Friday, 31 August 2012
Thursday, 30 August 2012
Britain's wave and tidal energy industry yesterday received a major government boost to help the green technologies grow.
The Technology Strategy Board and Scottish Enterprise are investing more than £6.5m in seven research projects to support marine energy.
Between the northern tip of Scotland and the Orkney Islands is Pentland Firth, a five-mile stretch of water that marks the meeting point between the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea.
Wednesday, 29 August 2012
Four renewable energy companies which will compete for the £10m Saltire Prize have been named by Scottish ministers.
The competition was set up to encourage the development of wave and tidal energy devices in Scottish waters.
ScottishPower Renewables, Aquamarine Power, Pelamis Wave Power and MeyGen will each attempt to produce the most electricity over a two-year period, using only the power of the sea.
Projects will be launched off Lewis, in the Pentland Firth and Orkney waters.
The latest phase of the contest will run until 2017.
Tuesday, 28 August 2012
SSE has become the first of the major energy companies to introduce price increases this year.
Tariffs will increase by an average of nine per cent from the 15th October 2012 in a move that will affect the firms’ 3.4 million gas and five million electricity customers. The price rise applies to both types of tariff.
The news has sparked fears that British Gas and other energy firms will follow. When British Gas owner, Centrica announced its latest financial results in May, it said: “The trend for retail energy costs therefore remains upwards."
E.On has already promised that it will not raise energy prices in 2012. None of the other main suppliers have made such a promise.
The ß.torics system was invented by Barcelona-based German Architect André Broessel. He sought to create a solar system that could be embedded in the walls of buildings so that they may act as both windows and energy generators. But the project isn’t only noteworthy for its solar efficiency capabilities - the ß.torics system is designed to generate lunar energy too!
The spheres are able to concentrate diffused moonlight into a steady source of energy. The futuristic ß.torics system is catching a lot of attention for its clean and beautiful design. (Despite solar power’s huge potential, we haven’t seen too many beautiful solar power technologies). We’re excited to see how architects will incorporate these energy generating orbs into alternative energy agendas and future building designs!
Read more: Rawlemon’s Spherical Solar Energy-Generating Globes Can Even Harvest Energy from Moonlight | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building
Monday, 27 August 2012
Friday, 24 August 2012
Thursday, 23 August 2012
Alan MacDonald, an architect based in Inverness, says that computer-generated images of turbines in planning applications are often little more than "artifice".
Small changes in the size of the photo, the angle at which it is taken, the zoom on the camera and how it is presented can all make turbines look smaller, he said.
Wednesday, 22 August 2012
The company, formerly known as Scottish & Southern Energy, blamed "sustained increases" in the cost of using the electricity and gas networks, costs associated with mandatory Government schemes and the price it had paid for energy in the wholesale markets.
Wholesale gas charges had risen 14% year-on-year, the group said, its statement pointing to the fact SSE had met its pledge not to raise existing household tariffs until at least October 2012.
The company added that as a result of the looming price increases it would implement a new guarantee on pricing, saying it was now committed to cap household energy prices at the new level until at least the second half of 2013.
SSE said the 9% rises would add another £8.53 a month on to the typical monthly direct debit, dual fuel customer - taking the average annual bill to £1,274.
The group also announced changes to simplify bills by introducing a new fixed standard charge of £100 per year per fuel and a single unit rate for energy used.
It will offer fixed discounts off this price, which will see direct debit customers pay £40 less a year for each fuel, while prompt quarterly bill payers will get a £20 discount per fuel and those choosing paperless billing will get an extra £6 a year per fuel.
The group said it would ensure around 400,000 low-usage customers can remain on a no standard charge tariff if they wish, otherwise they could see their bills rise as a result of the changes.
Consumer groups were quick to condemn the price increases.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "We can't go through another winter with people worrying about their energy bills.
"The Government and the regulator must reform our broken energy market.
"It's time for energy prices to be properly transparent and tariffs to be made simpler, so that consumers get a fair deal."
Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com, said: "This is a serious blow for cash-strapped consumers. With winter on its way households will now have to brace themselves for higher fuel prices too.
"Last winter, over eight in ten households rationed their energy use because of cost - a round of price hikes this winter will condemn many more to this misery too."
The Government believes companies have been “profiting unfairly at the expense of [the] consumer” by overloading the national grid with electricity.
They are then able to claim “unduly high” compensation payments to switch their wind farms and power plants off when the system becomes too full.
Official estimates suggest that some companies have been over-claiming for up to five years at a cost of up to £125 million per year – the equivalent of £25 for every household in Britain.
Two of Britain’s biggest energy companies — Scottish Power and SSE, which supply energy to six million homes — have been investigated for alleged abuses by Ofgem, the regulator.
All bill-payers in Britain have to bear these extra costs, regardless of who their energy supplier is.
The future of energy in the UK was meant to be in nuclear produced power, with 5 new UK nuclear plants plants set to be up and running by 2025. With each of the five UK nuclear plants packing two reactors a piece, new nuclear power plants would provide the cornerstone of the Goverment’s decarbonisation promise, capable of producing 16 gigawatts of low-carbon private and commercial energy to the national grid, the new generation of plants would replace the older ones and provide affordable business electricity to the whole country.
Tuesday, 21 August 2012
Not only has the authority beaten its target, the scheme has cut energy costs by £1 million, and £500,000 for schools, with bosses estimating the council will save £38m by 2021.
Cllr Chas Fellows, cabinet member for environment and economy, said: "We are seeing real savings from our work to reduce CO2 emissions.
"Initiatives like part-night street lighting and our four new eco-friendly community fire stations are reducing carbon emissions, but more can be done which is why we are signing up to the Local Climate commitment."
Many homeowners have already taken steps to make their own savings, improving insulation or even installing solar panels, but recent figures have revealed that fuel poverty in Britain is still very much a concern.
According to the Department for Energy and Climate Change, there are 49,154 households living in fuel poverty in Gloucestershire, representing 13.7 per cent of homes, spending more than 10 per cent of their income on heating their properties.
Monday, 20 August 2012
The Energy Savings Trust, a non-profit organization funded by the British government, has released a new report providing insight on energy consumption habits in the United Kingdom. The report highlights the concept of “vampire energy.” The concept is simple: Plugged in electronic devices consuming energy when they are not in use. These devices, such as laptops, smart phones, and tablets, continuously draw upon electricity from an energy grid even when they are not in use and contribute to the overall cost of energy faced by consumers.
Will the lights go out? The very question gives politicians sleepless nights, alarms business and bewilders the householder. Could Britain, one of the wealthiest nations in the world, really be plunged into darkness?
Friday, 17 August 2012
Furthermore, german law dictates that 50% of electricity production in 2030 must come from renewables, 65% in 2040, and even 80% in 2050.
From its first solar power project in 1987, a restaurant powered by solar panels, energy from renewable energy sources climbed from 21% in the first half of 2011 to 25% right now.
If you had the good fortune of obtaining tickets to the Olympics, you might have inadvertently contributed to a potential breakthrough in renewable power.
Around one million or so visitors alighted at West Ham underground station to get to the Games. Access to the Olympic Park came via a tiled walkway. Nothing extraordinary there, you say. Look up and you'd have seen a row of a dozen streetlights lit around the clock. Again, nothing that surprising. A tad wasteful, even.
Yet the reality is quite the opposite. Using a hybrid technology that converts kinetic energy into electricity, the lights were powered by a uniquely original source: footsteps.
"This is the first time that there's ever been a commercial installation of this type in a real environment … using a power source that's never been tapped before", says Laurence Kemball-Cook, the brains behind the technology.
Wednesday, 15 August 2012
UK energy supplier E.ON announced to the public today that it’s reported underlying net income for the January to June period has hit £2.6bn – tripling last year’s figure of £706m. One of the so-called ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers, E.ON meet the needs of over 6 million customers, 5 million of which are in the UK and many of which are commercial energy clients. Similar to EDF (who we reported on last week) E.ON had to contend with Germany’s phasing out of nuclear power by bolstering it’s supply from renewable sources of business electricity and gas.
A new type of study to measure and monitor electricity in real-time, has shown that millions of energy consumers in Britain reached a usage much worse than previously thought.
The study calculated data from 251 monitoring systems in owner-occupied households in Britain, to analyze exactly how the energy within a home was being used.
The calculated analysis included the usage of electrical items on how much power was being used in them, when they were being used and the amount of time using them.
Analysis from the study revealed how people in the UK are growing more attached to technology, especially home entertainment. It showed that residents are watching 10 billion hours more television than originally estimated, which includes large amounts of energy consumption on a daily basis.
Tuesday, 14 August 2012
Anyone impressed by the efficient way in which Britain has organised the Olympic Games might consider the stark contrast provided by the shambles of our national energy policy – wholly focused as it is on the belief that we can somehow keep our lights on by building tens of thousands more wind turbines within eight years. At one point last week, Britain’s 3,500 turbines were contributing 12 megawatts (MW) to the 38,000MW of electricity we were using. (The Neta website, which carries official electricity statistics, registered this as “0.0 per cent”).
It is 10 years since I first pointed out here how crazy it is to centre our energy policy on wind. It was pure wishful thinking then and is even more obviously so now, when the Government in its latest energy statement talks of providing, on average, 12,300MW of power from “renewables” by 2020.
Everything about this is delusional. There is no way we could hope to build more than a fraction of the 30,000 turbines required. As the windless days last week showed, we would have to build dozens of gas-fired power stations just to provide back-up for all the times when the wind is not blowing at the right speed. But, as more and more informed observers have been pointing out, the ministers and officials of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) seem to live in a bubble of unreality, without any practical grasp of how electricity is made, impervious to rational argument and driven by an obsession that can only end in our computer-dependent economy grinding to a halt.
The latest attempt to get them to face reality is by Prof Gordon Hughes, a former senior adviser on energy to the World Bank, now a professor of economics at Edinburgh, whose evidence to the Commons committee on energy and climate change has now been published on the website of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. His most shocking finding is that the pursuit of our Climate Change Act target – to reduce Britain’s CO2 emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 – would cost us all £124 billion by 2020, or £5,000 for every household in the land: not just to build tens of thousands of absurdly subsidised wind turbines, but also for the open-cycle gas-fired power stations needed to provide back-up. To guarantee the same amount of power from combined-cycle gas-fired plants would cost £13 billion, barely a tenth as much.
Monday, 13 August 2012
Friday, 10 August 2012
Prisoners paid £15 a day to man phones in solar panel call centre, but union boss says move has cost jobs
Prisoners are being paid £15 a day to work in a call centre selling ‘green’ solar panels and home insulation to the public.
The inmates reportedly include a killer and a fraudster, and customers will have no idea they are talking to a serving prisoner.
The Ministry of Justice has struck a controversial deal to give the inmates work experience at the South Wales environmental roofing company Becoming Green.
A NEW water-based salt battery with the potential to change the world of sustainable energy has been created by Murdoch University researchers.
The battery, developed by researchers from Murdoch’s School of Chemical and Mathematical Sciences provides an alternative to the expensive and impractical power storage technologies used today.
Researchers tested various metals and phosphates to produce a cost-effective battery with high energy density made from manganese dioxide and a novel olivine sodium phosphate.
Senior research fellow and project leader Dr Manickam Minakshi says the challenge was to find material for cathodes and anodes capable of accommodating sodium’s ionic size (which is two and a half times larger than that of lithium).
“Ions travel out of the cathode and into the anode to form a current,” Dr Minakshi says.
“As an imperfect analogy, you can think of them as mesh filters that ions pass through.
“We had to find materials with larger gaps in their mesh.”
Large scale urban regeneration projects, sustainability in design, operation and equipment provision, and high-value opportunities in growth markets will provide opportunities in the infrastructure sector, according to the government.
The UK Trade & Investment Infrastructure Summit, being held at Lancaster House in London today, will feature a speech by chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, who will set out progress on measures to provide guarantees for major UK infrastructure projects.
The so-called UK Guarantees programme could potentially support up to £40 billion of investment, with the Green Deal - the largest ever programme for investing in the energy efficiency of our housing stock - expected to be an early candidate for this programme.
According to a release from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Alexander will say: "We are looking at whether and how a guarantee could help ensure that the finances are in place to get the programme off to a very strong start. The deals my colleagues are announcing show that the UK is already in a strong position and the work we are doing on infrastructure will strengthen this further still.”
Ahead of the summit, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said: "This is an exciting time for the UK infrastructure sector -companies are winning contracts across the world as British skills and expertise are becoming a trademark of the industry’s excellence and quality.
Thursday, 9 August 2012
86 regulations are being scrapped and 48 improved by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), in an exercise that it claims will save business over £20m a year.
The regulations being modified join simplifications to the European Emissions Trading Scheme and the Carbon Reduction Commitment, which have already been announced, as efforts to reduce the administrative 'burden on business'.
They include the streamlining of the Offshore Chemicals Regulations, which controls the use and discharge of chemicals from offshore installations. The Department claims that the environment will continue to enjoy the same level of protection despite the changes.
Many of the rules are obscure or in need of modernisation in any case, such as one used to resolve disputes between licence holders and landowners for the presence of overhead electric lines on private land. "They will be updated to ensure the rights and interests of both sides are appropriately balanced whilst reducing the costs and other burdens on parties," DECC said in a statement.
Wednesday, 8 August 2012
Ahead of it’s expected launch at the end of 2012, the UK government has announced it has assigned £100m for investment in commercial energy efficiency projects. The body set up to lay the foundations for the bank, UK Green Investments (UKGI) has today been revealed to have earmarked the entirety of the £100m figure to improve non-domestic and commercial energy efficiency initiatives throughout Britain.
Tuesday, 7 August 2012
Our monthly analysis of the UK gas and power markets is now available on line for the month of August 2012. 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.