Tuesday, 30 April 2013

UK electricity demand to remain “close to flat until 2030” - Bloomberg New Energy Finance - Gas to Power Journal - Gas to Power Journal UK http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/uk-electricity-demand-to-remain-close-to-flat-until-2030-bloomberg-new-energy-finance-gas-to-power-journal-gas-to-power-journal-uk/

Presenting a pessimistic outlook on electricity demand in the UK, Mike Lawn, Head of Power and Gas, Europe and North America at Bloomberg New Energy Finance has forecast demand growth will stay “close to flat up to 2030″ as industrial demand is unlikely to recover to pre financial crisis levels.

“Our view on industrial power demand [in the UK] is that it is essentially gone. It’s gone down by about 15 percent [since 2005] and it’s not coming back,” he said at a conference organised by Gas to Power Journal in London.

Power demand tends to be predominantly driven by industrial production, Lawn stressed, and added that the latest UK forecast dampens earlier expectations that demand is likely to recover as industrial production recovers. “UK capacity from 2005 started to decline and through the financial crisis, it collapsed completely,” he said, pointing out that many industrial sites such as aluminium smelters had been closed down.

Residential power demand also set to decline

In Lawn’s view, it is unlikely that residential demand will be able to make up for the lost industrial demand. “Cold and wet appliances are just going to keep getting more efficient and we’re not going to buy anymore. In lighting, the move to LEDs is going to also dramatically reduce light demand even though uptake is likely to increase. Consumer electronics are probably going to carry on with efficiency improvements and home computing is dying away,” he said, suggesting these factors “basically leave us with the assumption that there is very little additional demand to be had in households.”

Bloomberg’s data showed that between 2000 and 2010, there was a net increase in household energy consumption of 4TWh from 80TWh to 84TWh, driven by both national household growth (4TWh) and uptake per household increase (17TWh) but held back by energy efficiency improvements (-21TWh).

For the period of 2010 to 2020 however, projections showed an overall decline in household energy consumption of 2TWh to 82TWh. In this period, national household growth (8TWh) and uptake per household increase (8TWh) are likely to be outpaced by increases in energy efficiency (-18TWh).

via UK electricity demand to remain “close to flat until 2030” – Bloomberg New Energy Finance – Gas to Power Journal – Gas to Power Journal UK.

UK electricity demand to remain “close to flat until 2030” - Bloomberg New Energy Finance - Gas to Power Journal - Gas to Power Journal UK

Monday, 29 April 2013

Japanese breakthrough as country becomes first to extract fuel from 'fire ice' reserves locked up beneath the coast http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/japanese-breakthrough-as-country-becomes-first-to-extract-fuel-from-fire-ice-reserves-locked-up-beneath-the-coast/

Japan has become the first country in the world to succeed in extracting methane gas from a previously untapped off-shore fossil fuel resource that has been dubbed ‘fire ice’.

Methane hydrate, a sherbet-like substance buried beneath continental shelves around the world, has been tipped by energy experts to be the next major energy resource.

Consisting of methane trapped in ice, it was previously believed to only exist in the outer reaches of the solar system – but now scientists are saying it could be ‘the new shale gas’.

via Japanese breakthrough as country becomes first to extract fuel from ‘fire ice’ reserves locked up beneath the coast | Mail Online.

Japanese breakthrough as country becomes first to extract fuel from 'fire ice' reserves locked up beneath the coast

Cornish farm secures planning permission for 11MW solar farm http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/cornish-farm-secures-planning-permission-for-11mw-solar-farm/

A llama and sheep farm in Truro will also soon be harvesting the sun’s energy too after British Solar Renewables secured planning permission for an 11MW solar farm.

The proposed solar farm will incorporate approximately 45,000 solar panels across 24-hectares. The site will provide an extra revenue stream for the farm’s owner, Tom Tripp, who will continue to grave sheep across the land.

Commenting on the planned solar development, Tripp said: “We are thrilled that the solar farm has been given the go ahead. I have farmed sheep for the last 25 years and can now do so for the next 25 years. I can even graze them in the solar farm! The regular rental income it will provide will both cement our core farming business for the future and enable us to extend our llama educational, trekking and therapy offering – both things that we are very passionate about!”

via Cornish farm secures planning permission for 11MW solar farm | Solar Power Portal.

Cornish farm secures planning permission for 11MW solar farm

One giant leap for mankind: £13bn Iter project makes breakthrough in the quest for nuclear fusion, a solution to climate change and an age of clean, cheap energy http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/one-giant-leap-for-mankind-13bn-iter-project-makes-breakthrough-in-the-quest-for-nuclear-fusion-a-solution-to-climate-change-and-an-age-of-clean-cheap-energy/

An idyllic hilltop setting in the Cadarache forest of Provence in the south of France has become the site of an ambitious attempt to harness the nuclear power of the sun and stars.

It is the place where 34 nations representing more than half the world’s population have joined forces in the biggest scientific collaboration on the planet – only the International Space Station is bigger.

The international nuclear fusion project – known as Iter, meaning “the way” in Latin – is designed to demonstrate a new kind of nuclear reactor capable of producing unlimited supplies of cheap, clean, safe and sustainable electricity from atomic fusion.

If Iter demonstrates that it is possible to build commercially-viable fusion reactors then it could become the experiment that saved the world in a century threatened by climate change and an expected three-fold increase in global energy demand.

This week the project gained final approval for the design of the most technically challenging component – the fusion reactor’s “blanket” that will handle the super-heated nuclear fuel.

via One giant leap for mankind: £13bn Iter project makes breakthrough in the quest for nuclear fusion, a solution to climate change and an age of clean, cheap energy – Science – News – The Independent.

One giant leap for mankind: £13bn Iter project makes breakthrough in the quest for nuclear fusion, a solution to climate change and an age of clean, cheap energy

Share of gas in UK generation mix falls, coal rises – DECC statistics http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/share-of-gas-in-uk-generation-mix-falls-coal-rises-decc-statistics/

The share of gas in the UK’s generation mix fell from 39.9 percent in 2011 to 27.5 percent in 2012 – its lowest share in the mix since 1996 – due to high gas prices, according to statistics released on Thursday by the Department of Energy and Climate Change DECC. Coal’s share in the mix by contrast increased from 29.5 percent in 2011 to 39.3 percent in 2012. Total electricity generated in 2012 fell by 1.3 percent from 367.8TWh in 2011 to 363.2TWh in 2012.The increased demand for coal helped push UK coal imports to 44.8 million tons in 2012, an increase of 37.7 percent when compared to 2011 levels. Steam coal which is largely used for power generation accounted for 88.9 percent of all coal imports in 2012.96.1 percent of all UK steam coal imports in 2012 came from three countries: Russia 44.5 percent, Colombia 29.9 percent and the US 21.7 percent. Imports from the US almost doubled from 2011 levels, increasing by 93.5 percent to 8634 tons. Strong growth was observed in steam coal imports from Russia and Columbia as well, with 46.6 percent and 46.5 percent increases to 11,919 tons and 17,723 tons, respectively.In addition to coal, renewables also experienced growth, increasing their share of electricity generation by close to 20 percent from 9.4 percent in 2011 to a record 11.3 percent in 2012. Nuclear’s share rose by less than one percent to 19.4 percent and oil held steady at one percent.

via Share of gas in UK generation mix falls, coal rises – DECC statistics – Gas to Power Journal – Gas to Power Journal UK.

Share of gas in UK generation mix falls, coal rises – DECC statistics

Friday, 26 April 2013

RWE Npower #Renewables to reduce number of wind farm turbines but increase energy output http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/rwe-npower-renewables-to-reduce-number-of-wind-farm-turbines-but-increase-energy-output/

Energy company RWE Npower Renewables has been granted planning permission to ‘re-power’ its first onshore wind farm in the UK, reducing the number of turbines to a third while almost doubling its energy output.

Taff Ely Wind Farm is one of RWE Npower Renewables’ (RWE NRL) oldest wind farms and has been operating since 1993.

The successful application is for seven 110 meter turbines to replace the existing 20 turbines erected in 1993 in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

RWE NRL acquired the operating wind farm in 1998 and will repower the site, replacing the old wind farm with a new one consisting of larger, more effective turbines and almost doubling its energy generation.

The new wind farm will have an installed capacity of up to 17.5MW, which will provide an average annual energy production equivalent to 9,700 average UK homes.

RWE NRL has also pledged an increased community benefit fund. Depending on the final installed capacity of the site, this could see index linked annual payments of up to £87,500 invested into local communities over the operational lifetime of the wind farm, expected to be up to 25 years.

The company has already hosted a local supply chain event at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea in May 2012, to around 200 local delegates, and says it will look to build on this relationship with further development related events in the coming months.

Rob Kerr-Bonner, developer at RWE npower renewables said: “Achieving planning permission at local authority level is always welcome. We were heartened by Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council’s endorsement of our approach to developing this project and their ongoing commitment to renewable energy generation in the region.

“The de-commissioning of the existing 20 wind turbines which were installed in 1993 will mark an end of an era, however today’s modern wind turbines have moved on significantly from those currently installed. The new wind turbines are much more efficient and reliable.

via RWE Npower Renewables to reduce number of wind farm turbines but increase energy output – Wales Online.

RWE Npower #Renewables to reduce number of wind farm turbines but increase energy output

How #Google is changing the renewables game for #Apple, #Facebook http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/how-google-is-changing-the-renewables-game-for-apple-facebook/

The need to consume ever-increasing amounts of energy in their data centers — yet continue marching towards renewable energy goals — has been an ongoing challenge for Google and Apple.

Google has offset electricity needed for its centers through purchase power agreements that enable an equal amount of renewable energy to be created, yet has lamented that managing power sales and purchases on the wholesale market takes time away from its focus on building user products.

And despite Apple’s onsite generation of renewable energy, it has still had to supplement its need for renewables through buying off the grid and purchasing renewable energy certificates to offset the conventional portion, green IT experts say.

It’s a conundrum that has kept the Silicon Valley tech giants within the constraints of local utilities’ energy mix in states that don’t permit direct purchases of renewable energy.

Nowhere has this challenge been more evident than in North Carolina, an indirect access state that houses data centers for Google, Apple and Facebook as well as AT&T, Wipro and Disney. Compounding matters further is proposed legislation that would repeal the state’s renewable portfolio standard mandating that 12.5 percent of North Carolina’s energy mix come from renewable sources by 2021.

via How Google is changing the renewables game for Apple, Facebook | GreenBiz.com.

How #Google is changing the renewables game for #Apple, #Facebook

Analysts predict huge jump in #renewable energy investment http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/analysts-predict-huge-jump-in-renewable-energy-investment/

New research by analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance show that annual investment in new renewable power capacity is set to rise by anywhere from two and a half times to more than four and a half times between now and 2030.

The likeliest scenario implies a jump of 230%, to $630bn per year by 2030, driven by further improvements in the cost-competitiveness of wind and solar technologies relative to fossil fuel alternatives, as well as an increase in the roll-out of non-intermittent clean energy sources like hydro, geothermal and biomass.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s predictions for world energy markets to 2030 come from its Global Energy and Emissions Model, which integrates all of the main determinants of the energy future, including economic prosperity, global and regional demand growth, the evolution of technology costs, likely developments in policies to combat climate change, and trends in fossil fuel markets.

Together these form three scenarios: “New Normal”, “Barrier Busting” and “Traditional Territory”.

The New Normal scenario is considered the most likely. It shows the investment requirement for new clean energy assets in the year 2030 at $630bn (in nominal terms), more than three times the investment in the renewable energy capacity that was built in 2012. This 2030 investment figure is 35% higher than that produced in Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s last global forecast a year ago, and the projection for total installed renewable energy capacity by that date is 25% higher than in that previous forecast, at 3,500GW.

via Analysts predict huge jump in renewable energy investment > Business Analysis > Analysis | Click Green.

Analysts predict huge jump in #renewable energy investment

Longer-term business energy contracts ‘are cheaper’ http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/longer-term-business-energy-contracts-are-cheaper/

Businesses are being urged to sign up to three-year energy deals as they will be “better off” than those in short-term contracts.That’s the advice from an online business electricity and gas price comparison site, which revealed prices have spiralled by more than 11% on average in the past 12 months and firms that signed up to one-year contracts at the beginning of 2012 were hit the hardest by the rise.Electricity tariffs under a one-year contract cost an average 9.56p/kWh a year ago and by the time it expired in the first quarter of 2013, prices had risen by almost 15% to 10.99p/kWh, according to Energy Advice Line.In contrast, businesses on up to three-year deals at the start of 2012 would have paid slightly more for their energy then but those firms will now be paying less than average today and the low tariffs are locked in for a further two years.

via Longer-term business energy contracts ‘are cheaper’ | Energy Live News.

Longer-term business energy contracts ‘are cheaper’

Inquiry launched to ‘get to the bottom’ of UK energy subsidies http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/inquiry-launched-to-get-to-the-bottom-of-uk-energy-subsidies/

The environmental audit committee has begun an investigation into the government’s distribution of subsidies for nuclear power, fossil fuels and renewable energy.

The committee will look to define exactly what a subsidy is, while also examining whether finance is spread appropriately across the different energy sources.

This comes less than a month after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) called for a complete overhaul of global subsidies. It said the current system causes more inequality and slows down growth, instead of helping consumers.

Another recent study, by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), revealed the extent to which many wealthy nations were contradicting their fights against climate change by pumping money into fossil fuel exploration. Authors claimed the current system was “skewing the field” against green investment.

via Inquiry launched to ‘get to the bottom’ of UK energy subsidies – Blue and Green Tomorrow.

Inquiry launched to ‘get to the bottom’ of UK energy subsidies

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Energy bills to rise as coal train charges set to be increased by 25% http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/energy-bills-to-rise-as-coal-train-charges-set-to-be-increased-by-25/

Rail Regulator challenged by railfreight industry over legality of price increases

The railways were developed as a result of the industrial revolution and the ever growing need to transport heavy minerals such as iron ore and coal from mining areas to the factories and power stations. These in turn further fed the demand for coal and railways so it was seemingly an inexorably entwined relationship which has lasted just over 200 years.Coal was one of the staple revenue earners for the railways but as industry has changed, demand for coal has dropped, especially in the last 30 years and consequently, the conveyance of coal by rail has declined from pit to power station.The Office of the Rail Regulator ORR and Network Rail NR have to agree fundamental finances for the five years from April 2014 known as Control Period 5 CP5. ORR has proposed a huge hike in access charges payable by freight companies who operate long distance coal trains to the major power stations in Yorkshire.Energy bills to rise – or the end of coal trains?If these charging proposals are implemented, it is likely that power bills will have to be increased to cover the extra coasts or the bulk coal trains will be consigned to history. When this information was imparted to the industry earlier this year, some companies at the ORR briefings said that as they had been given a year’s notice of the increases, it would be cheaper to use lorries so they would order some new ones and switch from rail to road.In their own words, the ORR says that Rail freight plays an important role in Great Britain’s logistics and makes a significant contribution to the economy. Around 25% of the electricity consumed in the UK is generated by coal that has been moved by rail. A further 16% is generated by nuclear power, with spent nuclear fuel being moved by rail for disposal.

via Energy bills to rise as coal train charges set to be increased by 25% | Rail.co.uk.

Energy bills to rise as coal train charges set to be increased by 25%

Sainsbury’s sluices water use in half http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/sainsburys-sluices-water-use-in-half/

British supermarket Sainsbury’s has slashed its water use in half, saving the equivalent of 393 Olympic sized swimming pools each year.

Waterless urinals and rain water harvesting helped the orange-branded shopping giant achieve its target of a 50% relative reduction in its operational water use at the end of March. The retailer has been working with water management firm Waterscan on its water efforts.

In one example, the retailer says a leak repaired at a store in Wigan saved 21 Olympic sized swimming pools worth of water each year (53,710m3).

By installing automated meter readers (AMR) it has been able to identify leaks quicker and cut down mistakes in estimated billing from its water company.

via Sainsbury’s sluices water use in half | Energy Live News.

Sainsbury’s sluices water use in half

Google Wants More Renewable Energy Powering its Expanding NC Data Center http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/google-wants-more-renewable-energy-powering-its-expanding-nc-data-center/

When Google announced plans to double its investment in its North Carolina data center to $1.2 billion last week, it also touted an innovative program with Duke Energy to expand renewable energy options in the state through a “Renewable Energy Tariff” that will allow the Internet giant to ensure more of the electricity powering the data center is green.

Google last week reaffirmed its continuing commitment to maximizing renewable power at its facilities in announcing its intention to participate in the Duke Energy program as part of the expansion of the Lenoir, NC, data center housing the computer systems supporting Google Search, Gmail, Google+ and YouTube.

via Google Wants More Renewable Energy Powering its Expanding NC Data Center | Pierre Delforge’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC.

Google Wants More Renewable Energy Powering its Expanding NC Data Center

New loan for Drax Power plant’s biomass plans http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/new-loan-for-drax-power-plants-biomass-plans/

An additional loan for Drax Power Station’s green scheme biomass power programme has been agreed.It has agreed a £75 million loan maturing in June 2018 with Friends Life, underpinned by a guarantee from HM Treasury issued under the Infrastructure UK Guarantee Scheme.This now brings the total loans to £625 million with £100 million amortising term loan facility agreed with the Prudential/M&G UK Companies Financing Fund in July 2012, £50 million amortising term loan facility agreed with the UK Green Investment Bank and £400 million revolving credit facility maturing in April 2016, and an additional £190 million gross proceeds from an equity placing in October 2012.The latest loan facility replaces £50 million of the £100 million loan agreed with the UK Green Investment Bank, which was signed in December 2012.Finance director of Drax, Tony Quinlan, said: “This further strengthens our balance sheet, as we progress our project to transform the largest coal-fired power station in the UK into an electricity generator fuelled predominantly by sustainable biomass.“The benefits are multiple, from securing jobs at Drax and across the UK in the supply chain to providing low carbon, cost effective and reliable renewable power for the consumer. We are delighted to secure the support of Friends Life and Infrastructure UK.”Investment officer at Friends Life, Mark Versey, said: “We are pleased to work together with Drax and HM Treasury and support the Infrastructure UK Guarantee Scheme as an institutional investor.

via New loan for Drax Power plant’s biomass plans – Local news – Selby Times.

New loan for Drax Power plant’s biomass plans

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

How wind energy helped Iowa attract #Facebook’s new data center http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/how-wind-energy-helped-iowa-attract-facebooks-new-data-center/

After 18 months of courtship and competition, Iowa officials announced Tuesday that Facebook has selected a Des Moines suburb as the site for its next data center.The social media giant plans to break ground this summer in Altoona, Iowa, on a $300 million data center that could be the first of three facilities there.Much of the news coverage has focused on the $18 million in tax credits awarded by the state, but Facebook had another reason to “like” Iowa: wind power.Committed to green powerTechnology companies that operate large data centers have been under increasing pressure in recent years to reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprints.As part of a December 2011 truce with Greenpeace, Facebook adopted a policy that gives preference to building data center in places with access to clean and renewable energy.A company spokesperson confirmed in an email to Midwest Energy News that access to wind power was a factor in its decision to locate in Iowa.“We are committed to powering more of our operations with renewables — we’ve set a goal of reaching 25% renewables in our mix by 2015 — and are exploring opportunities in all of the regions we operate data centers,” Alex Hollander wrote.The availability of wind power is one of the reasons Iowa is now neck-and-neck with the state of Washington as a destination for large data centers, said John Boyd Jr., a New Jersey consultant who helps companies site data centers.“Our clients are coveting green power,” Boyd said, and the demand is being driven by marketing. “There’s public relations value above and beyond the economic value of wind energy.”Still, he doesn’t think it’s a leading criteria for siting decisions, he said. More important factors include tax incentives, real estate costs, and electricity prices.Nebraska, a state with much less wind generation but also low electricity rates, was considered Iowa’s chief competitor for the site.

via How wind energy helped Iowa attract Facebook’s new data center | Midwest Energy News.

How wind energy helped Iowa attract #Facebook’s new data center

First Utility raises energy bills by 18pc http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/first-utility-raises-energy-bills-by-18pc/

First Utility, an energy firm that has attracted tens of thousands of customers as it attempts to break the stranglehold of the “big six” on the market, is to increase its prices by an average 18pc on its leading tariff.

The rise will add £16 a month to the typical bill, or nearly £200 a year.

It will come as an annoyance to those who have switched to the company to avoid price rises elsewhere in the industry. Telegraph Money reported in December that 50,000 consumers were facing delays as they switched to First Utility’s cheap tariff, due to huge demand.

The rise also exceeds those made by the biggest suppliers. British Gas increased prices by 6pc in autumn and Npower increased gas by 8.8pc and electricity by 9.1pc for example.

But First Utility insists that customers will now be guaranteed to pay less than if they were on one of the standard tariffs of bigger firms. It is enacting the price rise by scrapping the iSave v12 tariff and moving customers on it to a new more expensive iSave Everyday.

via First Utility raises energy bills by 18pc – Telegraph.

First Utility raises energy bills by 18pc

EDF Energy to cut jobs at Hinkley Point power site http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/edf-energy-to-cut-jobs-at-hinkley-point-power-site/

The number of workers on a new nuclear power site is being reduced as negotiations continue with the Government on a contract for electricity produced from the site.

French giant EDF Energy said it was “refocusing” activities at the Hinkley Point site in Somerset, where around 800 people are currently employed.

No figure for the job cuts was released, but sources said there would be a “significant” reduction.

A company statement said: “As part of good project management, and to control costs, EDF Energy has taken steps to refocus its activities at its Hinkley Point C project. This reflects its priorities ahead of securing the financing necessary for the project.

“In this context much activity including further detailed pre-construction engineering work will continue ahead of the later construction phase. This means there will be a reduction in the number of people working on the project for the time being.

via EDF Energy to cut jobs at Hinkley Point power site – Home News – UK – The Independent.

EDF Energy to cut jobs at Hinkley Point power site

Plans unveiled for Swansea Bay tidal lagoon http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/plans-unveiled-for-swansea-bay-tidal-lagoon/

Plans have been released for the world’s first, purpose-built, tidal lagoon power plant that will be capable of generating electricity equivalent to the entire domestic consumption of Swansea in South Wales.

The proposed 250MW power plant will produce predictable, base load electricity for 16 hours each day, using both the ebb and flood tides. It will save over 200,000 tonnes of CO2 per year for its design life of over 100 years. The project represents an investment of £650m and according to the development company behind the scheme is a significant opportunity for Wales to take the lead in the tidal industry for the UK. The power plant could be connected to the National Grid and be ‘power ready’ in 2017.

The tidal lagoon will comprise a ‘land attached’ impoundment, located between the dredged channels of the Tawe and Neath rivers. The impounded area will be surrounded by a 10km long wall. Landfall points will be located at or near Swansea Docks, but the lagoon will not obstruct the entrance to any rivers or marinas, nor adversely affect the operation of the port.

The total height of the seawall will be approximately 11m (shore side) and 19m (offshore). The visibility of the wall at low water will be 11.3m, at high water it will measure 2.8m. The site will have a total installed capacity of circa 250MW with a potential annual output of circa 400GWh.

Tidal Lagoon Power plc, the company behind the project, says it will hopefully be the first in a network of lagoons around the UK. Electricity is generated by creating a ‘head’ of water, a difference in water level between the inside and outside of the lagoon, and channelling the resulting flow through turbines. Once there is a sufficient difference in water level, the lagoon gates are opened and the turbines begin to generate. It is proposed to generate on both the incoming (flood) tides and outgoing (ebb) tides, maximising the energy extraction potential from any site.

via Maritime Journal – Plans unveiled for Swansea Bay tidal lagoon.

Plans unveiled for Swansea Bay tidal lagoon

Imminent Energy Price Increase Due http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/imminent-energy-price-increase-due/

Increasing Costs & Simplified Plans Drive Up Prices Across UK Energy Market

A triple-header of bad news for the energy market has come to light this week as three separate reports seem to signal another energy price increase in energy prices across the UK. Controversies surrounding pressure from consumer group Which?, an appointment by the HMRC and a price hike from energy supplier First Utility have proven to to shake consumer confidence within the energy market, which much of the news likely to have an effect on the domestic energy market.

via Imminent Energy Price Increase Due | Catalyst Commercial Services – The Market Leading Business Energy Broker.

Imminent Energy Price Increase Due

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

PPA deal unlocks £70 million in renewable investment http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/ppa-deal-unlocks-70-million-in-renewable-investment/

Two UK-based independent energy companies have struck a long term deal for UK renewable generation projects worth £70 million.

London-based renewable investor, Low Carbon, has signed a 15 year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with energy purchaser and supplier, SmartestEnergy, covering a first phase of generating capacity of 65MW.

The first 23MW of capacity agreed under the PPA will be provided by four solar park developments in Dorset, Devon and the Isle of Wight. All of the projects were connected to the grid in March in time to claim the higher Renewable Obligation rate and are backed by Investec Bank.

Commenting on the deal, John Cole, chief investment officer of Low Carbon, said that the agreement provides a key foundation for further significant investment in UK renewables. He added: “Given the current uncertainty in the market, we are very pleased that SmartestEnergy stood behind its commitment to conclude a PPA with us and we look forward to doing more business with them.”

via PPA deal unlocks £70 million in renewable investment | Solar Power Portal.

PPA deal unlocks £70 million in renewable investment

Focusing on customer service leads independent business #energy supplier to outpace the Big 6 in satisfaction survey http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/focusing-on-customer-service-leads-independent-business-energy-supplier-to-outpace-the-big-6-in-satisfaction-survey/

The independent business energy supplier Opus Energy has topped a recent survey in customer satisfaction. Presented in March, the survey by Datamonitor asked 1,000 SMEs to rate how satisfied they were with their business energy supplier. Opus rose to the top spot from 4th last year, passing a number of the big 6 energy suppliers on the way.

Focusing on ensuring customer satisfaction has given Opus a huge boost in the market as revenue grew by 38% in 2012, a lesson which would be well adopted by the big 6 who have been in the news a number of times over the last few years being accused of damaging consumer trust.

Jonathon Stead, Marketing Executive at Love Energy Savings, an energy comparison company said: “Opus are leading by example and showing the big 6 how it’s done, we’re really pleased to be working so closely with them and to be able to offer our business energy customers Opus as a choice of suppler.”

via Focusing on customer service leads independent business energy supplier to outpace the Big 6 in satisfaction survey.

Focusing on customer service leads independent business #energy supplier to outpace the Big 6 in satisfaction survey

UK shale gas delay was 'scandalous': parliament panel member http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/uk-shale-gas-delay-was-scandalous-parliament-panel-member/

The 18-month moratorium on shale gas drilling was a “scandal”, member of the UK House of Commons select committee on climate change Peter Lilley said late Monday.

He was speaking at a panel session launching a report into the difficulties that the UK’s energy policy is facing, “Power from Fossil Fuels,” published by lobby group Carbon Connect, and written by a range of policy experts, engineers and academics.

Coal-fired generating plant is being closed down with immediate effect, and possible investors in new plant — who are global players, with plenty of options about where to spend their money, as the co-chair of Carbon Connect Charles Hendry pointed out at the same event — are facing a bewildering range of uncertainties.

Wholesale gas prices are too high to make combined cycle gas turbines profitable, and how the government will address this problem has not been decided.

Even if shale gas production did not slash prices as it has in the US, Lilley said that a fortnight’s trip to the US — the birthplace of the shale gas revolution — could have answered all the questions surrounding the risks of hydraulic fracturing, enabling shale gas production to start that much earlier.

“Most of the concerns are either exaggerations or lies,” he said.

“Either there will or will not be a lot of gas; either it will or it will not be enough to lower prices. Either way we win: it will bring in taxes for other areas.” He said there was a correlation: those who talk down the prospects of shale tend to be those who press for decarboniized electricity.

In that context, he said, carbon capture and storage would play a crucial role. However, as the panel conceded, there are so far no working projects in the UK; and many working examples of CCS are for enhanced oil recovery.

via UK shale gas delay was ‘scandalous’: parliament panel member – Natural Gas | Platts News Article & Story.

UK shale gas delay was 'scandalous': parliament panel member

Indian cities’ huge energy savings from switching to LEDs http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/indian-cities-huge-energy-savings-from-switching-to-leds/

Cities and municipalities across India are slashing their electricity usage and energy bills by switching traditional street lights to low carbon LEDs.

New data released by The Climate Group showed Haldia Development Authority in West Bengal (pictured) is saving around 70,000 KWh of electricity and more than $9,000 (£5,893) on its energy bills since installing LED street lights. Kolkata Municipal Corporation in West Bengal has also saved 52% of energy and the Thane Municipal Corporation in Maharashtra reported electricity savings of 47%.

via Indian cities’ huge energy savings from switching to LEDs | Energy Live News.

Indian cities’ huge energy savings from switching to LEDs

Monday, 22 April 2013

Power giants 'hide profits to dodge price controls': Shadow energy secretary fears Ofgem is too weak to stop big six cashing in as household bills soar http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/power-giants-hide-profits-to-dodge-price-controls-shadow-energy-secretary-fears-ofgem-is-too-weak-to-stop-big-six-cashing-in-as-household-bills-soar/

Power companies may be hiding their profits from energy regulator Ofgem and understating how much they make from consumers, a senior MP warned this weekend.

Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint has written to Tim Yeo, chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, to warn that accounting methods could be obscuring how much energy groups earn from UK households, making it harder for Ofgem to regulate pricing.

The concerns raised in a letter seen by The Mail on Sunday follow the revelation last week that many of the big six energy firms – RWE npower, ScottishPower, SSE, Eon, Centrica and EDF – pay little or no tax in Britain.

In her letter, Labour MP Flint said Ofgem suffered ‘significant weaknesses’, which allowed energy companies potentially to declare lower profits on household supplies.

via Power giants ‘hide profits to dodge price controls’: Shadow energy secretary fears Ofgem is too weak to stop big six cashing in as household bills soar | This is Money.

Power giants 'hide profits to dodge price controls': Shadow energy secretary fears Ofgem is too weak to stop big six cashing in as household bills soar

Low-Investment Trend in Renewables Continues Into 2013 http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/low-investment-trend-in-renewables-continues-into-2013/

Following on from news at the start of the year that 2012 was the worst year so far for clean energy investment, 2013 has got off to an equally-troubling start as it has been revealed investment has slid a further 22%.

It’s now reached its lowest level in four years, with clean energy investment for the first quarter of 2013 standing at a total of $40.6bn worldwide.

The data, compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, points to several key factors contributing to such a low figure. Governments worldwide have continued to pare back subsidies even further as a slower-than-expected recovery from recession takes its toll, whilst huge scale financing operations in China and Brazil reaching a standstill.

“The last 18-months have seen a number of significant support programs launched in the aftermath of the financial crisis come to an end,” said Michael Liebreich, chief executive officer of the London-based research company.

Whilst the results of the research yielded worrying statistics for most of the world, there were some hot-spots for renewable growth – with Asia in particular investing in green business energy solutions. Japan rose it’s investment to $8.2bn, whilst Asian countries – outside of the stalling China and India – boosted their collective investment by 47% to an all-time high $10.1bn.

Worldwide the specialist subsidies for business energy brokers, investors and companies have had a shaky start to 2013, with the main subsidy for wind power stalling in Germany and the US, as well as being scrapped altogether in some parts of central Europe.

via Low-Investment Trend in Renewables Continues Into 2013 | Energy Live News.

Low-Investment Trend in Renewables Continues Into 2013

Hartlepool nuclear power plant fire triggers emergency response http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/hartlepool-nuclear-power-plant-fire-triggers-emergency-response/

A fire at a nuclear power plant triggered a major response by emergency services after smoke was seen billowing into the air.

Police and fire crews were called to Hartlepool power station at about 6.30pm on Saturday after a blaze broke out while a turbine was being reactivated.

The fire caused smoke to billow from the plant but Cleveland police said it was drifting away from nearby homes.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze but remained on site as a precaution. No one was injured.

A statement from the force said: “During incidents such as this, there are several procedures that take place including the venting of steam generators. This particular process causes noise, which residents of nearby areas such as Seaton Carew may hear.

“There is smoke billowing as a result of the fire, but it is currently heading in a direction that does not cause any implications for members of the public.”

EDF Energy, which runs the facility, confirmed a small fire was detected in the turbine hall of unit 2 at Hartlepool power station.

via Hartlepool nuclear power plant fire triggers emergency response | Environment | guardian.co.uk.

Hartlepool nuclear power plant fire triggers emergency response

Setting 'decarbonisation' target will encourage wave technology investors http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/setting-decarbonisation-target-will-encourage-wave-technology-investors/

The Wave Hub, the only commercial-scale test facility for wave power in the world, is sited off the North Cornwall coast and has the potential to underpin thousands of jobs in the region. But in a debate in the House of Commons, Andrew George, MP for St Ives, whose constituency includes the Wave Hub, warned it is “difficult” to scale wave devices up to a commercial level from the prototype machines being developed off the Scottish coast. And he said Energy Minister Greg Barker’s ambition to move from “individual projects to large-scale arrays” was “vital”.

The Lib Dem MP was speaking in a debate he secured on slashing damaging carbon emissions from energy production, known as decarbonisation.

via Setting ‘decarbonisation’ target will encourage wave technology investors | This is Cornwall.

Setting 'decarbonisation' target will encourage wave technology investors

EDF Energy 'incentivised sales team to push for top price tariff http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/edf-energy-incentivised-sales-team-to-push-for-top-price-tariff/

EDF Energy ‘incentivised sales team to push for top price tariff’ As the nation struggles to pay spiralling fuel bills, The Argus can reveal how Sussex-based EDF Energy enticed its sales staff to sign customers onto the most expensive tariffs in exchange for higher rates of commission. Ben Leo reports.

The heat is on energy companies this week as one MP declared: “They don’t grasp the extent of public disgust towards them.”

Those were the words of Tim Yeo, the chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, following revelations that nPower hadn’t been paying corporation tax and SSE, formerly known as Scottish and Southern Energy, were fined a record £10.5m for mis-selling gas and electricity.

via EDF Energy ‘incentivised sales team to push for top price tariff (From The Argus).

EDF Energy 'incentivised sales team to push for top price tariff

Friday, 19 April 2013

Plants inspire scientists to use hydrogen for energy - Blue and Green Tomorrow http://www.energy-broker.co.uk/plants-inspire-scientists-to-use-hydrogen-for-energy-blue-and-green-tomorrow/

Inspired by plants, Scottish scientists have harnessed the principles of photosynthesis to generate clean energy from hydrogen. The breakthrough, they say, offers a potential solution to the global energy crisis.

Published in the journal Nature Chemistry, the scientists, from the University of Glasgow, said that the innovation could generate green energy “on an industrial scale” from water, which could “significantly reduce the country’s carbon footprint”.

Unlike fossil fuels, hydrogen – the most abundant element in the planet – can be burned to produce energy without releasing any emissions into the atmosphere.

The new development is one of the first of its kind: an electrolysis system that is capable of splitting water and releasing hydrogen and oxygen in separate stages – a challenge that scientists have been working on for decades.

via Plants inspire scientists to use hydrogen for energy – Blue and Green Tomorrow.

Plants inspire scientists to use hydrogen for energy - Blue and Green Tomorrow