Friday, 28 June 2013

Renewable Energy Sources by the Numbers

About 17% of our worldwide energy consumption comes from renewables. And that share has not increased in recent years.

However, in coming years, wind energy and solar energy will probably bring that share of renewables up. Though the possibilities vary a lot by country. For instance, Iceland is making use of its great geothermal potential while Norway is relying a lot on hydropower.

The following infographic looks at our portfolio of renewables and offers an overview of the share of renewables in the energy supply, country by country.

This is part 2 of a 2-part series. Have a look at part 1 for an overview of our total worldwide energy consumption in numbers, including fossil fuels.

via Renewable Energy Sources by the Numbers | The Energy Collective.

Renewable Energy Sources by the Numbers

Thursday, 27 June 2013

The question Horizon missed: What might UK shale gas mean for greenhouse gas emissions?

What could extracting shale gas in the UK mean for greenhouse gas emissions in this country – and for attempts to reduce them in response to climate change? Carbon Brief breaks it down.

Last night, BBC 2′s Horizon programme investigated shale gas – “a new power source deep beneath the earth that could change the lives of us all” – asking what it means for the planet and for us. Geologist, Professor Iain Stewart, went to the US to examine its “energy rush” and what might happen if it was repeated in the UK.

The programme addressed many of the local environmental impacts of getting shale gas out of the ground. But, perhaps surprisingly, it avoided a big question – what might UK shale gas mean for climate change?

The USA example

Natural gas releases about half the carbon emissions of coal when it is burnt. Emissions from the United States fell to a 20-year low at the beginning of 2012 – a change the International Energy Agency (IEA) partly attributed to a switch away from coal and towards cheaply produced shale gas.

The UK could emulate this experience, argue many commentators. But the US example isn’t quite as clear-cut as it might at first seem. Here’s four reasons why:

The switch from coal to gas isn’t the whole story. A report from Bloomberg new energy finance identified three trends cutting US emissions – increased energy efficiency, more power from renewables and cheaper natural gas.

The decline in gas consumption in the United States meant it exported more coal. As a result, coal prices went down in the European Union and coal consumption went up. This pushed up emissions, particularly in the UK and Germany.

There’s no guarantee that the trend in the USA will continue in the long term. Last month the IEA warned that US emissions could just as easily go up again if the market changes and there are no policies to block a move back towards coal.

‘Fugitive emissions’ of methane could put a spanner in the works. During the process of extracting shale gas – fracking – gas can leak out. Methane is approximately 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas over a 100 year timescale. According to academics at Cornell university, fugitive emissions may mean shale gas releases more emissions than coal. But the question is hotly contested – many other academics disagree.

Is the UK the same as the USA? Not really

Some experts argue that that shale gas could be used as a ‘transition fuel’ in this country – that is, a cheap and relatively low-emissions fossil fuel that could help meet the UK’s energy needs until (hopefully) emissions cutting renewables or nuclear take over.

But the UK has a different power system from the USA. The country is already heavily dependent on gas – so there’s less potential for a coal-to-gas switch to bring down emissions. There is a chance that cheap shale gas could outcompete renewables rather than coal, driving up emissions.

via The question Horizon missed: What might UK shale gas mean for greenhouse gas emissions? | Carbon Brief.

The question Horizon missed: What might UK shale gas mean for greenhouse gas emissions?

DECC insists Green Deal ‘inspiring people’ despite criticisms

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has responded to widespread reports that the Green Deal is failing by publishing new data which shows the scheme is “inspiring people” to install energy saving measures.

The research claims that 47% of households who received a Green Deal advice report as part of their assessment indicated they either had or were getting energy saving measures installed. In addition, 31% said they would ‘definitely or probably’ install at least one measure.

Saving money was listed as the main motivator behind getting a Green Deal assessment (68%), while more than half said that free assessments and finding out how to make the property more energy efficient was their main reason.

Interestingly, 85% of respondents did not pay for a Green Deal assessment with 59% saying that the assessor did not charge a fee and 26% paid for by landlords, local authorities or another organisation.

According to DECC, awareness of the Green Deal has doubled since the scheme’s launch jumping from 10% of households aware in November 2012 to 22% by May 2013.

Speaking at the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Green Deal, energy and climate change minister Greg Barker said: “It’s fantastic to see that Green Deal assessments are leading to people taking action to make their homes more efficient. This new research clearly shows that the majority of people are finding assessments a valuable experience that can usefully help them both understand where they are wasting energy and importantly what they can do to deal with it.

via DECC insists Green Deal ‘inspiring people’ despite criticisms | Solar Power Portal.

DECC insists Green Deal ‘inspiring people’ despite criticisms

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Thieves 'cheating death' when they steal transformers

The damage left 93 homes in the Scunthorpe area without power and Northern Powergrid said most were without power for some time.

The repair bill for the seven incidents is estimated to cost around £800,000.

Roderick Stuart, a spokesman for Northern Power Grid, said the thieves were lucky to be alive.

He said: “They cheated death. One wrong move and it would have killed them.

“We do believe this was an organised crime group and that is from the methods used to steal these transformers.

“They appear to be getting up the poles and attaching ropes or chains to the transformers and pulling them off the poles.

“These transformers were 11,000 volts and you would either have to be extremely lucky or know what you are doing to be able to remove them.

“They are getting very close to these 11,000 volt transformers. It is a miracle they are not electrocuting themselves.

“They disconnect cables and leave live cables hanging off.

“Anyone coming into contact with them, could be seriously injured or killed.

“In the year I have been working here, I have not come across this before.

“It seems to be quite a big operation.

“To get these transformers off the top of the poles, they would have needed the equipment to do that.”

Both Northern Powergrid and Humberside Police are appealing for residents to remain vigilant.

via Thieves ‘cheating death’ when they steal transformers | This is Scunthorpe.

Thieves 'cheating death' when they steal transformers

UK offshore wind supply chain must develop

The UK must urgently develop the supply chain for its offshore wind farm industry or lose the opportunity to other countries, a report has warned.

A report by RenewableUK and Crown Estates said the UK has a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to benefit from its position as world-leader for offshore wind farms.

“The UK has, by a country mile, the world’s most successful and ambitious offshore wind programme,” said Maf Smith, deputy chief executive, RenewableUK. “We expect to dominate the international league table for ambition in offshore wind for some time to come. However, it is important to consider the next phase of growth, and take stock of what further opportunities could come to the UK.”

UK wind farms currently provide three gigawatts of power while construction of new farms in areas such as Barrow, Belfast, Lowestoft, Merseyside, Grimsby, Teesside and Mostyn will add a further 1.5 gigawatts of capacity. By 2020 the country could be generating up to 20 gigawatts of offshore wind power, the report said.

Other European countries, however, supply the majority of components and services. And Germany and France are already providing financial incentives to develop infrastructure and are helping attract inward investment, the report authors said.

via UK offshore wind supply chain must develop | Official CIPS Magazine – Supply Management.

UK offshore wind supply chain must develop

Germany spearheads global renewable energy awareness

The streets of Berlin face a different kind of traffic than those of Riyadh: bicycle traffic, which speaks multitudes in a city cultured with environmental awareness, so much so that Energiewende – literally: energy transformation – has become a word recognized in every household and office building in the German capital.

Following the Fukushima incident in 2011, the Germans took an almost unanimous vote on moving away from nuclear energy and promoting renewables. This vote has lead to a consensus on nuclear phaseout, which has become a tenant of Energiewende, emphasized by the high public tension surrounding nuclear energy.

Rainer Baake, currently the director of Agora Energiewende and formerly State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety said at a roundtable: “Nobody wants to get back into nuclear. It is very clear that everybody wants to expand on renewables.”

Renewable energy is an economic, environmental and political concern in Germany, currently emphasized by their upcoming elections in September. The main sources of renewable energy in Germany are wind power, solar and photovoltaic cells, collectively making up between 23 and 25 percent of the European nation’s energy structure, according to Agora Energiewende, along with several government organizations in Berlin.

via Saudi Gazette – Germany spearheads global renewable energy awareness.

Germany spearheads global renewable energy awareness

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Energy bills to soar even higher as homes face regular blackouts

The country could also be plunged into regular blackouts in just two years as power stations close and investment in new plants is held off.

Families already struggling to pay their bills could see their electricity bills soar by 20 per cent by the end of next year as reliance on foreign gas grows.

It means the average household’s electricity bill, currently around £570, could rocket by another £114 to £684 by the end of next year.

Experts say the average household dual fuel bill, currently £1,400, could shoot up to £2,000 in the next five years, forcing many into fuel poverty.

The stark warning is expected to be laid out in Ofgem’s electricity supply and demand forecast, due in a few weeks.

Energy regulator Ofgem is likely to reveal that storage capacity has fallen as gas-fired plants are gradually mothballed and cheaper coal-fired plants are forced to run at full pelt.

The price of gas has soared as North Sea supplies dwindle, forcing a greater reliance on foreign imports. Energy firms say they will not invest in gas until it becomes more profitable or Government subsidises it along with green energy.

Mark Todd, founder of, warned that Britain is in a “supply crunch” with energy prices likely to soar as a result. He said: “Coal-fired stations are being closed due to the drive for green energy and nuclear power stations are gradually becoming defunct.

via Energy bills to soar even higher as homes face regular blackouts | UK | News | Daily Express.

Energy bills to soar even higher as homes face regular blackouts

UK bill-payers 'may fund rail electrification by back door’

The companies are at odds with Network Rail over who should pay for their electricity cables to be rerouted to make way for the work to upgrade Britain’s train lines.

The government is pushing ahead with a multi-billion pound programme to switch Britain from diesel to electric trains, which are faster, greener, quieter and can carry more passengers.

The bulk of the costs will be borne by the general taxpayer and power network companies say this should also be the case for the work to their cables, which is needed to ensure they are a safe distance away from Network Rail’s gantry systems that provide power to trains.

But the companies fear Network Rail is expecting them to pay for the work and claim this would lead to bill-payers in some regions picking up a disproportionate share of the costs.

Tim Field, spokesman for Energy Networks Association, representing the electricity and gas networks said: “Electricity customers should not be funding rail electrification by the back door through their bills.”

via UK bill-payers ‘may fund rail electrification by back door’ – Telegraph.

UK bill-payers 'may fund rail electrification by back door’

Renewable energy is the way forward

The UK’s renewable energy market continues to grow, generating 11.3% of the energy we consumed last year compared to 9.4% in 2011.

And it seems like more and more businesses are recognising the potential benefits and investing in some long term energy methods.

Ian Burrow, Head of Renewable Energy at NatWest and RBS takes a closer look.

Although there were mixed feelings in 2012 with the government’s Energy Bill in November generating some debate among commentators and investors, the future appears to be bright for renewable energy projects.

Renewable energy technologies are becoming increasingly attractive as businesses and landowners recognise the potential of renewable energy and the chance to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, reduce costs and provide a positive environmental impact.

This is particularly true in the farming community where opportunities are rife to make solid investments for the future.

RenewableUK estimates that the average farmer can make between £12,000 and £50,000 a year through utilising renewable energy.

In July 2011, NatWest launched a dedicated Renewable Energy Fund to support businesses looking to install wind turbines and solar panels.

Since the launch of the £50million fund, interest has grown notably.

via Renewable energy is the way forward | Bdaily Business News.

Renewable energy is the way forward

Monday, 24 June 2013

British Gas pays £10m to settle row after allegation it broke rules by failing to round down gas figures on bills

British Gas has paid £10million to settle a dispute with the energy regulator after officials claimed it failed to round down figures on bills that reflect the potency of the gas used by customers.

British Gas had been displaying the ‘calorific value’ figure to four decimal places on bills when Ofgem rules require it be rounded down to one decimal place. British Gas had been interpreting the rules this way for five years.

The sum will be paid into the independent British Gas Energy Trust after the supplier came to an agreement with Ofgem to settle the dispute. A spokesman said the action was made to ‘draw a line’ under the affair.

via British Gas pays £10m to settle row after allegation it broke rules by failing to round down gas figures on bills | This is Money.

British Gas pays £10m to settle row after allegation it broke rules by failing to round down gas figures on bills

Energy regulator to warn over blackouts

The regulator is expected to publish electricity supply and demand forecasts within weeks, showing that spare capacity has fallen as more gas-fired plants have been mothballed. It is likely to reiterate warnings that even if blackouts are avoided, power prices will rise steeply.

Britain’s spare power margin will be so narrow by the winters of 2014-15 and 2015-16 that unexpected events such as more plant closures, nuclear reactor outages or unusually cold weather could drive household electricity bills up by as much as 20pc, Peter Atherton, an analyst at Liberum Capital, has warned.

Last year, Ofgem’s assessment showed that margins would fall from 14pc to 4pc by mid-decade and the risk of power cuts would increase from near-zero in 2012 to one-in-12 by 2015 and one-in-two if demand was very high.

Ofgem’s outgoing chief, Alistair Buchanan, wrote in The Telegraph in February that “avoiding power shortages will carry a price”.

Then, in March, power firm SSE said it was mothballing more gas plants and delaying investing in new ones, making the situation “even more critical” than Ofgem had predicted, according to the SSE chief executive Ian Marchant. He said it created the “very real risk of the lights going out”.

via Energy regulator to warn over blackouts – Telegraph.

Energy regulator to warn over blackouts

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Solar farm could power half of town

ENERGY to power more than 3,000 homes – almost half of Verwood and Three Legged Cross – could be created if a plan for a 28-hectare solar farm is approved.

Chippenham firm Good Energy Generation Ltd has submitted plans to East Dorset District Council to change the use of Homeland Farm from agriculture to agriculture together with the solar photovoltaic farm spanning four fields.

If planners approve the application, the development will see 47,700 solar panels in rows, supported on metal poles of 2.65m, generating up to 12.5MW of electricity each year – enough to power 3,047 homes.

via Solar farm could power half of town (From Salisbury Journal).

Solar farm could power half of town

Friday, 21 June 2013

British Companies Developing Solar Power Storage For Armed Forces

Following yesterday’s announcement that several thousand British troops are to be made redundant it merely confirms what we knew already in so much as the UK government is keen to reduce the cost of running the armed forces. Therefore, any way that this can be achieved without also impacting on the security of this country should surely be welcomed.

solar panels are to be developed to assist military personnel in the field

Therefore, you will no doubt find it interesting to hear that a number of energy companies here in the UK are looking to develop solar energy storage products that can be used by the military around the world. These systems will need to be light to carry, strong as they would be used in extreme conditions at times and, of course, safe.

There are four companies involved – Solutronic, Pure Wafer, Oxis Energy and Lincad that have got together to pool their resources and fields of expertise. The solar power storage systems will include the most up to date lithium sulphur battery technology, electronics and solar panels.

via British Companies Developing Solar Power Storage For Armed Forces.

British Companies Developing Solar Power Storage For Armed Forces

Large-scale solar in the UK generates over £13 million a year

Commercial-scale solar PV projects are generating an estimated £13.5million worth of electricity a year according to new research published by SmartestEnergy.

Research carried out by the independent energy company revelaed that there were 528 commercial-scale independent solar projects of over 50kQ operating in the UK at the end of 2012, accounting for 322MW of capacity.

Installations owned by renewable energy developers account for 59% of the total energy being generated by the sector with 13% coming from onsite generators and landowners alike. Agricultural installtions account for a further 7%.

In terms of location, the South of England continues to dominate with 128 projects located in the South West and 113 in the South East of England.

Commenting on the results of the research, SmartestEnergy’s head of generation, Iain Robertson said: “Rising energy prices and the introduction of financial subsidy schemes such as the Feed-in Tariff have sparked huge interest in the development of independent renewable generation projects in recent years.

via Large-scale solar in the UK generates over £13 million a year | Solar Power Portal.

Large-scale solar in the UK generates over £13 million a year

Ofgem unveils energy reforms - ITV News

A number of British consumers may be able to cut their energy tariffs from December under rules proposed by regulator Ofgem which it hopes will encourage competition.

Lawrence Slade from the industry trade body Energy UK has told ITV Daybreak that “these reforms start putting customers first again.

“The really key thing here is to help customers get on the best tariff for their circumstances.”

via Ofgem unveils energy reforms – ITV News.

Ofgem unveils energy reforms - ITV News

UK electricity prices almost twice as expensive as Germany within three years

The bank’s analysis showed wholesale prices, which form the backbone of energy bills, would top those in Germany by 85pc in 2016-17 and would be higher in general for the next seven to 10 years.

The bank blamed the roughly fivefold rise in the government’s new tax on carbon-dioxide emitting power generation over the next seven years, while also pointing to Britain’s lack of infrastructure to import power from the European mainland.

Prices in the two countries had tracked one another for years, but they diverged last year as Germany spurred a boom in renewable energy generation by pouring billions into subsidising the green sector.

The Credit-Suisse figures show that in the winter of 2016/17 UK power prices will trade at an 85pc premium to German equivalents, compared with a 25pc divergence currently.

“Our analysis suggests these differentials will continue for the next seven to 10 years,” analysts at the Swiss bank said in a report to clients.

via UK electricity prices almost twice as expensive as Germany within three years – Telegraph.

UK electricity prices almost twice as expensive as Germany within three years

Thursday, 20 June 2013

UK energy broker ESP sold to US energy firm

AN innovative Yorkshire company, the Energy Services Partnership (ESP), has been acquired by US firm Ameresco.

ESP, based in Castleford, is a leading provider of energy management solutions including, energy supply, invoice management and demand response services for commercial, industrial, manufacturing and utility customers in the UK. Ameresco is a leading energy efficiency and renewable energy company.

President and CEO of Ameresco, George Sakellaris, said: “We look forward to working with the talented ESP team to further develop and cultivate growth opportunities serving not only Ameresco’s multinational customers’ needs in the UK, but also ESP’s clients with offices and facilities in North America.”

Ernst & Young advised on the sale of ESP, which was founded in 2002 by Derek Dixon and Kath Chapman.

Chief executive of ESP, Mr Dixon, said: “The entire ESP team is very pleased with the opportunity to enhance our delivery of sustainable services to our customers as part of Ameresco and to provide our expertise and services to Ameresco’s Enterprise Energy Management customers in the UK.”

via Deals/Restructuring  /  ESP sold to US energy firm THEBUSINESSDESK.COM.

UK energy broker ESP sold to US energy firm

Life Changing New Flagship Solar Thermal Plant

Flagship Solar Thermal Plant Ends Black-Outs

India welcomed the delayed arrival of a state-of-the-art solar thermal plant in northwest Rajasthan state this weekend, hoping to stave off blackouts that have troubled the country for the last two years. The Godawari Power-owned facility is the largest solar-thermal plant in Asia, capable of producing up to 50 megawatts by concentrating the light of the sun through over 5,760 mirrors to drive a steam turbine and began it’s output this Saturday. Despite being over budget and behind schedule, the plant sets an exciting benchmark across a country desperate for power.

via Life Changing New Flagship Solar Thermal Plant.

Life Changing New Flagship Solar Thermal Plant

Analysis: No short-term fixes to Britain's energy angst

Since launching its 2008 energy supply probe, Ofgem has produced a series of ‘remedies’ aimed at trying to fix what it sees as an uncompetitive retail gas and electricity supply market.

Throughout all this Ofgem has argued that it must overcome the lack of competition in the market that exists because of the Big Six’s dominance.

At the heart of this approach is the claim that such dominance is largely down to the Big Six being vertically integrated: owning and controlling both generation assets and retail businesses.

Its latest announcement, requiring these companies to offer their generation volume (up to 30%) to the market via trading platforms as opposed to opaque bilateral negotiation, will provide much needed transparency to the wholesale energy markets.

via Analysis: No short-term fixes to Britain’s energy angst.

Analysis: No short-term fixes to Britain's energy angst

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

EDF promises simplified 'forecourt-style' pricing for gas and electricity - but only if rivals agree

EDF Energy laid down the gauntlet to other gas and electricity suppliers today as it promised to simplify gas and electricity – but only if the rest of the big six energy firms went along with move.

The energy firm said that its plan to introduce ‘single unit pricing’ would help customers compare tariffs and identify the cheapest deals as well as going further than any reforms already announced by regulator Ofgem.

At present, suppliers charge customers using complex two-tier and standing charge systems – which make tariffs almost impossible to compare. And energy prices are set regionally with suppliers charging varying amounts across the country.

via EDF promises simplified ‘forecourt-style’ pricing for gas and electricity – but only if rivals agree | This is Money.

EDF promises simplified 'forecourt-style' pricing for gas and electricity - but only if rivals agree

British Gas could have overcharged customers for five years, says Ofgem

Ofgem said British Gas had paid £10m into a trust for vulnerable customers to settle a fierce row over pricing.

The donation is almost level with the record £10.5m fine Scottish & Southern Energy paid in April for “prolonged and extensive” mis-selling on the doorsteps of homes across the country.

British Gas was expected to announce its “donation” at the end of last week but it only came to light when sources contacted The Daily Telegraph on Monday morning.

The regulator claimed that between 2006 and 2011, British Gas failed to “round down” the calorific value, a charge that covers the heat or thermal energy in the gas a customer uses.

British Gas, the UK’s biggest supplier, used four decimal points, when Ofgem asks companies to use just one.

via British Gas could have overcharged customers for five years, says Ofgem – Telegraph.

British Gas could have overcharged customers for five years, says Ofgem

UK Government Still Dithering on “New North Sea” of Shale Gas

It’s hard to fathom. In March 2013, the UK, Europe’s largest gas consuming nation, was reportedly just “six hours from running out” of natural gas. With North Sea gas production falling and gas imports hitting a record high during the fifth coldest spring on record, the country’s dependence on overseas supplies is growing steadily. All of which has re-focused attention on the coalition’s dithering over the UK’s potential “new North Sea” of shale gas.

Along with increasing dependence on expensive Qatari LNG (which got the UK out of the fix it was in during March) and Russian and Norwegian imports, the UK government has just announced a prospective deal to import Azerbaijani gas. If UK industry and domestic consumers were hoping for an early cut in gas prices – already twice that being paid in the United States – it seems they can forget it. At the root of the foot-dragging is a Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) headed by yet another green Lib Dem zealot Ed Davey. Davey is patently more concerned with theories about climate than he is with hard economic facts about energy. While George Osborne’s Budget ostensibly set up the Office of Unconventional Oil and Gas, allegedly to “co-ordinate” matters for potential shale developers, the plain reality is that the DECC has put a whole bunch of environmental obstacles in the way of a nascent shale industry.

Albeit the process of fracking (shale fracturing) has a 60-year heritage with not a single drinking water aquifer being polluted and with associated tremors equivocating to the impact of jumping off a ladder, thus far the DECC has imposed an 18-month moratorium while constantly playing down the prospects for UK shale extraction. The DECC has made no effort to help developers navigate the complexity of licensing laws, and there is no sign of George Osborne’s promised tax breaks.

via UK Government Still Dithering on “New North Sea” of Shale Gas – Energy TribuneEnergy Tribune.

UK Government Still Dithering on “New North Sea” of Shale Gas

True cost of Britain's wind farm industry revealed

A new analysis of government and industry figures shows that wind turbine owners received £1.2billion in the form of a consumer subsidy, paid by a supplement on electricity bills last year. They employed 12,000 people, to produce an effective £100,000 subsidy on each job.

The disclosure is potentially embarrassing for the wind industry, which claims it is an economically dynamic sector that creates jobs. It was described by critics as proof the sector was not economically viable, with one calling it evidence of “soft jobs” that depended on the taxpayer.

The subsidy was disclosed in a new analysis of official figures, which showed that:

• The level of support from subsidies in some cases is so high that jobs are effectively supported to the extent of £1.3million each;

• In Scotland, which has 203 onshore wind farms — more than anywhere else in the UK — just 2,235 people are directly employed to work on them despite an annual subsidy of £344million. That works out at £154,000 per job;

via True cost of Britain’s wind farm industry revealed – Telegraph.

True cost of Britain's wind farm industry revealed

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

'Simpler’ energy tariffs mired in confusion

EDF and the consumer group Which? are calling for suppliers to offer a national unit rate for electricity and gas for each tariff, scrapping regional variation in prices and standing charges.

EDF said the move to “petrol forecourt-style pricing” would mean “consumers would be left in no doubt as to which suppliers were offering the best deals”.

But other major energy suppliers came out against EDF’s proposal, warning it could cost the majority of users £100 extra and could benefit second home owners at the expense of vulnerable families.

Ofgem has already pushed forward reforms, backed by ministers, to try to simplify the energy market by limiting the number of tariffs a supplier can offer to four, each consisting of a standing charge and a unit rate. Previously suppliers had often used two-tier rates.

Ofgem said it had already looked at the single unit price option but it was “not as simple as it sounds”.

via ‘Simpler’ energy tariffs mired in confusion – Telegraph.

'Simpler’ energy tariffs mired in confusion

How your over-inflated electricity bills pay £100,000 for EACH JOB on UK wind farms

British households forked out a massive £1.2billion in subsidies to wind farm operators last year – a sector that creates 12,000 jobs for the economy.

That means every job in the industry is effectively costing £100,000 a year in handouts from inflated domestic energy bills, according to a report today.

The figures in the Sunday Telegraph are yet another blow to the beleaguered wind industry, which already faces increasingly fierce opposition from residents in coastal areas ripe for hosting the technology.

via How your over-inflated electricity bills pay £100,000 for EACH JOB on UK wind farms | This is Money.

How your over-inflated electricity bills pay £100,000 for EACH JOB on UK wind farms

Wind power has failed to deliver what it promised

The Sunday Telegraph reveals how many ”green jobs’’ the wind-power industry really generates in exchange for its generous subsidies. The figures show that for 12 months until February 2013, a little over £1.2  billion was paid out to wind farms through a consumer subsidy financed by a supplement on electricity bills. During that period, the industry employed just 12,000 people, which means that each wind-farm job cost consumers £100,000 – an astonishing figure.

Of course, we all want to preserve the environment and, in an ideal world, we would invest in energy production that is as clean as possible. But before pouring money into any potential power source we need to discuss honestly its costs, its potential to create jobs and its efficiency. Our story shows that the claims of the green lobby that wind farms will generate abundant energy and economic growth are not consistent with the facts.

Regarding costs, the £1.2 billion figure is merely a starting point. According to the Renewable Energy Foundation, the subsidy is likely to rise to £6  billion by 2020 if the Government is to meet its target of providing for 15 per cent of the country’s needs with renewable energy. Finding space to build the wind farms has created a veritable racket – landowners can expect to receive payments worth an average £40,000 a year for each large, three-megawatt turbine built on their land.

And what is the benefit of all this expense? In terms of jobs, disappointingly little. Greater Gabbard, an offshore wind farm, employs 100 people at its headquarters in Lowestoft, Suffolk. Divide Greater Gabbard’s subsidy of £129  million by 100, and each job is worth an incredible £1.29 million. The spend might be more justifiable if wind were an efficient and abundant energy source – but it simply is not. Its output fluctuates wildly depending on the amount of wind available. This week, our thousands of wind turbines managed to generate an impressive 12 per cent of our total energy production. But during our last cold, windless winter – when electricity demand was at its greatest – that fell to lows of 0.1 per cent.

via Wind power has failed to deliver what it promised – Telegraph.

Wind power has failed to deliver what it promised