Friday, 28 September 2012

Twenty gas-fired power stations planned for the UK


Twenty new gas-fired power stations are likely to be built in the UK, amounting to a massive increase in consumption of the fossil fuel, the climate and energy secretary, Ed Davey, has told the Guardian.

But Davey insisted the expansion – the biggest construction effort in the power sector for decades – would not harm the prospects for investment in renewable energy or in the government's carbon reduction targets.

He said: "I strongly support more gas, just as I strongly support more renewable energy. We need a big expansion of renewable energy and of gas if we are to tackle our climate change challenges."

Davey is expected to announce a new gas strategy this autumn, which will require the investment of hundreds of billions of pounds in new electricity generation capacity and dictate the shape and construction of the UK's energy infrastructure for decades to come. But environmental groups and renewable energy investors are concerned that a new "dash for gas" would put carbon targets beyond reach and deter investment in renewables.

Britain's first carbon negative street - where toilets are flushed with rainwater and there is even a hotel for bugs


Britain’s first ever ‘carbon negative’ street was unveiled today.

Residents in the 21 timber houses which make up Sinclair Meadows in South Shields can sleep cosily in the knowledge that they live in the most eco-friendly social housing development in the UK.

The grand design has been created by not-for-profit housing provider Four Housing Group and 52 residents, ranging in age from two-weeks-old to pensioners in their 70s, are due to move in this week.

Read more:

UK shale gas is more lead balloon than silver bullet


Fracking's backers say it will deliver a quick, cheap way of cutting carbon emissions. The latest analysis shows none of these claims stands up

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Car smashes electric speed record


A supercar powered by energy from wind turbines has smashed the UK land speed record for an electric car.

The Nemesis, driven by Nick Ponting, hit 151mph during a run at Elvington airfield near York.

This breaks the record of 137mph set by Don Wales, the grandson of speed ace Sir Malcolm Campbell, 10 years ago.

Nemesis broke the record with a 148mph first run, then Ponting, 21, bettered this with a 151mph later. Thursday's achievement was ratified by the Motor Sports Association at the track.

Read more:

UK renewable energy output jumps by 42%


The Government has today released its latest quarterly energy statistics, confirming that the UK's renewable energy sector is continuing to expand rapidly, while also fuelling concerns that high gas prices are forcing energy companies to switch to more polluting coal power.

The statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show renewable electricity output during the second quarter of 2012 rose 6.5 per cent year-on-year to 8.13TWh, while capacity soared 42.4 per cent to 14.2GW, largely as the result of the opening of a raft of new large-scale on- and offshore wind farms and the conversion of the Tilbury B power station to dedicated biomass.

The increases meant that renewables' share of the UK's electricity mix edged up from nine per cent in the second quarter of 2011 to 9.6 per cent a year later.

How small businesses can cut their energy bills

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Richard Zilmer Pushes Renewable Energy

Biggest English Polluter Spends $1 Billion to Burn Wood

Top Gear test track goes #solar


BBC’s Top Gear is well known as a bastion for high-powered, gas-guzzling cars. Host Jeremy Clarkson has, in the past, been somewhat critical concerning the entry of alternative energy into the auto industry. Clarkson, along with his compatriots James May and Richard Hammond, have been more accommodating of alternative energy beyond the auto industry, however. While Clarkson may not be an advocate for various environmental issues, he will have to get more comfortable with the idea of solar energy because the Top Gear test track is now powered by it.

Proof Smart Meters Are Being Used to Spy On Us


IF you have ever wondered if your smart meter is being used to spy on you, well now there is proof that governments and private organisations are using data collected from smart meters to spy on you.

Information about power usage, which can be used to identify when a home is being occupied, is being shared with third parties of which includes government agencies, private organisations and off-shore data processing centres.

Microsoft wasted 'millions of watts of electricity' to evade power usage penalty (update: Microsoft responds) | The Verge


Microsoft deliberately burned through "millions of watts of electricity" to avoid a penalty for overestimating its power use last year, according to the New York Times. The company planned to continue wasting power at dozens of diesel generators in Quincy, Washington until the $210,000 fine was cut. Microsoft uses the utility as a backup for a large hydroelectric data center dedicated to cloud services and billed as a green, efficient facility. The company has pledged to go carbon neutral from this summer.

Since any excess power set aside could have been sold to other customers, the backup utility has a policy of charging clients extra for both over and underuse. Yahoo was the other company that overestimated its power consumption, but paid a fine of $94,608 without complaint. Microsoft, on the other hand, worked out that going through $70,000 of extra power by running "giant heaters" would put them in the clear and save $140,000 from the $210,000 fine.

"'A one-time event that was quickly resolved.'"

The company's power use rose 5.5 million watts to a total of 34 million from the 16th to the 19th of December last year, a leap that represented more than half of Quincy's total power consumption. Eventually, the utility's board voted to reduce Microsoft's fine to $60,000. Speaking to the Times, a Microsoft spokesperson called the incident "a one-time event that was quickly resolved."

Should China be involved in the UK's nuclear energy infrastructure?

Solar Powered Electric Pumps Launched in US


In a news that could soon have repercussions for the business energy market, Tesla motors have revealed their first solar-powered fuel stations where consumers with electric cars can ‘fill up’ for free. Dubbed the Supercharger Network, the stations were constructed under strict secrecy by electric car manufacturer Tesla.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Osborne 'runs scared from the Clarkson tendency'


George Osborne is putting off "green" development because he is trying to appeal to the "Jeremy Clarkson tendency", the president of the Liberal Democrats said yesterday.

Tim Farron publicly voiced the frustrations expressed privately by senior Liberal Democrat ministers that Mr Osborne is blocking clean energy initiatives that could replace ageing coal-fired power stations.

Speaking at a fringe meeting of the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton, organised by The Independent in association with Royal & Sun Alliance, Mr Farron accused the Chancellor of sending "mixed messages" to businesses looking to invest in the UK and called for more radical policies to promote growth.

"Talk to Ed Davey, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, and he will say companies are backing off from big green projects because they are getting mixed messages," said Mr Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale. "George Osborne is trying to appeal to the Jeremy Clarkson tendency."

How a broker spent $520m in a drunken stupor and moved the global oil price


It's probably not uncommon for City traders to wonder how they burnt so much cash during a drunken night on the town.

But Steve Perkins was left with a bigger black hole in his memory than most when his employer rang one morning to ask what he'd done with $520m of the oil trading firm's money.

It was 7.45am on June 30 last year when the senior, longstanding broker for PVM Oil Futures was contacted by an admin clerk querying why he'd bought 7m barrels of crude in the middle of the night.

The 34-year old broker at first claimed he had spent the night trading alongside a client. But the story began to fall apart when he refused to put the customer in touch with his desk for official approval of the trades.

By 10am it emerged that Mr Perkins had single-handedly moved the global price of oil to an eight-month high during a "drunken blackout". Prices leapt by more than $1.50 a barrel in under half an hour at around 2am – the kind of sharp swing caused by events of geo-political significance. Ten times the usual volume of futures contracts changed hands in just one hour.

InterContinental Hotels chief given #SSE retail role


Power firm SSE has appointed a top hotel executive to take on a new retail role as part of a management shake-up.

Will Morris, who held a senior position in the InterContinental Hotels Group, will be responsible for energy supply and energy-related services.

SSE's director of energy trading, Martin Pibworth, will head the company's energy portfolio management.

Both will report to Alistair Phillips-Davies, who becomes SSE's deputy chief executive.

Mr Morris was InterContinental's managing director for UK and Ireland and was responsible for the management operations of its mainstream brands.

His new title at Perth-based SSE will be managing director of retail.

SSE chief executive Ian Marchant said: "Will brings skills and perspective that will complement those we already have in SSE, giving us real strength in depth across the whole of the senior management team in retail, and I am looking forward to working with him."

Monday, 24 September 2012

Apple's North Carolina Data Center To Be 100 Percent Green Energy


Currently the Cupertino-based company produces 60 percent of the electricity used to power the data center. Apple is in the works of expanding to another 200+ acres in Catawba County on top of the 100 acres already under Apple’s solar initiatives. The company plans to produce 124 million kWh of electricity – through two solar plants and a fuel cell installation – to power 100% of the data center’s needs by the end of the year.

Sharp drop in number of UK homes installing #solar panels

Smart Meter Supplier #Bglobal acquires Welsh software firm

Householders unlikely to recover solar heating installation costs for 30 years


The amount of money householders can expect to be paid for fitting "green heating" was published for the first time on Thursday, revealing most homeowners installing solar hot water systems are unlikely to recoup their initial outlay for more than 30 years.

The renewable heat incentive (RHI) will reward households for each unit of low-carbon heat generated from solar thermal panels and other renewable heating systems such as biomass boilers and ground-source heat pumps.

The scheme was due to launch this October but the government delayed it earlier this year. It will now launch in summer 2013 and the subsidy payments will be made over a period of seven years.

Should China be involved in the UK's nuclear energy infrastructure?


A more responsible way forward to this ethically questionable strategy can be found with Germany's energy policy.

Plastic #Solar Cells May Offer Cheaper Alternative To Silicon

Friday, 21 September 2012

RWE opens £1 billion gas-fired power plant in Wales


RWE npower, the UK subsidiary of the German RWE group, has officially opened its 2,000 MW flagship power station at Pembroke in west Wales. The utility says the £1 billion station is one of Europe’s largest and most efficient combined cycle gas turbine plants and will supply over 3.5 million households across the UK.
The RWE npower combined cycle gas turbine plant at Pembroke will supply over 3.5 million households across the UK

Control of the fifth and final unit of Pembroke was handed over to the station team the previous week, marking the end of over three years of construction, in which over 10,000 contractors worked 7.4 million man hours to complete the state-of-the-art facility.

Volker Beckers, Group Chief Executive Officer, RWE npower, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Pembroke Power Station into our portfolio of operational plants. This addition means RWE npower now has the largest and most efficient gas portfolio as well as the largest fleet of renewable energy technologies in the country.”

RWE has invested heavily in the UK over the past few years. As well as the £1 billion Pembroke facility and the £650 million 1,650 MW Staythorpe gas-fired power station in Nottinghamshire, which opened last year, the utility has made a number of renewable energy investments.

Controversial gas drilling technique ‘fracking’ could create 35,000 jobs


THE controversial gas drilling technique known as fracking could create 35,000 jobs and supply a tenth of the UK’s energy needs for more than a century, a newly published report has claimed.

Green campaigners have claimed that hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, can cause earthquakes, as well as creating the risk of poisoning drinking water if it becomes contaminated with the fluids used in the process and adding to pollution.

The Dart energy company has been given permission to search for gas at a site at Canonbie in Dumfries and Galloway, which is thought to be the only potential location for fracking approved so far in Scotland.

Russia eyes UK funding for $1 trillion energy push


Russia is to step up its push for UK investment in its energy sector with meetings in London next month to showcase opportunities in the country.

Russian energy minister Alexander Novak said the meetings would form part of Russia’s plan to attract $1 trillion (£617bn) investment in oil, gas and power by 2020. He did not specify the potential investors but told Bloomberg the meetings would showcase investment opportunities as well as Russia’s energy companies.

“If it’s oil and gas, we’ll talk about offshore exploration and eastern projects and creating conditions to develop the fields, including breaks on extraction taxes and export duties,” Mr Novak said.

The comments came barely a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin met BP chief executive Bob Dudley to discuss “the continuation and broadening of BP’s presence on the Russian market, as well as prospects for cooperation with Russian companies”.

Could Shale Gas Beat the UK Recession


Whilst much of the focus on the commercial energy front is mostly on ‘green’ or renewable resources, one form of natural fuel that hasn’t yet been pushed to it’s potential is that of shale gas. Produced in pockets, the gas forms from air trapped in shale formations, and can be harvested to turn into energy the same way other natural gases can. But unlike oil and other costly import items, shale gas is actually a relatively untapped resource in the UK.

Whilst the Coalition Government have sent messages over Britain’s energy future (with a potential return to nuclear mooted, and the subsidies available on solar power slashed), some experts are saying exploiting shale gas in the UK could be the perfect short-term solution during the recession.

Thursday, 20 September 2012 Introduces Energy Efficient Electric Hand Dryers


The most common feature in public restrooms and washrooms is fast changing with the introduction of hand dryer uk – paper towels. The extensive studies conducted on the usage of paper towels in washrooms reveal they leave a greater impact on environment. with its new range of energy efficient electric hand dryers has laid down a new benchmark to reduce the usage of paper towels in washrooms. The automatic electric hand dryers uk come with the distinctive feature. These dryers automatically activate when the user places hands below the nozzle. This feature keeps the machine dry and moisture-free.

The 3 hidden ways energy firms fleece you

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

UK solar subsidiary expands westwards

Energy bills set to rise again as cheapest deals are withdrawn

UK #Energy Supplier - Opus Energy hit with £125,000 fine for misreporting power supplies


Ofgem has fined business energy supplier Opus Energy £125,000 for misreporting the amount of power it supplied under the government's subsidy scheme for renewable electricity, the Renewables Obligation (RO). The regulator has also ordered the company to scrap £360,000 worth of RO certificates.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Sustainable energy: Families facing £2,000 bills for green heating that does not work in Britain

BOC expands Swindon hydrogen refuelling facility with innovative platinum fuel cell


BOC is expanding its Hydrogen Refuelling Station at Honda's UK manufacturing plant in Swindon.

The project includes an innovative low-platinum fuel cell designed and built by ACAL Energy.

On-site solar-powered electrolysis will enable the facility, the UK's first public-access station, to produce hydrogen more sustainably.

The resulting 'green' 'hydrogen gas will be used to fuel a number of different vehicle types using BOC's filling technology.

Vehicles able to refill here include vans converted by Revolve Technologies, operated by Swindon Commercial Services Ltd (SCS) and by Commercial Group.

Fork lift trucks supplied by Briggs Equipment and operated by Honda will also be topping up at the site.

The refuelling station is the result of a collaboration led by BOC, a member of The Linde Group, alongside partners including Honda and Forward Swindon.

UK windfarms generate record amount of power


Britain's windfarms broke a new record on Friday by providing over four gigawatts of power to the National Grid – enough to light and heat more than 3m British homes.

It beats a previous high of 3.8GW set in May and comes as a further 4GW of wind turbines are being installed, half on land and half offshore.

Just before 10am, wind turbines were supplying 10.8% of the total amount of electricity going into the grid while an additional 2.2GW of "green" power was going directly into local electricity networks.

Japan has turned its back on nuclear power. Will the UK follow suit?

Thursday, 13 September 2012

China targets renewables to cut energy dependence


China wants the equivalent of 50 million tonnes of coal to be displaced by biomass by 2015

The Chinese National Energy Administration (NEA) has unveiled its 12th five-year plan for renewable energy. Unsurprisingly, the plan focuses on the mature renewable technologies of hydropower, wind power, solar energy and biomass. And this should give the country's fledgling biofuel and biological chemistry industry a leg up.  

The plan introduces a new goal for renewable energy that should see renewable energy use in China rise to the equivalent of 478 million tonnes of standard coal by 2015. If achieved, more than more than 9.5% of the country’s total energy will come from renewables. Breaking the figures down, by 2015 hydroelectric capacity should increase to 290,000MW, cumulative grid-connected wind power to 100,000MW, solar power to 21,000MW and biomass production should hit the equivalent of 50 million tonnes of coal. The NEA predicts that 150 million tonnes of biomass will be used in 2015, including biomass fuels, bioethanol and biodiesel.

Against a backdrop of consumers enduring substantial fuel price fluctuations, Chinese experts are cautiously optimistic that the new biomass energy targets could help. However, some experts point out that the term biomass energy encompasses a wider definition than that used in the last five year plan and includes such burning wood for cooking. Theoretically, traditional energy sources, such as biomass briquettes and biogas, could potentially go a long toward helping the country meet its targets.

Biofuel bottlenecks

To meet the new biomass targets, some experts say that technology will not actually be the most critical factor. So far, the biggest technical problems for developing biofuels have already been solved and carbohydrate bioethanol has achieved commercial production, according to Zhilong Xiu from the Biomass Energy Research Institute of Dalian University of Technology in China.

‘The main technical bottlenecks lie on the collection and pretreatment of cheap non-grain raw materials,’ Xiu says. He says that, in China, rules to ensure food security continues to be a constraint for domestic biofuel producers. For example, canola oil in Germany and soya bean oil in the US can be used to produce biodiesel, while this is not the case in China. Another reason that makes biofuel production problematic is difficulty collecting the raw materials because Chinese agriculture is still based around small farms, says Shiping Qin from the Energy Research Institute of National Development and Reform Council.

‘Technically speaking, [the biomass targets are] entirely achievable,’ says Anni Zhu, biological research director of Liuhe Shenzhou Biological Engineering Technology in Beijing. ‘The key is to have strong executive capacity, the means to promote a market environment, strengthen support from the government and eliminate artificial divisions.’

Fledgling industry

In China, biological chemistry is still a relatively new industry. Some production processes, such as monosodium glutamate and citric acid, have a long history, but most instances are solely for the food and beverage market. Now this technology is being used to produce chemicals and new materials, but the industry is still in its infancy and it needs more guidance and support from the Chinese government, Xiu says.

The new renewable energy plan also holds some promise for biological chemistry. Jun Wang, director at the new energy and renewable energy department of the NEA, says that now is the time for China to set up systems to promote biological chemicals, biomass energy and so on.

‘Biological chemistry will develop quickly if we learn from the experience of petrochemicals, use cheap non-grain raw materials, exploit all the ingredients and develop all the add-on products,’ Xiu says. ‘But the most important thing is to implement the policy support and financial subsidies.’ Presently, only bioethanol is subsidised by the Chinese government. ‘The plans bring challenges and opportunities to the industry,’ Zhu says. She hopes there will be some new policies to support biomass energy and biological chemistry, especially around core technologies.

‘As the industry develops, support from the government will play a very important role,’ Xiu says. He predicts that more and more companies will enter this industry now that the new plan has been published. And this will improve the technology and help the development of new industries and products.

However, almost all of the research on biomass and biological chemistry is going on in China’s universities and national institutes and is still far from commercialisation. Both scientists and small companies are pinning their hopes on China’s state firms to promote this industry, because of their financial strength and the sheer size of the workforce they command.

‘The state companies should do some modelling and research [on commercialising biomass technologies]. It is impossible to expect small and private companies to do that, for they could not withstand the risk. The state companies should have the responsibility for promoting the new industry,’ Xiu says.

Solving Britain's multi-dimensional energy policy riddle with natural gas


In seeking to meet its energy needs in the future, the UK, like most other European countries, has three broad objectives: the reduction the emissions of greenhouse gases, and especially carbon dioxide, which contribute to human-caused climate change; energy security; and keeping energy prices competitive for business and affordable for households. This means deploying at scale low-carbon energy sources, especially those that produce electricity; maintaining a diversity of energy sources, in terms of both fuels and the countries from which they are derived; generating electricity efficiently, and using it and other energy sources efficiently, to reduce the quantity needed to satisfy the demand for energy services (warmth, mobility, power); and keeping energy costs as low as possible for vulnerable industries and households, while addressing the other two objectives.

Gas and nuclear: 'UK Government need to radically re-think energy policies'


Economic growth, or rather the lack of growth, is now central to the economic or, indeed, the political debate. The economy has dipped since autumn last year and there are few “green shoots” of growth on the horizon. But, whatever our short-term woes, the British economy needs a really radical growth strategy in order to reverse the competitiveness lost over the last 10-15 years and prepare it for the challenges ahead. Infrastructural spending should be boosted, deregulation should be accelerated, the tax system should be simplified and, last but by no means least, the Government needs to radically re-think its energy policies, where “green policies” are undoubtedly adding to business’s bills, undermining their competitiveness. Manufacturing, especially energy intensive users including steel, cement and chemicals, are especially vulnerable to high energy costs, not with-standing some Treasury support. At a time when the government is keen for the economy to be “rebalanced” from financial services to manufacturing and from domestic demand to exports (where manufactured goods are still very significant), this is unfortunate to say the least.

UK gas prices firm on short supply


British prompt gas prices edged higher on Thursday morning on the back of a shortage in the system, although analysts said improved supplies later in the day could turn the market bearish.

Gas for Friday delivery was 0.50 pence higher at 60.50 pence per them at 0830 GMT on Thursday as demand outstripped supply by 16.4 million cubic meters (mcm), National Grid data showed.

Prices, however, were expected to move lower later in the day as supply ramps up, analysts at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon said.

David Cameron offers MP lukewarm support over links to energy consultant


David Cameron offers MP lukewarm support over links to energy consultant

Prime minister reveals that ties between climate change minister Greg Barker and energy consultant raised concern in Whitehall

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

DVLA's £200k carbon tax Trusted article source icon

HE DVLA has had to pay a carbon tax of nearly £200,000.

The Morriston-based organisation is one of many signed up to the UK Government's mandatory carbon reduction commitment scheme.

The sum payable is based on its carbon emissions in 2011/12, which is in turn based on energy usage.

The DVLA has introduced energy-saving measures such as new LED and low energy lamps, and new steam humidifiers.
It also plans to install new boilers by 2014.

Brand New - Incredible Energy Egg

It’s the frustration every father has felt, right up to the point of parody – you walk into a room to find the lamp on, the TV blaring and the Playstation on pause – but the kids have all got bored and gone to different rooms.  Well, one Kildrum dad decided that enough, and invented a solution that is taking the energy worked by storm.

Brian O’Reilly says that the Energy EGG was  “built out of frustration really. My daughters know about being ecological and environmentally friendly from things they’ve learned at school, such as turning off taps and turning off lights, but they knew nothing about switching off plugs and TVs and the like.

Hudson Energy selects Junifer Systems for UK electricity billing solution

Junifer Systems, the global provider of leading Customer Information and Billing Systems (CIS) for the utility industry announced today that it has been selected by Hudson Energy to provide an electricity billing solution for their European business.  Hudson supplies gas and electricity to over 150,000 commercial customers in Canada and the US and is a subsidiary of Just Energy Group Inc.

Hudson recently announced their entrance to the UK electricity market providing electricity to small and medium sized UK businesses with an aim to expand into gas at a later date.  When looking to enter the UK electricity market, Hudson required a solution that could handle HH (half hourly) and NHH (non half hourly) consumption, support UK I&C products (including pass through and non-pass through), manage the complex industry data flows, be implemented quickly and provide full automation to support their growth forecasts.