its QE programme since 2009. There have been recent calls for it to step in again to aid the fragile recovery.

UK Industry Teams Up For Energy Efficiency Funding

A consortium including banks Goldman Sachs and HSBC and UK energy companies plans to open a not-for-profit organization to help finance the government's program for home energy efficiency, the firms said in a joint statement.

The Green Deal Finance Company (GDFC) will lend money to suppliers and installers involved in the state program -- the Green Deal -- which provides consumers with a mechanism to pay for home energy efficiency by offsetting payments for installations through monthly savings on energy bills.

"By minimizing the cost of finance to future accredited Green Deal providers, it will create a highly competitive market that will compete on cost, reliability, lifespan and technology," said Paul Davies, lead partner on the GDFC at consultancy PwC.

"It will maximize the measures that can be included within the Green Deal and for many potential providers will solve the question of where their finance will come from."

Companies taking part in the consortium also include UK energy suppliers British Gas, E.ON, EDF Energy, RWE npower and SSE.

The group expects suppliers, installers and local authorities to join the organization over the coming months.

The first installations under the Green Deal are expected in the autumn of 2012.

SenseLogix Announce Catalyst Commercial as Framework Partner

SenseLogix appoint Catalyst Commercial Services, who are based in Birmingham, to its UK framework. The award-winning green technology company, who recently announced other appointments to the company’s framework, last year closed a £1M investment round and won the prestigious Best Innovation in Green Products and Services, at the Innovation and Sustainability Awards.

SenseLogix Chief Executive Officer, Jonathan Luke, says:”We are delighted to announce Catalyst’s appointment to our commercial framework. They are one of the UK’s leading energy procurement organisations and they have a great knowledge of the energy market and the commercial sector in particular, which is one of our key markets.”

Catalyst Commercial Sales Director, Chris Hurcombe, says: “EnergyLogix technology is an innovative and viable way for our customers to save energy and money. Whether through its leading real-time metering solution or control solutions for IT in offices and education, SenseLogix provide us with a compelling technical proposition that complements our energy service business model.”

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

European Commission warns UK and 18 others on energy measures

The UK is one of 18 countries to receive a warning from the European Commission for failing to tell it that they have fully implemented EU rules to liberalise gas and electricity networks more than six months after the deadline, the Commission has announced.04 Oct 2011

In a speech in Brussels Energy Commission Günther Oettinger said that the Commission had decided to "launch infringement proceedings" against 17 national governments in the field of electricity and 18 national governments in the field of gas.

"I would like to call upon those Member States to take their responsibility and make all efforts to fully implement the [new rules]," he said.

The EU's third energy liberalisation package is part of a decade-long project intended to create a single European internal energy market. Member states had until 3 March to adopt two Directives, for gas and electricity, into their national laws.

Middle East sovereign wealth funds 'queue up' to invest in UK nuclear power stations

Sovereign wealth funds from the Middle East and other oil-rich areas are "queuing up" to invest in UK nuclear power, according to Charles Hendry, the energy minister.

Experts have been worried that the UK will find it difficult to attract enough companies willing to fund an estimated £40bn for new nuclear plants.
However, Mr Hendry is no longer concerned about this, since key government ministers have been courting cash-rich foreign funds.

"It's going to be easier to find the funding than it is to find the capacity to build it," Mr Hendry said. "Some of the sovereign wealth funds are keen to invest as a way to diversify. They are showing a very keen interest in British nuclear and queuing up to know more about the opportunities. In the course of our travels we highlighted the opportunities to them."

UK Spot Gas Prices Slip

Contradicting our predictions that UK gas prices would increase towards the end of the year they fell sharply on Monday, backed by a boost in supply from Norway and a reduction in exports to mainland Europe. However, strong dependence on LNG could still see prices rise as we head towards winter.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Cunning way of generating power and capturing carbon

CO2 is now a major headache and headlines are full of stories about how to capture and store the gas. Carbon capture is considered by UK policymakers to be the way ahead.

But a group of scientists in California have different ideas and their work is being funded by the US Department of Energy.

About a year from now, two shipping containers will be installed in a field in Cranfield, Mississippi.

They will house turbines designed to generate electricity in a way that's never been done before. If initial tests go well, the technology could lead to a new source of clean, domestic energy and a new way to fight climate change.

A team led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) scientists hopes to become the first in the world to produce electricity from the Earth's heat using CO2. They also want to permanently store some of the gas underground.

The group received $5million from the US Department of Energy earlier this summer to design and test the technology.

This is the first project intended to convert geothermally-heated CO2 into useful electricity, according to Barry Freifeld, a mechanical engineer in Berkeley Lab's Earth Sciences Division who leads the initiative.

UK industry teams up for energy efficiency funding

A consortium including banks Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS - news) and HSBC (LSE: HSBA.L - news) and UK energy companies plans to open a not-for-profit organisation to help finance the government's programme for home energy efficiency, the firms said in a joint statement.

The Green Deal Finance Company (GDFC) will lend money to suppliers and installers involved in the state programme -- the Green Deal -- which provides consumers with a mechanism to pay for home energy efficiency by offsetting payments for installations through monthly savings on energy bills.

"By minimising the cost of finance to future accredited Green Deal providers, it will create a highly competitive market that will compete on cost, reliability, lifespan and technology," said Paul Davies, lead partner on the GDFC at consultancy PwC.

Monday, 3 October 2011

UK Solar PV Installers Hit Back at Energy Price Rises With Three Great Reasons to Go Solar

During September 2011, the media has been providing yet more bleak forecasts for UK households, with a rise of between 10 and 20 per cent in energy prices expected for the coming winter. With global wholesale gas and electricity generation prices also remaining steadily high, solar photovoltaic panel (solar PV) installers Spirit Solar have renewed their efforts to offer UK consumers a viable and cost-efficient energy generation alternatives.
Three Reasons to Invest in Solar PV Panels

The firm, a leading supplier and installer of solar photovoltaic panels for the UK and Spanish commercial and domestic markets, has provided UK consumers with Three Reasons to Go Solar PV.

It is hoped that this move will help energy consumers to understand why solar panels are such a beneficial long-term investment in this current economic climate, and will encourage them to consider investing in such a cost-effective system that negates a high level of dependency on 'traditional' and unsustainable fuel generation.


As Spirit Solar is a Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MSC) accredited company, any customer that has their Solar PV systems installed by Spirit Solar will automatically qualify for the government's feed-in tariff. The feed-in tariff is essentially a payback scheme, and based on current energy prices, any Solar PV system installed by Spirit Solar will pay for itself within 10 years. However, if according to current trends energy prices continue to rise, a Solar PV system that qualifies for a feed-in tariff will pay for itself sooner.

Plans for first Scotland to Europe energy link move closer

Plans for a Britain to Scandinavia power cable which could allow the two countries to swap renewables energy have been submitted for approval.

The cable, which is designed to let electricity flow in both directions, is planned to run from Peterhead in north east Scotland for about 570kms to Norway's coast at a point to be decided after talks with the country's regulating bodies.

National Grid today (September 30) received plans, for what it is claimed could be the first power link between Scotland and Europe, from NorthConnect an interconnector development company jointly owned by E-CO Energi, Agder Energi (AE), Lyse, Vattenfall and SSE Interconnector Limited.

The last of which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Scottish and Southern Energy which will from next week be officially known simply as SSE.

In the initial application the group wants permission from the National Grid to connect directly to Scotland's electricity network from the site in Peterhead.