Monday, 31 March 2014

Britain's gas and electricity are the among the cheapest in Europe

Energy bosses, the Government and consumers are at loggerheads over our gas and electricity bills.Customers furious at years of rising prices have fought back by ditching big suppliers, MPs have sought to claim kudos with promises of taking on the energy firms, yet the big suppliers claim they are not profiteering.So how expensive are our bills, why are they rising and will a crackdown on energy firms really lead to the threat of the lights going out? We take a look.

via Britain’s gas and electricity are the among the cheapest in Europe | Mail Online.

Britain's gas and electricity are the among the cheapest in Europe

Friday, 28 March 2014

UK greenhouse gas emissions fall by 2%

UK greenhouse gas emissions fell by nearly 2% last year, as less coal and gas was burned to generate electricity.

But official figures published on Thursday show that because of increases in 2010 and 2012, the UK’s carbon footprint is still roughly the same as it was in 2009 despite government promises to cut emissions.

The fall in 2013 is likely to provide some relief for ministers ahead of a major UN climate science report next week and a renewed push for an international climate change deal in Paris next year.

Last year’s drop appeared to be largely due to a 9% decrease in coal use and a 7% decrease in gas. The share of energy generated from renewables sources was up, as a series of large offshore windfarms were connected to the grid. Onshore wind power generation was up 36.4%, and offshore wind up by 45.8%.

Emissions were up in the residential sector by 2.6% and 2.9% in business, and remain static for transport.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “We are extremely pleased to see that greenhouse gas emissions are provisionally down and that electricity generation from low carbon sources is at its highest for at least seventeen years. This was due to record levels of renewables generation and higher nuclear availability. We are on track to meet our longer term carbon and renewables targets which will reduce emissions and improve the environment.”

The UK’s emissions have been falling gradually over the last two decades, by around 21% since 1990, as energy efficiency improved and the use of gas power displaced more carbon intensive coal.

The Met Office said the average temperature in 2013 was 8.8C, a fraction below the longterm (1981-2010) average of 8.9C.

via UK greenhouse gas emissions fall by 2% | Environment | The Guardian.

UK greenhouse gas emissions fall by 2%

Monitor: Going With The Flow - Business Insider

The missing piece of the renewable-power jigsaw may now have been found in the form of a new type of flow battery.

THERE is nothing so expensive, some cynics suspect, as free fuel. It is not that turning wind and sunlight into electricity is itself that costly, provided you pick the right places to do it. But it is not reliable. The wind does not always blow, and even in the most cloud-free desert night falls with monotonous regularity. Political commitments to use large quantities of renewables, such as several European countries have made (see following story), thus risk the lights going out. The search therefore has been on for a cheap way to store energy transduced from sun and wind when it is plentiful, so that it can be used when it is not.

via Monitor: Going With The Flow – Business Insider.

Monitor: Going With The Flow - Business Insider

British government reports drop in greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions in the United Kingdom declined 2 percent last year because of a decrease in the use of fossil fuels, the government said Thursday.

The British Department of Energy and Climate Change issued reports highlighting energy use and emission from 2013.

DECC figures show emissions have been on a general decline since the 1990s. The government attributed last year’s decline to a 9 percent decrease in coal use and a 7 percent decrease for natural gas.

Coal provided 40.6 percent of the electricity generation, though overall production is declining. Natural gas and nuclear power accounted for around 20 percent of the share each, though wind energy generation was increasing with offshore wind accounting for the bulk of that sector, government data show.

The United Kingdom has more offshore wind power capacity than anywhere else in the world.

via British government reports drop in greenhouse gas emissions –

British government reports drop in greenhouse gas emissions

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Fracking 'good for the UK', says David Cameron

Fracking will be “good for our country”, David Cameron said as he blamed a “lack of understanding” about the process for some of the opposition to shale gas.

The prime minister said that once wells are up and running later this year, there would be more public enthusiasm, and exploiting shale gas reserves could help Europe wean itself off reliance on exports from Russia.

The Ukraine crisis has increased the urgency of European efforts to find alternative sources of energy to reduce the leverage Russia’s oil and gas supplies give it across the continent.

Speaking after the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, Cameron said it was “our duty” to be more energy-independent, saying it should be a “tier one” political issue. He acknowledged people had “uncertainties and worries and concerns” about hydraulic fracturing – known as fracking – which involves using high-pressure jets of water to release gas.

via Fracking ‘good for the UK’, says David Cameron | Environment | The Guardian.

Fracking 'good for the UK', says David Cameron

Millions of households may be paying too much for their energy, regulator expected to say

Millions of households may be paying too much for their energy, regulator Ofgem is expected to say on Thursday.

The energy sector is likely to be referred to the top competition watchdog to face an investigation into allegations of profiteering.

The Big Six companies have a case to answer over the prices they charge, in particular for customers they inherited from before privatisation, the regulator is likely to say in a “state of the market” report.

Ofgem is expected to say it is minded to refer the sector to the new Competition and Markets Authority, which it can do if it believes “that the structure of the market or the conduct of suppliers or customers is harming competition”.

A inqury could result in the Big Six — British Gas, SSE, Npower, EDF, Scottish Power and E.ON — being broken up to improve competition.

via Millions of households may be paying too much for their energy, regulator expected to say – Telegraph.

Millions of households may be paying too much for their energy, regulator expected to say

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Grow Your Own Solar: Is the Future of Solar Power Organic?

Solar panels have always been referred to as solar cells, but cells of a different kind have been making waves in the solar commercial energy industry at the start of 2014 thanks to some bold new experiments taking place in labs across the world. Most prominently, labs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT – have been attempting to create ‘living materials’; bacteria spliced with non-organic material that can do a dazzling array of things with just light. Still in the proof-of-concept stage at the moment, the research team at MIT have already combined bacteria with man-made assets that allow them to conduct electricity and produce light in various colours like an LED.

via Grow Your Own Solar: Is the Future of Solar Power Organic?.

Grow Your Own Solar: Is the Future of Solar Power Organic?

George Osborne is preparing to kill off Britain's renewable energy revolution

George Osborne quietly moved to kill off Britain’s renewable revolution in Wednesday’s budget as he stealthily enacted David Cameron’s rumoured call to his cabinet to kill off the “green crap”.

With such stealth that it went almost entirely unspotted by environmentalists and journalists, who were busy focusing on his move to reduce fossil-fuel energy costs for big business, Osborne at a stroke abolished a key tax break that has attracted hundreds of millions of pounds of private money to help build Britain’s green energy future.

Tucked away in the budget’s red book is an innocuous-looking line that Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) tax breaks will no longer be available for companies benefiting from the renewables obligation certificate (ROC) scheme or the renewable heat incentive (RHI).

Of these, the ROC scheme is the big one. It underlies all the big wind, solar and other renewable technologies in the UK. The EIS tax breaks are available to investors who put money into all sorts of start-up companies. Until now that has also included firms building wind and solar farms. Now, after royal assent to the legislation in July, it will not be.

One City fund manager on Wednesday predicted that many funds would simply have to hand back money to investors that they could not deploy into solar or wind projects by then.

This will mean a big slowdown in the deployment of renewables in Britain, a crying shame because renewable investment and deployment have picked up sharply in recent years, after a decade of delay, as Britain finally seemed to be taking European renewable energy targets seriously.

via George Osborne is preparing to kill off Britain’s renewable energy revolution | Business |

George Osborne is preparing to kill off Britain's renewable energy revolution

Coalition pulls the plug on Miliband's energy bill freeze

Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze gas and electricity bills for every home and business in Britain for 20 months if Labour wins the 2015 Election is set to be scuppered by a competition investigation into the sector ordered by the Coalition.

The Labour leader’s pledge at his party conference last year to freeze energy bills within a month of coming to power boosted his poll ratings as households struggled with soaring energy prices.

But last year Energy Secretary Ed Davey commissioned an assessment of competition in the energy supply market by Ofgem, the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition and Markets Authority.

via Coalition pulls the plug on Miliband’s energy bill freeze | This is Money.

Coalition pulls the plug on Miliband's energy bill freeze

Government ‘moves goalposts’ on renewables – Renewables industry calls for reassurance over budget signals

The Government has been accused of “moving the goalposts” on investment in renewables after the announcement that the Carbon Price Floor (CPF) is to be frozen until the end of the decade.

Although Chancellor George Osborne said the Government was committed to the CPF’s role in stimulating investment in low-carbon infrastructure, it was capping the support rate at £18 per tonne of CO2 from 2016-17 until the end of the decade to limit any competitive disadvantage faced by British firms.

The move is expected to save businesses up to £4bn by 2018-19 and a further £1.5bn in 2018-19, while also shaving £15 off a typical household energy bill. Energy intensive industries will also get additional help as part of an energy package Osborne said was worth around £7bn.

John Cridland, director-general of the CBI, said the announcement had put the “wind in the sails” of businesses, especially manufacturers.

“The CBI has pushed hard for this significant and much-needed energy package that will help keep manufacturing jobs in the UK, while underpinning vital investment in new energy”, he said.

Cautious welcome from energy firms

Energy UK, which represents power companies, gave the move a cautious welcome.

“In the overall interests of the UK, the energy industry supports capping the carbon price floor to keep costs down for heavy industrial energy users, to reduce the potential to create a cliff edge for coal generation, and to help make sure there is more capacity available.”

Paul Massara, Chief Executive at RWE Npower, said the move would help “improve the balance between moving Britain to a low carbon energy system as fast as possible and the burden this places on Britain’s energy bills”

via Renewables industry calls for reassurance over budget signals | SmartestEnergy.

Government ‘moves goalposts’ on renewables – Renewables industry calls for reassurance over budget signals

China working on uranium-free nuclear plants in attempt to combat smog

China is developing a new design of nuclear power plant in an attempt to reduce its reliance on coal and to cut air pollution.

In an effort to reduce the number of coal-fired plants, the Chinese government has brought forward by 15 years the deadline to develop a nuclear power plant using the radioactive element thorium instead of uranium.

A team of researchers in Shanghai has now been told it has 10 instead of 25 years to develop the world’s first such plant.

“In the past, the government was interested in nuclear power because of the energy shortage. Now, they are more interested because of smog,” Professor Li Zhong, a scientist working on the project, told the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.

An advanced research centre was set up in January by the Chinese Academy of Sciences with the aim of developing an industrial reactor using thorium molten salt technology, the newspaper reported.

According to the World Nuclear Association (WNA), China has 20 nuclear plants in operation and another 28 under construction, all uranium-fuelled reactors. China has been importing large quantities of uranium as it attempts to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. However, according to the WNA, thorium is much more abundant.

The researchers on the project said they had come under considerable pressure from the government for it to be successful. Li said nuclear power was the “only solution” to replace coal, and thorium “carries much hope”.

via China working on uranium-free nuclear plants in attempt to combat smog | Environment |

China working on uranium-free nuclear plants in attempt to combat smog

Centrica buys Ireland's biggest electricity and gas provider

Centrica, the owner of British Gas, has agreed to buy Ireland’s biggest electricity and gas provider as part of a €1.1bn (£920m) deal.

The UK energy company will acquire Bord Gáis Energy (BGE), the retail arm of Ireland’s state-owned energy company Bord Gáis Éireann, and the Whitegate gas-fired power station in County Cork.

“This is a unique opportunity for Centrica to take a first step in a neighbouring market with strong links to the UK,” said Sam Laidlaw, the chief executive of Centrica, said in a statement.

BGE has around 650,000 residential gas and electricity users and 30,000 business accounts.

Centrica acquired the business as part of a consortium. Its partners, ICON Infrastructure Partners and Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners, will purchase Bord Gáis’ distribution and renewable power generation assets, respectively.

The British Gas owner, which has come under pressure in Britain for its dominant position in the gas and electricity supply market, said the enterprise value of its share of the deal would be €210m (£175m).

The Irish government had put the Bord Gáis assets up for sale as part of its privatisation programme.

via Centrica buys Ireland’s biggest electricity and gas provider – Telegraph.

Centrica buys Ireland's biggest electricity and gas provider

Monday, 24 March 2014

England's lights 'would go out without Scotland's renewable energy'

England’s lights would go out without Scotland’s large and growing supply of renewable energy, according to Scotland’s energy minister.

Fergus Ewing hit back after the UK energy secretary, Ed Davey, said independence for Scotland would force up energy bills for Scottish households.

“England does require Scotland’s electricity to keep the lights on,” Ewing told the Guardian. He gave the go-ahead on Wednesday for the third largest offshore wind farm in the world, big enough to power 1m homes, as well as new financial support for floating wind turbines to exploit deep water sites.

Ewing, a Scottish National Party minister, contrasted the 20% spare electricity margin in Scotland with the 2-5% margin in the UK as a whole. “The reality is that the supplies of electricity in the UK, especially down south, are parlously tight. There have been successive warnings by Ofgem, the regulator, and it is difficult to see the response to those warnings as anything other than a serial failure to come up with any coherent strategic response,” he said. “On a security of supply basis, England will require to receive imports of Scotland’s electricity for most of the time.”

via England’s lights ‘would go out without Scotland’s renewable energy’ | Environment | The Guardian.

England's lights 'would go out without Scotland's renewable energy'

Energy Broker Inspired Energy In Double Acquisition

The Lancashire firm has bought Simply Business Energy and KWH Consulting.

Inspired Energy, the energy procurement consultant, has snapped up two business to compliment its EnergiSave division which focuses on the SME sector.The Lancashire firm has bought Simply Business Energy and KWH Consulting.The two businesses will form part of an enlarged division providing SMEs with competitive energy contracts from a variety of suppliers.It is expected that the acquisitions will be earnings neutral in the first full year post acquisition and earnings enhancing thereafter.SBE is a relatively new company which has developed a fully automated, operational online quoting platform for SME customers who are looking to switch their energy supplier, while KWH focuses on servicing mid-market SME clients, which complements EnergiSave’s existing service which has a focus on SMEs with 1 to 25 employees.

via Two acquisitions for Inspired Energy – Manchester Evening News.

Energy Broker Inspired Energy In Double Acquisition

More than 7% of Belgian households are equipped with a photovoltaic system

One home per thirteen is equipped with a photovoltaic system in Belgium, which ranks the country third in the world when it comes to solar energy. By the end of 2013, Belgium was able to produce solar power of nearly 30 GW and could boast a photovoltaic surface equivalent to 3,000 football pitches.

Although other European countries, like Italy and Germany, produce more solar electricity per year than Belgium, the latter distinguishes itself from the countries above by the proportion of domestic photovoltaic installations. Fresh data concerning Belgian photovoltaic systems were published and commented on Wednesday by the Association for the Promotion of Renewable Energy (APERe).

In 2013, more than 347,000 domestic photovoltaic systems were installed in Belgium, which is a remarkable number on a global scale as well. The success of photovoltaic systems in Belgium can be explained by the existing support mechanisms which motivate people to invest in solar panels and in this way cover their own electricity consumption.

via More than 7% of Belgian households are equipped with a photovoltaic

More than 7% of Belgian households are equipped with a photovoltaic system

Friday, 21 March 2014

'Carbon bubble' poses serious threat to UK economy, MPs warn

Stock markets are inflating a “carbon bubble” by overvaluing companies that produce fossil fuels and greenhouse gases, and this poses a serious threat to the economy, an influential committee of UK MPs has warned.

The idea of a carbon bubble – meaning that the true costs of carbon dioxide in intensifying climate change are not taken into account in a company’s stock market valuation – has been gaining currency in recent years, but this is the first time that MPs have addressed the question head-on.

Much of the world’s fossil fuel resource will have to be left unburned if the world is to avoid dangerous levels of global warming, the environmental audit committee warned.

via ‘Carbon bubble’ poses serious threat to UK economy, MPs warn | environment |

'Carbon bubble' poses serious threat to UK economy, MPs warn

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Cheap batteries will revolutionise the renewable energy market

News this week, from opposite ends of the planet, that points to the convulsion of change about to hit the global economy. The first report came from Palo Alto, California, headquarters of the Tesla electric car company. Tesla’s car produces no carbon emissions (so long as the electricity that charges its batteries is also low carbon). Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk, announced it would invest in a $4bn-$5bn “gigafactory” doubling the world’s production of lithium-ion batteries. These power your mobile phone, but also Tesla’s high-end luxury electric cars. The objective is to cut battery prices by 30% in three years, and to halve them by 2020.

Since battery cost is the main obstacle to electric cars, this is potentially game-changing. It would allow electric cars with a 200-mile range to compete with the Ford Mondeo and not just the BMW 5-series (Tesla has already spurred the Bavarian luxury car-maker into an electric response).

Tesla is treading the route first mapped by Henry Ford, whose mass production of the Model T halved the price of US cars. The same happened with computer memory and, more recently, solar panels, whose price collapsed by half in just over a year.

Nor is scale the only likely development in batteries. There is work going on in nanotechnology, making things tiny. This allows a much greater surface within a given size of battery, so that charging will be quicker, and storage capacity higher. If scale and technology work their miracles, cheap batteries will disrupt many more industries than cars.

Most fundamentally, it will make the transition to low-carbon electricity far easier. Renewables like solar and onshore wind are coming down dramatically in price – the industry forecasts they will be cheaper than grid electricity in most of the world by 2025 – but they have a key disadvantage: they do not produce electricity when people want it.

This matters. The UK is typical in having an enormous variation in electricity use through the day, with demand when the kettles go on in the Coronation Street ads nearly double that in the early morning. Wind and solar cannot meet this without a cheap and effective battery solution.

via Cheap batteries will revolutionise the renewable energy market | Chris Huhne | Comment is free | The Guardian.

Cheap batteries will revolutionise the renewable energy market

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Perovskites: the future of solar power?

With predictions of up to 50% efficiency and named one of the breakthroughs of 2013, perovskites are the clean tech material development to watch right now

The daily input of solar energy to the earth’s surface is enough to fulfil our energy needs many times over, but cheap and efficient ways of converting it, especially to electricity, have remained elusive. Yes, there is a lot of photovoltaic material installed around the world today – more than 100 gigawatts – but the efficiency of conversion to kilowatt hours is relatively poor, usually 15% or less. More than 85% of the photovoltaics (PV) used today are made from crystalline silicon, but scientific research continues into new materials that could do the job better. The criteria are greater efficiency, with cheap materials that are readily available, solid, durable under prolonged exposure to sunlight and weather, and, if possible, fairly transparent. There have been many false dawns. A number of these have scored high on efficiency, but have used materials so exotic that any scale-up would be limited by availability and cost.

via Perovskites: the future of solar power? | Guardian Sustainable Business |

Perovskites: the future of solar power?

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Call for 'frack-free zones' to protect UK's wildlife and water

The UK should designate “frack-free zones” to protect the countryside from shale gas extraction because of the risk of polluting rivers and fragmenting many of Britain’s most valuable wildlife sites, according to a major study conducted for six countryside groups.

More than 500 sites designated by government for their importance to wildlife are located within areas currently under licence to fracking companies and a further 2,500 could be affected in the next licensing round, says the report commissioned by the National Trust, the RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts, Angling Trust, Salmon and Trout Association and Wildlife and Wetland Trust, which together have more than 6 million members.

via Call for ‘frack-free zones’ to protect UK’s wildlife and water | Environment | The Guardian.

Call for 'frack-free zones' to protect UK's wildlife and water

Monday, 17 March 2014

And the Future of Residential Solar Is…Up for Grabs

Get ready — there is a revolution in residential solar going on. From financing models, solar leases, community (group buy) to owners of multi-unit housing complexes potentially becoming independent power producers, there is a changing of the business model guard. Think of it, the world may be a major storage innovation away from disconnecting from the utility grid. Do not kid yourself, there will be utility pushback but there will also be utility participation in the vein of, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

Homeowners as well as people who do not own their own roofs or have roofs inappropriate for a PV installation can choose from various ways to buy solar electricity, all of which offer different avenues for participating in residential solar as well as potentially being highly profitable (particularly the solar lease, and residential PPA) for the companies involved in these models. Except for the relatively simple option of buying a PV system, the other business models are relatively new and need to mature.

Buying: An option that may or may not require financing (but probably will). In many cases interest rates offered specifically for solar are higher (sometimes significantly) than other types of loans. Buyers of residential PV systems take advantage of being able to negotiate for the lowest price. In the U.S., the average price of a residential PV installation is $4.00/kWp; with the cost in the arena $3.00/kWp including permitting (the cost can be lower depending on the cost of the hardware and the cost of permitting). With an 8 percent interest rate (as some solar financing companies are offering) for 20 years borrowing $24,000, the total cost of the loan would be $48,000, with $24,000 in interest payments. Low interest financing options are crucial in order to continue momentum in residential PV system sales.

Leasing: An option where the lessee has a monthly payment subject to an escalation fee and has the option to buy the system at the end or before the end of the lease. In some cases the system becomes the property of the lessee at the end of the lease. For the leasing company, the lowest cost of hardware is required and for the lessee, the monthly payments will almost always add up to more than the system would have cost if bought for cash — of course, buying a system up front is not an option for many. The cost of a solar lease may or may not be negotiable. The lessor takes advantage of available incentives, including tax credits.

via And the Future of Residential Solar Is…Up for Grabs.

And the Future of Residential Solar Is…Up for Grabs

Friday, 14 March 2014

A £100bn red alert over green energy gap

The political will to tackle climate change is so low that investors are happy to plough huge amounts of money into fossil fuel projects but fearful to back green energy initiatives – even though the reverse needs to happen if the world is to have any chance of meeting its agreed objective to limit global warming to 2C.

That is the conclusion of a new parliamentary report, which finds that a £100bn hole has opened up in Britain’s green energy finances, with investment in renewable power generation such as wind turbines and solar panels running at less than half the level required this decade.

The Environmental Audit Committee report blames the Government’s inconsistent approach to supporting green energy for the lack of financial backing. And it warns that investment in low-carbon energy generation is running at “less than half” of the £200bn needed between 2010 and 2020 if Britain is to reduce its carbon emissions sufficiently to enable the country to meet legally binding environmental targets and play its part in cutting global warming to 2C.

via A £100bn red alert over green energy gap – Business Analysis & Features – Business – The Independent.

A £100bn red alert over green energy gap

Quicklink: A new renewable energy source? Device captures energy from Earth's infrared emissions to outer space

When the sun sets on a remote desert outpost and solar panels shut down, what energy source will provide power through the night? A battery, perhaps, or an old diesel generator? Perhaps something strange and new. Scientists now envision a device that would harvest energy from Earth’s infrared emissions into outer space. Heated by the sun, our planet is warm compared to the frigid vacuum beyond. Thanks to recent technological advances, the researchers say, that heat imbalance could soon be transformed into direct-current (DC) power, taking advantage of a vast and untapped energy source. [I can’t help but imagine, on a regular basis, what would happen if we had the wisdom to use science to our advantage, and devote finances to sensible pursuits–eliminating war for a starter

via Quicklink: A new renewable energy source? Device captures energy from Earth’s infrared emissions to outer space — ScienceDaily | OpEdNews.

Quicklink: A new renewable energy source? Device captures energy from Earth's infrared emissions to outer space

Thursday, 13 March 2014

MIT’s Liquid Metal Stores Solar Power Until After Sundown

A 40-foot trailer loaded with 25 tons of liquid metals may be the solution to the renewable-energy industry’s biggest challenge: making sure electricity is available whenever it’s needed.A Boston-area startup founded by MIT researchers is working to turn this new concept into a commercially viable product, liquid-metal batteries that will store power for less than $500 a kilowatt-hour. That’s less than a third the cost of some current battery technologies.The technology promises an alternative to the massive pumped-water systems that make up 95 percent of U.S. energy-storage capacity. At that price, developers will be able to build wind and solar projects that can deliver power to the grid anytime, making renewable energy as reliable as natural gas and coal without the greenhouse-gas emissions.

via MIT’s Liquid Metal Stores Solar Power Until After Sundown – Bloomberg.

MIT’s Liquid Metal Stores Solar Power Until After Sundown

E.ON UK profits spark fresh fears over high cost of energy

Concern over the cost of energy was renewed yesterday when E.ON, one of the six biggest power companies, reported a 26% increase in profits from its UK retail business, after pushing through a 9% increase in bills at the start of last year.

Figures published by the company showed that profit margins for the UK domestic supply business over the past 12 months have increased from 2.3% to 4% since the price rise. E.ON made just under £300m in profits from the UK, and its parent group in Dusseldorf reported global profits of £7.7bn.

John Robertson, who sits on the House of Commons energy select committee, said the industry regulator, Ofgem, should not have the “wool pulled over its eyes” by the E.ON results, and should continue its investigations into excessive profits in the sector.

“E.ON are trying to play down their results,” he said, “but the truth of the matter is, they make an absolute fortune from generation in this country and in Europe. And instead of paying out so much to shareholders, they should be trying to make energy affordable for some of the most vulnerable in society.”

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at, urged the power company to use its improved domestic result to help householders struggling with their bills.

via E.ON UK profits spark fresh fears over high cost of energy | Business |

E.ON UK profits spark fresh fears over high cost of energy

UK water tech market 'must act fast’ to reach £8.8bn potential

Currently the UK has just a 3 per cent share of the global market and must make substantial changes within the next three years if it is to catch up with countries such as France, the US, Japan and Germany.

The report says that the UK can boost its share to 10 per cent by 2030 if it takes steps, including focusing more on commercial opportunities and customer needs and increasing independent national testing.

A focus on validation and demonstration facilities and a co-ordinated international marketing strategy are also vital, according to UKWRIP.

Mark Lane, the report lead, said: “The economic and environmental case for raising the UK’s global game on water technology innovation is compelling. But we must act fast. If we don’t make significant changes within the next three years, our competitors will have pulled too far ahead to catch up with.”

via UK water tech market ‘must act fast’ to reach £8.8bn potential – Utility Week.

UK water tech market 'must act fast’ to reach £8.8bn potential

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Fracking is no answer to 'immediate dilemma' of energy security

Fracking might be a controversial proposition, but there is no need to panic just yet. It may be that shale is indeed the solution to our energy crisis, but many are unaware of the complex and tangled web of legal issues to be picked through before anyone puts a drill in the ground.

Fracking involves the extraction of methane gas from layers of shale by pumping high pressure water down a well. But shale gas stocks are legally owned by the Crown, and it is the Crown (via the Department for Energy and Climate Change) which licenses developers to conduct shale gas exploration.

Any developer who wishes to drill for must obtain special consent to do so, and the department can impose numerous conditions on a license to explore the ground below. Planning permission must be obtained firstly from the local council and also from the minerals planning authority before drilling starts – with yet another approval from the Coal Authority if the process interferes with coal seams. Just like the department, councils can impose conditions on planning permission.

If a developer conducts any drilling or fracking without a government licence or without the necessary access rights, this will amount to trespass. Even where the developer has a licence and all rights in place, if a landowner can establish that damage is likely be caused to his property which is not permitted by the licence, he may seek an injunction.

There are also many environmental, health and safety consents that have to be in place – and once fracking starts, regular monitoring of seismic activity is required. A traffic light system, signalling a red warning if any potential danger is perceived, will govern whether works may progress.

via Fracking is no answer to ‘immediate dilemma’ of energy security | The big energy debate |

Fracking is no answer to 'immediate dilemma' of energy security