Friday, 29 April 2011

Google blows $100m on wind farm

The web giant said it will invest $100m ($61m ) in Shepherds Flat, which is projected to be the largest wind farm in the world. It will be able to generate 845MW and supply enough energy for 235,000 average US homes when it comes online in 2012.

GE Energy Financial Services and Caithness Energy are existing owners of the project near Arlington, Oregon, which will take up about 30 square miles.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

New Rules On Price Hikes For Energy Firms

New Rules On Price Hikes For Energy Firms

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Gas and electricity suppliers will have to give customers 30 days' notice before increasing prices under new regulations which come into force today.

Read on Sky News

Batteries hold promise for Wyoming wind power

A $44 million large-scale battery system proposed for a wind farm in Texas could be a “game-changer” for wind energy, an industry spokesman says.
Yet others in the wind power industry and the natural gas power industry, which provides a lot of fill-in power for wind energy, aren’t quite as excited.
The 36-gigawatt battery system — the largest known system tied to a wind farm — is slated for installation at the Duke Energy Corp.-owned 153-megawatt Notrees wind project.

Such a system can store energy produced during times of lower electricity consumption and then pump that energy into the grid during peak demand times — smoothing out the flow of electricity into the grid.

That might prove to be an important innovation for Wyoming, where several companies, including North Carolina-based Duke, are operating and developing wind farms to harness the state’s unceasingly world-class winds.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

As Greenpeace Knocks IT Sector For Bad Energy Habits, Google Buys More Wind Power

Greenpeace published a study on energy consumption and choices made by IT companies including Akamai, (Amazon Web Services), Apple, Facebook, Google, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo, entitled “How Dirty Is Your Data?”. The study roundly criticizes the sector, especially Facebook, for using “dirty energy” — power produced from hydrocarbon based sources, especially coal — to meet growing IT demand. It also criticized companies for concealing details about their own, overall energy footprint and practices.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Is the 'cloud' green or not? Greenpeace scrutinizes 10 giants

In my time as a chronicler of things green and sustainable, I have seen Greenpeace take on several very high-level issues — including a push for sustainable seafood harvesting practices that has helped change the polices of almost 20 high-profile grocery and special food retailers.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Dubai seeks to become LNG trading hub

Emirate is looking to develop export capacity.  Dubai is looking into developing its capacity to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) with the intention of turning the emirate into a gas trading and transport hub serving the Asian market.

We have begun to talk about how we might form a gas hub, said Paul Mason, manager of government-owned Dubai Supply Authority (Dusup), told delegates at the Dubai Global Energy Forum.

We have the ability to import LNG but not the ability to export, so that might be the logical next step, he added.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Trading Natural Gas

When commodities trading it is often important to understand the commodity you are planning to trade, particularly who makes it, who buys it, and what factors are likely to affect supply and demand.

This will frequently drive the price. It pays to do a little homework, especially if you are thinking of trading anything other than oil or gold, which tend to be the most popular commodity spread bet markets.

In this article we take a closer look at what has been powering prices for natural gas recently. Natural gas is readily available for commodities trading as a spread bet or CFD contract. Usually, natural gas prices rise over the winter months in the northern hemisphere, and then fall in the spring, but the earthquake in Japan has not only profoundly shaken the country causing massive damage and loss of life, the fallout from what is happening with its nuclear power stations is also spilling into global commodities trading.

Argus Equals Record in Leading UK Company League Table

International energy price reporting agency Argus has gained a place in the "The Sunday Times PwC Profit Track 100" for the fourth time, a record-equalling achievement. Only two other companies have appeared in the rankings four times. This annual league table ranks Britain's leading 100 private-sector companies with the fastest-growing profits, based on their latest three years of available accounts. The league table is published in full in today's Sunday Times.

Google And Facebook's Latest Renewable Energy Forays

Google has announced yet another major wind power investment and Facebook is dipping its toes into solar power.

  Google announced yesterday a $100 million investment in the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm in Oregon. The massive wind power facility, expected to be the largest onshore plant in the world upon completion, will generate 845 MW of clean electricity - enough to power more than 235,000 homes.

Bright outlook for SSE subsidiary

cottish & Southern Energy has landed a contract to maintain thousands of street lamps, bollards and traffic signs for Knowsley council on Merseyside.

The 25-year deal has been awarded to the Perth utility's Tay Valley Lighting subsidiary under a private finance initiative. Some 70 per cent of the fixtures are set to be replaced during an initial four-year investment period. Colin Hood, chief operating officer of SSE, said: "SSE is well established as the UK's leading street lighting contractor and this contract will build on that."

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Iraqi oil supply was considered to be 'vital' to British interests

The British Government saw Iraqi oil as "vital" to the UK's long-term energy security, and the effective privatisation of its oil industry was central to the post-invasion plan for the country, according to previously unseen Whitehall documents.

The UK was already working behind the scenes to ensure British companies did not lose out to competitors in the region, reveal strategy papers that were discussed at the highest level across Whitehall just days after President George W Bush declared "mission accomplished" in May 2003.

Despite Qatar’s Japan LNG Deal UK Gas Prices Fall

After Saturday’s announcement of a new LNG deal between Qatargas and Japan, UK gas traders and energy brokers predicted higher gas prices and consequently firmer energy prices. But surprisingly the contraire happened and prices eased earlier this week.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Morrisions to open 'next-generation' superstore in October

Willmott Dixon claims it’s to create a new Morrisions superstore with several energy reduction firsts

The £9.5 million 4,162 m² area supermarket in Peterborough will be the first in Europe to be entirely lit by LED lighting, which has low energy consumption and is virtually maintenance free for the first 50,000 hours, therefore reducing costs involved with the frequent replacement of lights.

It will also be one of the first supermarkets where the refrigeration system does not contain hydrofluorocarbons; instead it will only use hydrocarbons. While this technology has been partly adopted in some retail facilities, the Peterborough store will be the first Morrisons to adopt this throughout the store, following extensive testing at its Arctic Circle research and development premises in Hereford and a trial at the Telford store.

BritNed power cable boosts hopes for European supergrid

Electricity link between UK and the Netherlands seen as key step in connecting renewable energy to a European power grid.

It stretches 260km under the North Sea, contains 23,000 tonnes of copper and lead, and may represent the first step towards a renewable energy revolution based on a European electricity "supergrid". The £500m BritNed cable, which has just entered operation, is the first direct current electricity link from the UK to another country in 25 years.
The high voltage cable, a joint venture between the UK National Grid and the Dutch grid operator TenneT, has a capacity of 1,000MW, the equivalent of a nuclear power station. It runs from the Isle of Grain in Kent to Maasvlakte, near Rotterdam, in the Netherlands.
High voltage DC (HVDC) cables allow electricity to be transmitted over much greater distances than existing alternating current lines, which start losing power after 80km. A network of HVDC cables across Europe is seen as the key to "weather-proofing" the large scale use of renewable energy, some forms of which are intermittent and have to be balanced in real time with generation elsewhere.

UK gas falls as strong supply outweighs Japan deal

British gas prices fell on Monday, ignoring leading liquefied natural gas supplier Qatar's sale of 4 million tonnes LNG to Japan, as plentiful supply swelled stocks and soft oil weighed on the curve, traders said. Qatargas, which has become one of Britain's biggest suppliers over the last year, said on Saturday it would send more than 60 extra LNG cargoes, or 4 million tonnes, to Japan over next 12 months.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Brent oil dips below $123 on demand concerns

Brent crude oil fell $1 a barrel on Monday to below $123 after a cut in output from the world's top exporter Saudi Arabia raised concern that high prices were hurting demand. The kingdom reduced output by 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 8.292 million bpd in March from February, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Sunday, describing the market as "oversupplied."

Switch now! Take the heat out of soaring energy bills

Householders are being urged to switch to a cheaper energy supplier, and even consider fixing their bills, as six of the lowest tariffs have been pulled in anticipation of higher costs. 

Atlantic Energy, owned by Scottish and Southern Energy, and EDF have withdrawn competitive fixed-rate deals while npower has pulled its most attractive online dual-fuel deal.

Experts are predicting price rises across the market in coming months as continuing unrest in the Middle East pushes up wholesale energy costs. The average best-buy online dual-fuel deal has risen by almost four per cent, from £913 to £947 a year, over the past six weeks, according to utilities website

Friday, 15 April 2011

Scientists successfully generate electricity using freshwater and saltwater

By simply utilizing what nature has to offer in terms of water, scientists from Stanford University have developed an effective way to generate electricity naturally and without causing pollution. Yi Cui, associate professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford, and his colleagues have developed a system that generates electricity using electrodes and a combination of freshwater and saltwater -- and nothing more.

The process involves the utilization of ions found naturally in saltwater, as well as those generated by electrodes submerged in water A positive and negative electrode pair are first used to charge freshwater with ions, which is then drained and replaced with saltwater. The saltwater, which is naturally up to 100 times more ionic than the freshwater, increases the voltage causes a net gain in electricity This electricity is then captured and stored in large batteries.

Bloom Energy expands manufacturing and hiring

Brad Fields, 39, spent most of his adult career working in production at NUMMI, the Fremont auto plant that shut down a year ago.

Now Fields is production manager at Bloom Energy, the Sunnyvale fuel-cell company that has a bold mission: to make clean, reliable energy affordable to everyone in the world.!/EnergyBrokerUK?sk=wall&filter=12

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Call for a Green Facebook

Thousands of Facebook users  worldwide  are called upon to echo the call for a green Facebook as they attempt to establish a Guinness World Record for the most comments to a Facebook post in 24 hours. Greenpeace is appealing on the social networking tycoon to start powering FB services with renewable energy instead of coal and nuclear power.

The comments will be displayed on an LED screen located conspicuously outside Facebook's California office so as to encourage the company to meet Greenpeace’s Earth Day challenge to announce a plan that would phase out its use of coal power over the next decade.

“In places as diverse as Cairo and Madison, Wisconsin, Facebook is helping to foster activism and foment reform,” Greenpeace Campaigner Casey Harrell said. “Now Facebook needs to lead a new energy revolution by committing to phase out coal and power its transformative services with clean, safe renewable energy.”

Wind power under fire as UK misses renewables target

The UK is missing renewable energy generations targets by a 'large margin', according to a new report.

Research by the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) published today (April 13) claims the UK failed to reach its 10% renewable electricity target for 2010.

The report Renewables Output in 2010 blames poor performances from the wind sector for the drop.

However charity REF, which was once chaired by TV presenter Noel Edmonds, has a history of criticising wind turbines.

In its report its revealed 6.5% of the UK's 2010 electricity came from renewable sources according to data from DECC and Ofgem.

Even taking into account the fact 2010 was less windy than 2009 the report claims wind power fell.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

UK shale gas boom 'may be dirtier than coal'

Despite outrage in the US over ‘fracturing’ techniques  used to extract shale gas and new evidence its greenhouse gas footprint  may be higher than that of coal, the UK has given the go-ahead to  companies here to begin drilling. Tom Levitt reports from the centre of  this potential unconventional gas boom near Blackpool In the flat lying geology of the Fylde coast the latest site of the UK’s burgeoning shale gas boom needs little direction.

The 32  metre-high drilling rig, less than one mile away from the village of  Singleton, stands out in the mostly low-lying arable farmland. A little  more than 2,800m beneath the surface is the target of this activity -  natural gas held within deep-lying shale rock formations. To release it  the energy companies involved must inject thousands of litres of water  and chemical additives down the bore wells at high pressure to blast  open cracks.

Solar entrepreneurs to get compensation

The Government is poised to give 'solar entrepreneurs' millions of pounds in compensation for spending their own money on solar farm projects which have had to be cancelled as a result of a policy u-turn.

It is understood that some potential 'solar farmers' have already been in talks with officials from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

A DECC official said that the issue of compensation was being discussed, but no final decision had been made.

The revelation that the Government is looking at compensation schemes comes as the Renewable Energy Association reveals the results of an exclusive survey of its members for This is Money's sister title, Financial Mail.

The survey shows that dozens of entrepreneurs have lost nearly three million pounds on preparing for projects that have now had to be cancelled because of the change in Government policy.

Google backs BrightSource solar power plant

BrightSource Energy said today it has secured financing for a utility-scale solar plant in the California desert, the first project of this type to be built in the U.S. in decades.

The Oakland, Calif.-based company said that it has finalized $1.6 billion in loans guaranteed from the U.S. Department of Energy for the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, a facility which will have three concentrating solar thermal plants.

The company also said today Google will invest $168 million in equity into the project, joining BrightSource and NRG Solar, a division of utility NRG. The Ivanpah facility will have a capacity of 370 megawatts (it will have a total 392 megawatt capacity and require 22 megawatts to operate) and is expected to be operating in 2013. It will generate enough electricity to supply about 85,000 homes, according to the DOE, while BrightSource Energy estimates 140,000 homes based on its utility power purchase agreement.

IEA and IMF Announcements Effect on UK Energy Prices

At the start of the session on Monday Brent crude oil was being traded above $127 per barrel and dipped below $125.50 later in the same session, after Saudi Arabia assured it can pump more oil if needed and hopes of a peace settlement in Libya. On Tuesday prices continued to drop after announcement of the IEA and the IMF that crude prices above the $100 are starting to hurt global economy.

Read More:

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Google Invests $5 million in Renewable Energy in Europe

Google announced on Thursday (April 7) that it has agreed to make its first clean energy project investment in Europe. The company will be injecting US$5 million into a solar photovoltaic plant in Germany.

According to Google’s European Policy blog, the transaction still requires the formal approval of the German authorities and is subject to other customary closing conditions.

Facebook answers green critics with datacentre design disclosure

Facebook answers green critics with datacentre design disclosure - Facebook has launched a major new initiative designed to share its server and datacentre designs with rivals, in a move that the company claims could save enough energy to power over 100,000 homes.

The Open Compute Project (OCP) will allow the wider IT industry to access the design secrets behind the social network's new datacentre in Prineville, Oregon, which the company says uses 38 per cent less power than existing server farms.

Is Facebook Responsible For Higher Energy Bills - Read More:

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said that engineers have been working for the past 18 months on new designs that would fit large-scale computing needs while significantly enhancing energy efficiency.

Read More:

British natural gas prices rose on Monday

British natural gas prices rose on Monday after a Norwegian gas field shut, driving inputs from liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals up to near capacity, while curve prices eased with oil.

Norway’s Visund field in the North Sea was shutdown over the weekend after a gas leak, with flows from Norway into England falling sharply on Monday morning, while high exports to continental Europe supported demand.

That’s what is impacting Norwegian flows. I guess that’s mostly likely brought the Norwegians out into the spot market to cover their sales,” one UK gas market analyst said.

Inputs into the grid from the South Hook, Isle of Grain and Dragon LNG terminals shot up to make up for the drop in supply, encouraged by a surge to 59.00 pence per therm by 0800 GMT for gas delivered on Monday, but spot prices eased later.

Monday, 11 April 2011

UK gas prompt firms as field shuts, exports surge

British natural gas prices rose on Monday after a Norwegian gas field shut, driving inputs from liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals up to near capacity, while curve prices eased with oil. Norway's Visund field in the North Sea was shutdown over the weekend after a gas leak, with flows from Norway into England falling sharply on Monday morning, while high exports to continental Europe supported demand.

Free lightbulbs land E.ON in the spotlight with regulator

By E.ON is under investigation by the energy regulator amid suspicions that hundreds of thousands of free lightbulbs meant to reduce UK carbon emissions were re-sold into Ireland.

According to Ofgem, officials are looking into whether the the German utility  was mis-reporting under a Government energy efficiency scheme, called the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target.

Ofgem confirmed on Friday that it has launched the investigation into E.ON's compliance with the compulsory initiative, which carries fines if utilities break the rules.

Under the scheme, utility companies have to help British households reduce their emissions, either by installing insulation, providing energy efficient lightbulbs or even small-scale wind or solar generation.

How Does a Stirling Engine Work and Its Use in Solar Thermal Technology

A stirling engine is extremely simple heat exchange engine and works by low temperature difference between two metal surfaces. One surface is heated at one end of the engine while other is cooled down on the other end, causing the air to expand near the hot surface (high temperature) and compress near the cold surface (low temperature). This expansion and compression of air within the engine cylinder enables the movement of displacer or piston in upward and downward motion between the two surfaces into a cycle or loop. This efficient heat engine was invented by Robert Stirling in 1816 as an alternative to steam engines at that time and a great contribution in heat engine technology.

Stirling Engine Basics Explained

An ideal model for understanding the basics of a Stirling engine consists of a closed cylinder containing two metal surfaces (aluminium) at top and bottom of the cylinder. A displacer is placed between the two plates which is connected to a flywheel through a wire to transfer mechanical energy during upward motion. When one plate is heated for example; bottom plate, the air near that plate expands and causing the displacer to move upward. On the other hand flywheel is connected to a small piston which takes the mechanical energy from flywheel and push the displacer to aid in downward motion. When displacer reaches top position the small piston moves downward enabling the compress air to fill in the cylinder and push the displacer downward. Making a loop of upward and downward motion of both displacer and piston, resulting in the circular motion of flywheel.

Npower reveals nearly half of businesses want the Carbon Reduction Commitment scrapped

Npower has conducted new research revealing that, on the first anniversary of its implementation, UK businesses want the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC) scrapped.

The research reveals that companies not only want to see an end to the scheme, but over a quarter (29%) also said they do not think the Carbon Reduction Commitment will help the UK meet its carbon reduction targets - one of its key aims.

The government proposed several changes to the scheme as part of its Comprehensive Spending Review and as such, financial incentives which were originally included in the scheme were removed. Nearly half of businesses (43%) said they want financial incentives reintroduced and 40% of organisations said that now the CRC is effectively a tax, there is no incentive for businesses to reduce their carbon emissions - another important reason why the scheme was introduced in the first place.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Man Arrested Over Electricity Meter Scam

Man Arrested Over Electricity Meter Scam

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Sky News investigation team

A 25-year-old housing officer has been arrested after a Sky News investigation into electricity meter fraud.

Read on Sky News

Energy bills to rise because of Libya and Japan turmoil

The leap in prices follows the ongoing political crisis in the Middle East and a surge in demand in Japan, when nuclear plants were shut down after the earthquake last month.

Consumer groups said that the “Big Six” energy firms were rushing to pass on the rise in wholesale fuel costs to households.

New price hikes could be added to consumers' bills by the start of the summer, some experts say.

The price of wholesale gas has jumped by a third in the past two months, while wholesale electricity prices have risen by 40 per cent in the last year.

Germany to end nuclear power by 2020

The German government plans to phase out all nuclear power plants in the country by 2020, a decision that could cost millions of euros in losses every year for the utility industries.

“A decision has been taken to shut down eight plants before the end of this year and they definitely won't be reactivated. And the remaining nine will be shut down by the end of the decade," Juergen Becker, Germany's deputy environment minister, told Reuters on Monday.

“Japan has shown that even if there is a miniscule occurrence, the residual risk is too high to justify the continuation of nuclear power.... It is better to go for other energy services in a civilized country," he said.

Charterhouse close on £550m Wood Mackenzie deal with Candover

The £550m sale of energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie to Charterhouse, the secretive private equity firm, may be announced on Monday in what would be the biggest UK private equity deal this year


Charterhouse, which has entered exclusive negotiations to buy Wood Mackenzie from rival private equity firm Candover, has been given until the end of Monday to complete the deal, according to people close to the situation.

On Sunday, sources said they were expecting a deal to be announced on Monday morning or early Tuesday.

Wood Mackenzie, which is chaired by Sir George Mathewson, former Royal Bank of Scotland chairman, provides research and consultancy services for energy giants such as Shell and BP.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Npower reveals nearly half of businesses want the Carbon Reduction Commitment scrapped

Npower has conducted new research revealing that, on the first anniversary of its implementation, UK businesses want the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC) scrapped.

The research reveals that companies not only want to see an end to the scheme, but over a quarter (29%) also said they do not think the Carbon Reduction Commitment will help the UK meet its carbon reduction targets - one of its key aims.

The government proposed several changes to the scheme as part of its Comprehensive Spending Review and as such, financial incentives which were originally included in the scheme were removed. Nearly half of businesses (43%) said they want financial incentives reintroduced and 40% of organisations said that now the CRC is effectively a tax, there is no incentive for businesses to reduce their carbon emissions - another important reason why the scheme was introduced in the first place.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

End of best energy deals lines up a problem for consumers

The average cost of the  cheapest energy bills is on the rise after several of the biggest  suppliers took their best deals off the market. The UK's main energy  suppliers withdrew a total of 14 deals last week, including some of  
their most competitive tariffs. In some cases, they were replaced by  products costing nearly £200 a year more.

In the  space of just six weeks, the cost of the average best-buy energy deal has jumped from £913 to £947. That would be higher again but for the  continued availability of the Websaver tariff from Scottish Gas, at an  average annual cost of £855, said Tom Lyon, energy expert with website

Savings on gas and electricity bills 'are being missed'

Energy customers who fail to shop around are paying £170 more a year on bills than they need to, the UK energy regulator has said.

Ofgem said people who were "not active in the market" were missing out on the best deals.

It has unveiled a new online element to its Energy Best Deal campaign.

The scheme already offers face-to-face advice on cutting bills through the Citizens Advice Bureau in England and Wales.

Brent Crude Hits Highest Levels since Financial Crisis

Brent crude oil prices hit a 2 1/2 year high and firmed at $121.06 yesterday. Concerns of a disruption in supply due to the unrests in the Middle East and the lowest US unemployment rate in two years were the major factors for this surge in oil prices. 

Last time Brent crude oil prices traded above the $120 mark was back in September 2008, right in the middle of the financial crisis. According to some analysts we have reached a “danger point” and if oil prices continue to rise global economy could suffer an inflationary shock putting global growth to a halt.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Subsea cable launch begins integration of energy markets

The first subsea electricity cable between Britain and the Netherlands opened last week, starting the integration of the UK and European energy markets.

The 260km BritNed interconnector, a joint venture by National Grid and its Dutch equivalent TenneT, began operating on 1 April, allowing up to 1GW of power to flow between the two countries.

This is the first step toward a system that could allow Britain to make the best use of its growing supply of intermittent renewable energy, as well as helping to stabilise wholesale energy prices.

Loophole in energy bill could see UK taxpayers funding nuclear bailouts

Obscure clause would make government liable for unexpected costs, despite assurances that the industry will not receive public subsidies

The coalition government is opening a legal loophole that could allow taxpayer-funded guarantees to nuclear power stations, while publicly insisting that the industry will stand on its own.

An obscure clause in the forthcoming energy bill, seen by the Guardian, means that nuclear power companies could in future be eligible for bailouts, despite ministers' repeated denials that no public subsidies would be made available. The move also threatens to open cracks in the coalition over nuclear energy, with Liberal Democrat members and grassroots opposed to the technology.

Business Energy Market Report April 2011

Our monthly analysis of the UK gas and power markets is now available on line for the month of April 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.

Read More:

Monday, 4 April 2011

UK prompt gas falls LNG supply hits record

Near-term wholesale British gas prices fell as inputs from liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals hit record highs on Monday, while curve contracts rose as oil markets rallied, traders said.

Combined inputs of gas from the terminals at Milford Haven in south Wales and Isle of Grain near London peaked at around 119 million cubic metres a day at around 0910 GMT on Monday, surpassing the previous record set on Jan. 21, 2011 when demand for gas was higher.

The huge quantity of gas being sent into the network, enough to meet about 40 percent of UK demand for Monday if the flow rate is sustained, helped drive prices for gas delivered on Monday down to 57.25 pence, compared with last week’s close of 61.20 pence, before firming to 58.80 pence at 1010 GMT.

Gas for Tuesday fell to 58 pence, with large flows from Britain’s LNG terminals and a long line of tankers queuing up to restock them offsetting low supplies through Norway’s Langeled gas pipeline.

UK Energy supplier faces class action

Controversial energy company Business Energy Solutions is facing a class action from business customers who claim to have been misled into taking on hugely expensive energy contracts.

Solicitor Christopher Newton, of Newtons Solicitors in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, told Financial Mail he had been contacted by several businesses unhappy about their dealings with BES and energy broker Commercial Power, both of which are owned by Andrew Pilley.

Last week, Newton successfully defended a hotel business in court against attempts by BES to disconnect it in a dispute over bills.

British Gas customers targeted in identity theft scam

The bogus offer of a refund comes in an email purporting to be from British Gas. One email headed “refund notification” said the recipient was due a refund of £722.80, but would need to fax copies of a passport or driving licence in order to receive it.

It said: “After the last annual calculation of your gas and electricity activity, we have determined that you are eligible to receive a refund of 732.80 GBP. Please submit the refund request and allow us 5-7 days in order to process it.

“Please fax the following 2 documents in order to have us process your request ... a legible, colour digital photograph or scan of both sides of your government-issued ID (eg driver’s permit or passport).”

Friday, 1 April 2011

IBM says inefficient IT hardware wastes a third of all a business's electricity

For every £1 spent on electricity in an organisation, 32p is wasted, according
to IBM. The computer manufacturer is urging the UK government to scrutinise the
energy efficiency of IT equipment as a way to cut public spending dramatically.

An IBM white paper states: "40% of an average business's total energy bill is
eaten up by IT and information systems equipment. Changing the underlying
configuration and design of key devices could lead to substantial savings."

According to IBM, datacentres usually consume approximately 40% of IT energy.
However 60% of IT's energy footprint is taken up by what IBM calls the
distributed environment. This covers everything from fax machines and

photocopiers to mobile working equipment and voice communications.

Ireland is not exploiting renewable energy opportunities

Gregor Alexander, finance director of renewable energy company Airtricity, believes Ireland is not maximising its potential in the development of offshore wind and marine generation.

Addressing more than 400 delegates at the annual conference of the Irish Wind Energy Association at the Four Seasons Hotel, Dublin, Alexander said Ireland is being left behind in the development of offshore wind and marine generation.

"Returns on our Irish onshore wind farms are marginal. More attractive returns are available in the UK. Of even more concern is that Ireland is being left behind in the development of offshore wind and marine generation. These technologies offer considerable export and job opportunities but Ireland is not maximising them," he said.

Alexander believes that in order to optimise the renewable energy sector in Ireland, we must widen the interconnection plans to include not only the UK, but France, as well.

German investors look to solar power and renewables for returns

Royal Bank of Scotland has seen a surge in demand from German investors for structured products linked to solar and renewable energy

The disaster at Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant has sparked Europe-wide debate about the safety of nuclear power. And now Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in Germany has seen a revival in demand from investors for structures and indexes linked to solar and renewable energy.