Friday, 30 September 2011

Energy giant SSE gives firms online access to consumption data

Dubbed Business Energy Centre (BEC), the service means customers will no longer have to email or call in to request information about consumption.

"The old manual service was labour intensive. We wanted to differentiate ourselves from the competition, and provide better services to our customers by giving them presentable and engaging data," said Phil Collard, SSE's head of business and operational support.

The BEC will be a self-service customer portal providing usage data in addition to next-day billing.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

European supergrid would be beneficial for UK grid

Although the cost of developing such a grid would be very high, it could bring a host of benefits such as tens of thousands of new jobs in the offshore renewable energy industry and allowing the UK to become a net exporter of energy.

It would also deliver a 25% capital cost saving on connecting each offshore wind or marine farm compared to connecting site individually.

Tim Yeo, Chair of the ECCC, says: "The UK’s electricity system is the least interconnected of all European Countries – but we also have vast offshore resources of renewable energy. In fact, we potentially have enough wind, wave and tidal energy to more than match our North Sea oil and gas production and transform the country from a net energy importer to a net energy exporter.

“If we continue developing these renewable resources site-by-site it could be prohibitively expensive with large individual connections for each power plant. Developing an integrated and interconnected offshore network would allow us to tap these huge resources cost-efficiently and prepare the ground for a future European Supergrid – if it is necessary and feasible in future."

An offshore network could also provide vital support to the UK's ageing onshore grid.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

ICT sustainability initiatives slowed by 'hidden' power bills

Fujitsu in Australia has published a second edition of its ICT Sustainability: The Global Benchmark Report, which analyses the extent of green information and communications technology maturity across the globe. The headline finding of the report is that lack of visibility of energy bills has slowed down sustainability initiatives.

The research is based on 1,000 responses to 80 questions in an online survey about ICT sustainability policies, behaviour and technologies. The respondents were chief information officers (CIO) and ICT managers in large IT-using organisations across industry sectors in Australia, Canada, China, India, New Zealand, UK and the US.

The overall ICT sustainability index measured by the research across all countries and all industry sectors has declined slightly in the last year. It's down from 56.4 to 54.3 (out of a 100). It wasn't particularly good in the first place, but now it looks like organisations may be losing what focus on ICT energy efficiency they had, with existing projects slowing down.

The cause is put down to the fact that the majority of respondents were not aware of how much power ICT consumes. Only one in seven ICT departments includes the power cost in its budget. Performance was significantly higher for the small proportion (less than 15%) who did take responsibility for ICT-specific power – mostly larger companies.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Cut Your Business Energy Bills By 25%

Energy efficiency and energy management are the trending topics of the UK energy industry these days. By trending topics I mean that these two terms are the subject of discussion in many board meetings of small, medium and large corporations across the UK, but according to the Carbon Trust there are still a high number of businesses overlooking them. 

According to the Carbon Trust; industrial, commercial and public sector organisations can save up to 25% on their energy bills by taking energy management and energy efficiency more seriously.

Reasons behind rising energy bills are extensive and challenging

EDF Energy became the last of the big six providers to increase its prices this week. From November, the French-owned supplier will raise the cost of its electricity by 4.5% and gas by 15.4%, meaning the average bill, for gas and electricity, from the company will jump by £120 to £1,165.

Mike O'Connor, chief executive of Consumer Focus, said: "This not unexpected news means more consumers making tough decisions as we head into the colder months and millions of people cutting back on other essentials if they want to keep warm."

EDF Energy surprised sceptics when it admitted that the public had lost trust in the energy industry and called for a Competition Commission inquiry to rebuild customer confidence. "We recognise there remains a widespread lack of understanding and suspicion of the industry as a whole, among the public, customers in general, politicians, regulators and others," said Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy.

Energy companies 'want inquiry'

Three of the UK's big six power companies want a competition inquiry into the gas and electricity market as a way to restore customer confidence.

Having previously opposed any investigation, the change of heart follows an attack this week by Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, who accused the industry of predatory pricing following a big hike in gas and electricity bills this autumn.

According to the Financial Times (FT), npower, part of German group RWE, now believes that mistrust of the industry by the public is such that a formal investigation may be the only way to restore it.

Volker Beckers, chief executive of RWE npower, said what is needed now is clarity and that if a Competition Commission inquiry achieves that clarity then "let's get on with it".

He added: "We have nothing to hide."

Another German owned group, E.ON, is also now said to want an inquiry following Mr Huhne's comments, saying it may be the only option to get out of "this situation of distrust".

French-owned group EDF was the first of the large power suppliers to advocate a referral earlier this month.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Chris Huhne? He's full of hot air

The other day, I popped into an energy shop. I needed three bags of electricity and a punnet of gas. Then, because I'm an eco kind of girl, I picked up a bottle of wind as well.

Came to 12 quid! Can you believe it? I dumped the lot on the floor in a huff and went to Tesco, where they do a "gas family pack" for a fiver. It's more than I need, it's wrapped in nasty plastic and I'm not at all sure it's organic – but you can't argue with a massive price difference.

That didn't really happen. Or, at least, it only happened in the mind of Chris Huhne, who (according to the Times) has complained that people "do not bother" shopping around for energy supplies. So we only have ourselves to blame if we're going skint on the costs.

People, Chris Huhne reportedly opined, "spend less time shopping around for a bill that's on average more than £1,000 a year than they would shop around for a £25 toaster".

But let me ask you, Mr Huhne, at the risk of sounding like Lewis Carroll: what is the difference between gas and a toaster?

Faked phone call traps Alison into unwanted E.on contract

Not sure what is worse here - a blatantly doctored recording that tricked someone into a costly and unwanted energy contract, or the fact that the energy supplier refused to listen to the victim.

The saga began when shopkeeper Alison Gardner (below) was phoned by a caller named Shane who claimed to be from E.on, her existing supplier.

UK gas prises will rise in order to compete with Asia

As news breaks that a major UK Shale gas find by Caudrilla could reduce our dependency on LNG, Energy Brokers Catalyst have predicted that UK gas prices are to rise toward the end of the year, because of higher demand of LNG supplies in Asia.

Since the Japanese earthquake and nuclear disaster, back in March, global LNG has been squeezed as many supplies have been diverted to countries affected by the disaster.

Spice utility support announces growth strategy

UK utility support services firm Spice has unveiled its growth strategy and announced it will now be called EnServe Group following its £251.1m buyout in 2010.

The new name forms part of Spice's strategy to double the business size over the next four years under its new corporate identity. It was acquired in December 2010 by European buyout firm Cinven, which appointed former Centrica chief executive and ex Manchester United chairman Sir Roy Gardner as chairman.

It is anticipated that Sir Gardner will support Spice's future growth through organic expansion, acquisitions and by proving a broader geographic outlook.

Commenting on the decision, EnServe chief executive David Owens said: "The EnServe strategy is to double in size over the next four years, while ensuring that we exceed our customers' service expectations.

Complicated energy bills even baffle accountants

The tariffs on energy bills are so complicated that even an accountant could not calculate how much they should pay, new research has revealed.
With all six major energy providers having recently revealed rises in the price of their gas and electricity ahead of the winter, millions of households should be working out exactly what they pay and whether it is worth switching to a new supplier.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Insight warms to solar power opportunity

Insight Investment, a large pension fund manager in the UK, is considering an investment in a solar power fund that promises steady, inflation-linked returns for up to 25 years - an investment that, if made, would represent a rare public commitment by a big institution to the renewable energy source in the UK.

Insight is in talks with Solar Capital, a new venture founded by Angus Fraser, a former Ernst & Young partner and entrepreneur. Fraser's company has been running for about six months, buying and installing solar panels, but to date has been operating at the level of "tens of millions [of pounds]", he said.

Fraser added: "We are still at the exploratory stage with Insight, but if someone like that did decide to invest, we could take it to hundreds of millions [of pounds]."

Solar Capital is one of a number of start-up firms that have sought to take advantage of the UK's "feed-in tariff" policy, which came into force in April 2010. Under the scheme, electricity providers have to pay building owners who feed electricity back into the grid. For those who install solar panels, the tariffs last for 25 years and are linked to the retail prices index.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Broker snap: Uncertainties surround Drax, says Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse has cut its target price for power provider Drax from 400p to 350p, highlighting uncertainties surrounding regulation and the economy.

The stock has been relatively immune to the summer global sell-off, rising 32% over the year to date on the back of rising clean dark spreads (gross margins) and consensus earnings upgrades, the broker said.

While Credit Suisse has upped its 2012 earnings per share forecasts by 29%, it believes that dark spreads have peaked: “We do not see much further upside potential for UK gas prices, but we are bullish on coal, and the CO2 floor - introduced by the government from 2013 - will progressively raise costs.”

UK's Centrica buys Texas energy retailer for $270 mln

British utility Centrica (LSE: CNA.L - news) agreed to buy Texas-based energy retailer First Choice Power from smaller U.S. peer PNM Resources (NYSE: PNM - news) for $270 million in cash, as the UK firm looks to expand and strengthen its North American customer base.

Irving, Texas-based First Choice Power, a wholly owned unit of PNM Resources, has more than 220,000 residential and commercial electricity customers in Texas, Centrica's unit Direct Energy said in a statement.

Direct Energy said the acquisition would take the total number of its electricity customer accounts in the state to more than 830,000.

£760m green energy scheme could revive Birmingham industry

A £760 million investment in green energy could kick-start a new era in Birmingham’s manufacturing history, Birmingham City Council has claimed.

A Green Energy Savers programme will see 114,000 houses, public buildings and commercial properties in the city retrofitted with solar panels and other energy saving measures over the next 15 years.

It is the most ambitious of measures being taken by the city council to reduce Birmingham’s carbon footprint by 60 per cent by 2026.

The scheme will see the city council borrow money to buy and install solar panels on a small number of properties, then use cash generated under a Feed In Tariff scheme and its replacement the Government’s new Green Deal initiative to both finance further loans and reinvest in an increasing number of properties

Read More

Thursday, 22 September 2011

E.ON will cut 500 support jobs

Energy giant E.ON is to cut 500 jobs in its UK support functions to reflect the "changed nature of the business" following the sale of its distribution arm earlier this year.

The company said it is seeking up to 500 voluntary redundancies, likely to impact mainly at its head office in Coventry and other sites near Nottingham.

The announcement follows the sale of E.ON's distribution arm, Central Networks, in March and the subsequent concentration on the customer-facing business.
Chief executive Paul Golby said: "We had to undertake a deep and rigorous review of how much money we spend in order to ensure we keep costs as low as possible for our customers, become a more agile organisation and build a sustainable business in the UK.

"While I'm very aware that this will be a difficult time for our colleagues, it is our aim to keep uncertainty to a minimum and to achieve these redundancies by voluntary means."

Government Set for £197M Tax Windfall from Energy Price Rises

The Government is set to rake in a £197 million VAT windfall from rises in domestic gas and electricity prices, it can be revealed today.

The independent price comparison website said this will take the annual VAT take from domestic energy to £1.5 billion because of recent bill increases – and called for the VAT rate on power to be cut from 5% to 4% to give back the money to hard-pressed customers.

Mark Todd, director of, said: “It may alarm, if not anger people to find out that the UK Government will scoop a VAT windfall of £197million from the recent round of energy price rises.

Gas field to turn Blackpool into Dallas-on-sea

The huge scale of a natural gas field discovered under the north-west of England has been revealed, potentially revolutionising the UK's energy outlook and creating thousands of jobs, but environmental groups are alarmed at the controversial method by which the gas is extracted.

Preliminary wells drilled around Blackpool have uncovered 200 trillion cubic feet of gas – equal to the kind of recoverable reserves of big energy exporting countries such as Venezuela, according to Cuadrilla Resources, a small energy company which has the former BP boss Lord Browne on its board. It said up to 800 more wells might be drilled in the region, creating 5,600 jobs and promising a repeat of the "shale gas revolution" that swept the US, sending local energy prices spinning downwards.

Even if only a relatively small fraction of gas could be exploited, it could trigger an rush of drilling in other parts of the UK at a time when Britain is running out of North Sea reserves.

Video - Shale gas harvesting could create 5,000 jobs

An energy firm which has been test drilling for shale gas in Lancashire has said it could create 5,000 jobs across the UK.

Cuadrilla Resources began testing for gas on the Fylde Coast in March, using a technique known as "fracking".

In a meeting in Blackpool on Wednesday, it said it has found a significant amount of gas and hopes to begin drilling commercially within two years.  The controversial technique involves the hydraulic fracturing of the ground using high-pressure liquid containing chemicals to release the gas.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

UK Homeowners with Solar Power can cut their electricity bills by more than £200 a year

Solar power company A Shade Greener ( are a South Yorkshire based renewable energy company offering free installations of domestic solar PV systems in the Yorkshire and Midland areas. They are one of the UK's largest operators with over 4,000 domestic installs to their name.

The survey was carried out by fitting 32 import/export meters on a random selection of its newest 18 panels installations to keep a real-time check on exactly how much of the electricity produced by the solar panels is being used by the homeowner and how much goes back to the grid. The meter readings used for these results were checked by an independent third party.

UK Business Gas Prices to Rise Before 2012

Earlier this month we reported that wholesale gas prices were on the rise again, due to a series of factors. Now as we approach the winter with the need for heating in the UK, demand on the rise in Europe, as well as Asia, the predictions are that UK gas prices will increase towards the end of the year. 

One of the main reasons of this rise is the diversion of LNG cargos to Asia, where prices and demand are higher, which will then force the UK and Europe to put their prices up in order to compete.

Chris Huhne halts 'dash for gas' to keep UK on course for carbon targets

The UK's "dash for gas" will be halted by the government because if unchecked it would break legally binding targets for carbon dioxide emissions, Chris Huhne, energy and climate change secretary, said on Monday evening.

"We will not consent so much gas plant so as to endanger our carbon dioxide goals," he told a fringe meeting at the Liberal Democrats party conference in Birmingham.

The number of gas-fuelled power plants is increasing rapidly because they are fast and cheap to build compared with alternatives. They also create about half the carbon emissions of coal-powered plants and have been seen as a "transition fuel", helping smooth the path to zero-carbon electricity.

Barry Neville, director of public affairs at Centrica, which owns British Gas, said: "Gas is a critical part of the fuel mix, it's a transition fuel. At this moment in time it is crucial to the UK, as is nuclear and as are renewables.

But climate change campaigners have warned that too much gas capacity is being built, meaning either the carbon budgets intended to help tackle global warming would be broken, or the gas plants would be left as stranded assets.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

U.K. Business Increases Sustainability

U.K. companies rapidly increased the sustainability of their business practices over the last 12 months of data collection, according to a report by sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future.

Sustainable Business 2011 shows that in the latest year for which data is available – 2010 for most firms – the number of U.K. companies gaining environmental management certification rose 13.6 percent, the number publishing sustainability reports jumped 18.8 percent, and the number of workers and graduates with sustainability skills and knowledge increased by nearly 4.9 percent.

However, despite progress in many areas, the report finds that “U.K. plc” is nowhere near the path to achieving government targets for an 80 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. On the contrary, in the latest reported year industrial carbon emissions actually increased 2.4 percent, industrial energy intensity increased 1.5 percent, and the carbon intensity of U.K. grid electricity and off-road haulage rose 1.4 percent and 2 percent respectively.

Dong aims to buy Shell's industrial and commercial gas retail business

A spokesman for the Danish firm told Utility Week it was not true that the acquisition was a done deal but admitted both parties were in negotiations. "If those negotiations are finalised we will issue a stock market statement" he said. That was likely to be "weeks not days" away, he added.

Shell would not comment on the story. The firm currently has an I&C market share of around 10 per cent, making it the UK's fourth largest industrial and commercial gas supplier behind Centrica, Total and Eon.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Free Audit Now Available for Businesses to Stop Utility Mischarging, Announces Energy Specialist Simon Binks

Energy specialist Simon Binks today announces a revolutionary computer programme he has designed to help small businesses claim back money from powerful utility companies, uncovering a billing system which is ‘endemically flawed’.

The expert behind the project, energy specialist Simon Binks, spent a decade investigating the complex way utility companies charge customers and developed the software to indentify errors. He is now warning businesses to urgently audit their energy bills to ensure they are not being overcharged after his programme exposed hundreds of examples where businesses had been 'ripped off'. The software uses a complex mathematical algorithm to analyse energy bills and has already been successful in claiming back tens of thousands for commercial customers who were unaware they were paying too much for their energy. Others have been undercharged in error and have faced back-dated bills for thousands of pounds.

Energy procurement: how to manage the challenge of rising energy bills

The spiralling price of energy in recent years has turned from a headache into a full-blown migraine for many UK organisations across both the public and private sector. Indeed, with the expected increase to even higher prices, driven by the volatility of the global market, the health of an organisation's balance sheet – not to mention its ethical reputation – may well be determined by its expenditure on energy in the decade ahead. In short, the pain is set to continue.

The good news is that there are 'over the counter' purchasing solutions that an organisation can take to alleviate the discomfort. By adopting a creative energy procurement strategy, organisations can save a significant sum that may represent the difference between insolvency and survival.

Wind farm paid £1.2 million to produce no electricity

The amount is ten times greater than the wind farm's owners would have received had they actually generated any electricity.

The disclosure exposes the bizarre workings of Britain's electricity supply, prompting calls last night for an official investigation into the payments system.

The £1.2 million will go to a Norwegian company which owns 60 turbines in the Scottish Borders.

The National Grid asked the company, Fred Olsen Renewables, to shut down its Crystal Rig II wind farm last Saturday for a little over eight hours amid fears the electricity network would become overloaded.

The problem was caused by high winds buffeting the country in the wake of Hurricane Katia.

Friday, 16 September 2011

What ‘The Green Economy Means’ for UK Businesses

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

The compilations of documents was entitled “Enabling the Transition to a Green Economy” and were developed by Defra, BIS and DECC in response to the requests from the private sector for more clarity with regards to how the government plans to guide the UK economy towards a low carbon future.
These documents include policies and how they were put together, outlines for businesses to play their role in the transition so they are prepared for new growth opportunities, job creation and how to capitalise on the upcoming changes.

Including a timeline for the key policies and investments; a document for SMEs on what the transition means for them; three case studies highlighting how the chemicals, food and drink and automotive sectors are responding to the issues of moving to a green economy, together with additional guidance.

UK Business Gas Prices Slide

British gas prices fell on Wednesday morning as weaker oil prices and returning supplies from outage-hit North Sea fields over the next week steered prompt and forward contracts lower.

Gas flows from BP’s Teesside terminal are expected to improve from this weekend, the operator said, signalling at least a partial end to offshore maintenance on fields feeding the terminal.

BG’s North Sea Armada, Everest and Lomond platforms, which feed gas to Teesside, shut down for planned maintenance last week.

Gas for immediate delivery retraced opening losses, trading unchanged at 55.75 pence-per-therm at 0930GMT, despite inadequate supplies caused by a reduction in Norwegian imports.

Gas for delivery next week fell one quarter of a penny to 57 pence.

UK NBP day-ahead gas bucked the downward trend, rising nearly half a penny higher to 55.75 pence.

The contract shrugged off bearish pressures such as the return of the UK-Netherlands gas interconnector which could boost supplies.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Video - EDF Energy to put up gas prices by 15%

EDF Energy is to raise gas prices by 15.4% and electricity prices by 4.5% from 10 November, the company has announced.

It is the last of the "big six" energy companies to announce increases in prices for domestic customers.

It said it had absorbed wholesale price rises for as long as possible before being forced to raise costs for customers.
Regulator Ofgem is studying whether higher prices are justified.

Video - Npower Market Report – 14th September 2011

Video - The Energy Event 2011

The Energy Event 2011 - Businesses need help and guidance in pricing and complex legislation; see and hear what Hendry has to say along with visitors to the show.

Graphic: Map of the UK's energy infrastructure

Map shows the energy generation and distribution network in the UK as of 2010.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Solar-Panel Researchers Need Your Computer

A team of researchers from universities across America are rooting through millions of molecules to hunt down a material that can create efficient and cost-effective solar cells — and they need your computer power to do it.
Currently, the cost of electricity from silicon solar cells is about ten times that of other energy sources. So to put solar on level pegging researchers are hunting down organic materials that have a conducting efficiency of 10 to 15 percent and an average lifetime of more than a decade.

Organic cells also have the ability to be molded into different shapes, they can be made semi-transparent and are much lighter than inorganic materials. They’re cheaper and easier to produce, too, and are non-hazardous.

Save £1,000s On Business Energy With Heat Recovery

Heat recovery is one of the most efficient thermodynamic technologies that could help businesses save thousands of pounds each year on their energy bills. According to the Carbon Trust, each year millions of pounds leak out from UK businesses in the form of wasted heat, which was the main reason they published “Heat Recovery – A guide to key systems and applications”.

Their guide helps businesses identify whether there is the possibility of recovering heat from their electrical equipment and reusing it in other areas of their business. Thereby they could reduce their business energy consumption by as much as 30%, whilst lowering their carbon emissions.

Clearly heat recovery is one of the most promising business energy efficient options out there but due to high investment costs many companies have overlooked it. This is the reason why the Carbon Trust went into partnership with Siemens and created a £550 million fund to finance energy efficient equipment for businesses that are willing to invest in the technology.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

High winds lead UK to halt turbines for third night

Britain's energy network operator National Grid stopped a number of wind turbines in Scotland for a third consecutive night on Monday, the operator said, as high winds threatened to cause an overload in power output and block the grid.

"There was some curtailment again last night due to high wind generation and low demand - 650 MW (megawatts), about 13 wind farms," a spokesman for National Grid said.

On Saturday and Sunday night, 750 MW and 300 MW of wind capacity was shut down as remnants of hurricane Katia hit the British mainland, creating wind speeds of 75-80 miles per hour.

When high power output from wind farms, mainly located in Scotland, coincides with low electricity demand periods at night, the local transmission network overloads. In these scenarios National Grid cuts off a number of wind farms to ease congestion.

Barclays Farms £100 Million For Clean Energy

Is there green in green power for green growers? The U.K. bank Barclays thinks so, announcing a £100 million fund (about $160 million at current exchange rates) to help farmers embrace renewable energy, including wind, solar and hydro.

“What farmers see is a win-win – lower costs and increased income, and the majority expect the investment to pay for itself in under 10 years,” said Travers Clarke-Walker, product and marketing director for Barclays Business. “Meaning they are looking forward to many further years of lower energy costs and a potentially new income as they sell energy back to the grid.”

Monday, 12 September 2011

'Leak risk after explosion at French nuclear plant'

There is a risk of a radioactive leak after a blast at the southern French nuclear plant of Marcoule, media reports say.

One person was killed and three were injured in the explosion, following a fire in a storage site for radioactive waste, Le Figaro newspaper said.

Google guzzles 2.3b kilowatt-hours of electricity a year

Stung by concerns that using Google is bad for the planet, the internet search giant has revealed exactly how much electricity the company uses and how much greenhouse gases it produces in an effort to show its business model is environmentally friendly.

Experts say it's true: watching a video on Google's YouTube site is indeed more energy-efficient than watching a DVD that had to be manufactured, packaged, shipped and purchased.

Talking about sustainability is a popular marketing tool, but Google has made renewable energy and environmental protection part of both its corporate identity and its operations in a way that is unique in corporate America. Google's philanthropic arm funds projects aiming to make renewable energy cheaper than coal power.

The company purchases large blocks of renewable energy directly from power generators. Google has invested nearly $US1 billion in renewable energy projects, including wind farms in North Dakota, California, and Oregon, solar projects in California and Germany, and the beginnings of a transmission system off the East Coast in the US meant to foster the construction of offshore wind farms.

EnergyHub manages home power consumption

Interested in a home energy management system but don’t want to buy it from a specific utility company or heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) contractor? EnergyHub has begun selling an option that can be bought independently by consumers or homeowners. The company is pitching the technology as a way for consumers to save hundreds of dollars on their electricity bills each year by being smarter about consumption habits.

The system includes the HomeBase, which is the gateway that collects information from compatible thermostats and devices. The EnergyHub Socket adapter connects individual appliances into the system. (I don’t know about you, but it looks to me like the Socket product is a bit bulky, which could be a challenge for people who have their appliances wedged back into tight areas of their home. But I digress.) There are also Strips and Thermostats that can communicate with the Home Base.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Google discloses its carbon footprint for the first time

Google has today published its energy usage figures, revealing that its CO2 footprint – at almost 1.5m tonnes per year – is all down to the cloud: doing more with less.
The move comes after a report released earlier this year from Greenpeace How Dirty is Your Data report looked at global cloud companies' energy footprint, analysing what it called IT's biggest disruption - cloud.

At the time, Apple topped the league in the Greenpeace report for its reliance on coal power (54.5pc), closely followed by Facebook at 53.2pc and IBM at 51.6pc. Next in line was HP at 49.4pc, followed by Twitter at 42.5pc, Google at 34.7pc, Microsoft at 34.1pc, Amazon at 28.5pc and Yahoo! at 18.3pc.

Google, however, announced today that in providing everything from Google+ to Gmail, YouTube its servers use less energy per user than a light left on for three hours.

"And, because we've been a carbon-neutral company since 2007, even that small amount of energy is offset completely, so the carbon footprint of your life on Google is zero," said Urs Hoelzle, senior vice-president, Technical Infrastructure on the Google Green site.

Opus Energy signs Virgin Media as impressive growth continues

Independent energy supplier to UK businesses, Opus Energy, has today announced the signature of its 100,000th business site, Virgin Media. The business joins a portfolio of market-leading brands which includes Paperchase, Allied Irish Bank (GB), University of Cambridge, Halfords and KPMG, amongst others.

Opus’ success comes at a time when the energy regulator, Ofgem, is looking for ways to decrease the dominance of the ‘Big Six’ energy providers and demonstrates that independent suppliers can thrive. The company’s Corporate division, experienced 28% growth from this time last year and continues to expand rapidly.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

UK #business gas prices lifted by tight supply as LNG flows idle

British prompt gas prices rose on Thursday morning as supply fell short of demand after two liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals fell practically idle and Norway diverted supplies to Germany.

UK NBP gas for immediate delivery rose 1.45 pence per therm on Thursday, at 59.45 pence, and gas for delivery next week rose 1.25 pence at 58.25 pence on the day.

Prices turned bullish as the transmission system ran 13 million cubic meters/day short of gas amid broad-based supply losses from offshore fields.

Supply from the Teesside BP and Bacton Shell terminal were at zero, while Dragon LNG flows ceased and Isle of Grain LNG contributions hovered above zero.

Energy Market Report Sep11:

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

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Jobs blow for Darwen firm Bglobal

SMART metering company Bglobal has announced jobs will be lost after a slump in sales.

Yesterday bosses embarked on a consultancy period with what is understood to be a significant number of staff from departments across the company.
In total, 135 people are employed at the headquarters in Commercial Road, Darwen.

Chief executive Tim Jackson-Smith said: “We’re very sorry to have to do this, but unfortunately we are having a review of jobs at Bglobal.

“Volumes are falling off in terms of installations, and we need to keep the business viable and keep the cost base down.

“When we announced our results in July, we thought this might be the case.

“We will be consulting with the employees affected and hope to get it all sorted as soon as possible for everyone concerned.”

The company revealed for the year ending March 2011, revenue increased 119 per cent to £28.99million, but it had made a pre-tax loss of £722,000 mainly due to its £12.8m acquisition of Utiligroup.

Rising UK Wholesale Gas Prices

Over the past week a series of factors forced UK wholesale gas prices to go up.  There are rumours that Norway are planning to divert Europipe 1 supply to Germany, also unexpected operational problems from ConocoPhillip’s Theddlethorpe gas terminal, amongst other factors such as Belgian LNG tankers redirected to Japan, PX’s Teesside plant scheduled maintenance outage in September and Qatargas rolling maintenance over the coming months are all contributing in the rise in UK wholesale  gas prices.

First UK offshore LNG terminal faces year delay

The commercial startup of Britain's first floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal may be delayed until 2015 from 2014 owing to regulatory hold-ups, Norwegian developer Hoegh LNG said on Monday.

A final investment decision (FID) on the 3-6 billion cubic meter/year deepwater Port Meridian import terminal has been pushed back one year to the end of 2012, Hoegh LNG's Chief Executive Officer Sveinung Støhle told Reuters.

Delays to FID could delay start-up of the facility to 2015, Stohle said, although the company might be able to deploy one of its two floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs) now under construction for the project.

Two FSRUs under construction are due for delivery in 2013 and 2014 from South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries.

"We have all the approvals, now we are focussing on getting customers on board in the next 6-12 months," Stohle said, referring to the UK project.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Smart Meters Fail to Save Much Energy

When smart meters first came out, people assumed that they were going to be extremely helpful for homeowners and businesses. However, it now seems that smart meters have had little impact on energy consumption. Experts say that the roll-out of these smart meters has been rushed.

The plan was for every household in the UK to be fitted with a smart meter by 2020. This was all part of the government’s master plan to help energy efficiency. So far, these smart meters have cost a lot of money, but have done very little to control energy consumption. In the end, experts say that these smart meters will cost around £11.3 billion.

This news was brought to light by a study. According to reports, this study actually took place over a 12-month period. During this time, experts watched thousands of families who were using smart meters. In the end, the study found that these smart meters had a very little impact on energy consumption.

Environment policy reforms to add £300 to energy bills

The Prime Minister has been warned that government plans to get people to reduce their bills through efficiency measures are likely to fail.

Mr Cameron’s senior energy adviser pours scorn on claims by Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary, that rises in gas and oil prices will be offset by people using less power. A note by the adviser describes his department’s analysis as “unconvincing”.

It warns that the Government’s move to increased nuclear power, wind turbines and other measures will add 30 per cent to the average family’s annual energy bill of £1,069 by the end of the decade.

Mr Cameron is said to be “very worried” about the figures in the paper, written by Ben Moxham, his senior energy adviser who was recently brought in to beef up the Prime Minister’s policy unit.

The private note, seen by The Daily Telegraph, is titled “Impact of our energy and climate policies on consumer energy bills”. It was sent to Mr Cameron and offers a blunt assessment of how Coalition energy plans, in particular a series of green policies, will affect householders.

MSP says households 'struggling' to pay energy bills

More Scottish households are struggling to pay energy bills due to rising prices, according to an MSP.

The SNP's Jamie Hepburn has obtained figures which show bills have soared in recent years.

The average household spent about 14% of income on gas and electricity in 2009, compared with 8% in 2004-5.

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) said that further increases in prices since 2009 was putting even more pressure on family budgets.

Mr Hepburn described the price increases as "scandalous" and called on the UK government to do more to help those in fuel poverty.

Energy companies ranked by number of complaints

Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) has earned top marks in the latest energy supplier league table, which ranks energy companies by the number of customer complaints they receive.

Five of the 'big six' gas and electricity suppliers saw a decrease in complaints this spring (April – June 2011), according to Consumer Focus which compiles the quarterly league table, with SSE, Eon, Npower and Scottish Power going up by one star in the ratings system as a result.

But it's not all good news - customer grievances about EDF Energy, which implemented a new billing system this year, rose 19%, putting it bottom of the league.

Laziness costing Britons £1 billion in heating

Around £1 billion is being wasted each year by UK households because they 'cannot be bothered' to insulate, an energy company has said.

Britons are set to be stung by a further rise in their gas and electricity bills, but many could be doing more to stop heat from escaping from their homes, according to E.ON.

Monday, 5 September 2011

DECC looking for WAN and software solutions for smart meter rollout

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has published two tenders on Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) to support the rollout and analysis of information from smart meters to be installed in up to 30,000 homes across the UK.

The first tender is looking for consulting, software development, internet and support and data processing services. While the second is for a wide area network and related communications services.

The first notice covers the procurement of data services for DECC to manage smart meter information from over 30 million households and businesses across the UK.

This will include development and implementation of the software solutions and hosting of the implemented software and application management services.
It will also include integrating the data services and meter communications services, and ensuring operability with the IT systems of DECC’s users.

Friday, 2 September 2011

UK Gas Prices Rocketing... Implications

UK natural gas prices are very strong this month, with 1-month forward up 16.3%. The system continues to remain tight due to volatility in Norwegian flows with the ongoing maintenance season as well as weak inflows from LNG terminals. Moreover, maintenance at Qatar LNG and the North Sea also help the prices.

Qatargas are taking their 3 largest LNG trains down for 2 weeks each between September and mid November. Will disrupt UK LNG supplies, which are nearly all uncontracted from Qatar, at the same time as Statoil was putting the Troll field (31BCM per annum) into maintenance through September (3 to 10 days).

UK Energy Profile: Now A Net Importer Of Natural Gas And Crude Oil – Analysis

The United Kingdom (U.K.) is the largest producer of oil and second-largest producer of natural gas in the European Union (E.U.).

After years of being a net exporter of both fuels, the U.K. became a net importer of natural gas and crude oil in 2004 and 2005, respectively.

Production from U.K. oil and natural gas fields peaked in the late 1990s and has declined steadily over the past several years, as the discovery of new reserves has not kept pace with the maturation of existing fields.

The U.K. government, aware of the country’s increasing reliance on imported fuels, has developed key energy policies to address the domestic production declines. These include: enhanced recovery from current and maturing oil and gas fields, ensuring energy security, promoting cooperation with Norway, and decarbonizing the U.K. economy by investing heavily in renewable energy.

Licensee to pay £14,509 electricity bill

A licensee in Cornwall has reached an out-of-court settlement with energy company Opus to pay electricity bills worth over £14,000.

Gary McNaughton, Trust Inns tenant of the New Inn, Goonhavern, said he was left with no choice but to accept the settlement after Opus told him they would demand £30,000, payable over two weeks, if he lost the case.

In January The Publican’s Morning Advertiser reported how McNaughton claimed he was "grossly mis-sold" his contract in 2004 as he was led to believe it would last one year at £319 per month. He was tied into four years and his monthly bill rose to £2,200 in January 2009 as he was put on a “rollover contract” when Opus block-ed a bid to switch supplier.

Farmers to benefit from £100m fund in renewable energy

Farmers in the UK will now be able to access a new £100 million fund to support the costs of installing large-scale renewable energy systems.

Barclays, with the help of the National Farmers Union (NFU), will provide loans to fund new solar panels, wind turbines and hydro electricity on farmland.

According to figures compiled by the bank, 37 per cent of farmers plan to invest in renewable energy, many of whom will be installing renewables in the next year, with the hope to generate returns of around £25,000 a year through the feed-in tariff (FIT).

However, the move also comes at a time when the government reduces the payment level that farmers can get through FITs, so the loan could be an additional incentive and help to reach the UK's renewable energy targets.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

NUS Consulting Acquires Viking Energy

NUS Consulting Acquires Viking Energy

The acquisition of Viking Energy Management will not only complement NUS Consulting Group's existing staff and services, but will also provide us with a strong ...

Barclays Creates 100 Million Pound Fund for Renewable Energy Projects

According to new reports, Barclays has just recently created a 100 million-pound fund to support renewable energy farm projects in the UK. For those that do not know, Barclays is actually the UK’s second-largest lender by assets. Thus, it is good to see the renewable energy industry get support from a company that is as big as Barclays.

Just recently, the UK started to reduce the incentives it pays to developers of large solar projects. This is because the UK is starting to focus more on smaller residential and commercial projects. Overall, the government would like to generate about 15 percent of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The product and marketing director of Barclays, Travers Clarke-Walker, said that farmers are looking forward to many more years of lower energy costs. Not only that, but some may be able to look at the possibility of generating some additional income by selling their energy back to the grid.

According to experts, the average size of solar projects that are likely to receive any kind of financing through this fund will be 44 kilowatts. The same will apply to wind and hydroelectric projects as well. A spokesman for Barclays, Michael O’Toole, said that the bank expects the cost of wind and solar projects to fall by half in the next three to five years.

Electricity market reform encourages new investment

In this opinion piece, Trade and Investment Advisor at the British Embassy in Madrid, Marianne Carlin, discusses the British government’s plans to reform the electricity market – which will affect more than a quarter of the UK's generating capacity – in its transition towards a low carbon economy. She believes the reforms will provide significant opportunities for renewables.