Wednesday, 30 April 2014

UK To Be Europe's Biggest Solar Market In 2014

2014 looks set to be a winner for the United Kingdom’s solar energy sector. A new report showing a major increase in approvals for megawatt-scale solar farms will position the UK as Europe’s biggest photovoltaic market by the end of the year.

According information contained in analysis by market research firm NPD Solarbuzz, more than 325 solar PV farms were completed by the end of April 2014, with more than 60 above 10-megawatts of solar capacity.

“While reaching the long-term goal is expected to involve a blend of rooftop and ground-mounted systems, solar PV farms above 10 megawatts will provide the dominant contribution in 2014,” said Finlay Colville, vice-president at NPD Solarbuzz.

This year has seen more than 120 new solar projects granted planning approval, with an additional 444 awaiting building approval. The report found the UK sector had profited from a rush by solar developers to take advantage of the UK government’s support scheme under its Renewable Obligation policy before a funding reduction in 2015.

“Establishing a large portfolio of solar PV assets has become an attractive long-term financial proposition within the United Kingdom,” according to Colville. “The race is now on to develop and acquire solar PV farms, before the Renewable Obligations scheme is discontinued in 2017, or ahead of any legislative changes that may occur after the May 2015 general elections.”

via UK To Be Europe’s Biggest Solar Market In 2014 : Renewable Energy News :.

UK To Be Europe's Biggest Solar Market In 2014

Slow Start - Ocean Power Technologies

Slow Start – Ocean Power TechnologiesTidal Energy has made headlines this week for all the wrong reasons as a high-profile project in the United States was scrapped this month, calling into question the prospects of wave power. Created by Ocean Power Technologies over two years ago, a huge, 260 tonne buoy was destined to supply power to 100 homes in America’s Pacfic Northwest; instead, it remains quietly on dry land – shuttered in a house near a port in Oregon.

via Slow Start – Ocean Power Technologies.

Slow Start - Ocean Power Technologies

Uncertainty Energy Policy ‘could hamstring UK’

Political uncertainty is damaging the UK’s low-carbon ambitions and could prevent the nation from staying within its carbon budgets, a report claims.

The UK Energy Research Centre asserts that while the UK remains committed to lofty climate change targets recent rises in energy prices, the impact of the 2008 financial crisis and heightened concerns about energy security have challenged the government’s commitment to them.

The report UK Energy Strategies Under Uncertainty features contributions from more than 30 academic experts on energy and identifies the key issues that have arisen as well as recommending strategies to tackle them.

Professor Jim Watson, Research Director of the UK Energy Research Centre and one of the lead authors, said: “For the past decade energy policy in the UK has been an increasingly delicate balancing act between reducing emissions, security and affordability.

“Policymakers are right to be sensitive to the financial pressures facing the public and businesses but action to relieve these pressures shouldn’t come at the cost of progress towards a low-carbon economy.

via Uncertainty ‘could hamstring UK’ – Politics | ReNews – Renewable Energy News.

Uncertainty Energy Policy ‘could hamstring UK’

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

UK GAS-Prices down on ample supply, shrug off sanctions

British prompt gas prices declined on Tuesday, with traders confident of ample supplies and sanctions on Russian energy exports deemed unlikely.Gas for delivery on Wednesday fell 0.55 pence to 48.05 pence per therm by 0735 GMT, while gas for immediate delivery was down 0.60 pence at 48.20 pence per therm.Gas flows of around 198 million cubic metres mcm were slightly under forecast demand of around 200 mcm, National Grid data showed.Two liquefied natural gas tankers are expected to arrive in Britain on Tuesday, which should boost supply.”The downward shift looks to be continuing today, the balanced system and confidence in supplies seeing prompt contracts offered over 0.50 pence lower,” a gas trader said.

via UK GAS-Prices down on ample supply, shrug off sanctions | Agricultural Commodities | Reuters.

UK GAS-Prices down on ample supply, shrug off sanctions

Monday, 28 April 2014

Top 10 eco homes: your favourite is...

Over the last two weeks we’ve had the great pleasure of running profiles of 10 eco homes around the country.

Some have displayed high-end style and elegance, notable for their technological wizardry and innovative energy solutions. Some have sprung from community inspiration, or have provided bold new templates for home ownership. Others have been light-on-the-earth dwellings that use recyclable materials, and take a lo-fi approach to home life. But the common theme for one and all has been that we want to live in them. All of them.

We chose our list of 10 with the help of a fantastic panel of experts who helped us come up with a list that reflected so many different facets of the move to sustainability. Thanks, once again, to the Green Building Council, Hattie Hartman, sustainability editor at the Architect’s Journal, HAB housing, The Green Press, Green Sky Thinking, Superhomes, the Centre for Alternative Technology, BREEAM, and The Built Environment Centre for Northern Ireland.

Voting opened on Tuesday last week, and you voted in your thousands. We had a wonderful week fielding tweets and emails and your general enthusiasm and in an amazingly even spread of votes – no house got less than 5 per cent.

But enough chatter! Incredibly, despite thousands of votes, there were two tied runners-up for your favourite eco home. One was Lammas in north Pembrokeshire – the eco-village that is a shining example of low-impact dwelling, completely self-sufficient and deeply connected to the land in which it is situated.

via Top 10 eco homes: your favourite is … | Life | The Guardian.

Top 10 eco homes: your favourite is...

Friday, 25 April 2014

Coal still accounts for bulk of power on British grid

The share of renewable energy on the British grid increased in the three months ending in February, though coal still dominated, the government said Thursday.The British Department of Energy and Climate Change published energy data from December to February.For renewable energy resources, DECC said wind power dominated the sector with offshore wind capacity increasing 39 percent in the three-month period and onshore wind up 68 percent compared to the same period one year ago.For bioenergy, capacity increased 9.4 percent and the low-carbon share of electricity on the British grid increased by 7 percent to 36.7 percent year-on-year.Coal, however, provided 41 percent of the electricity generated, with natural gas and nuclear power accounting for the bulk of the remaining power share.The British economy relied more on imports as coal and crude oil production declined, Natural gas production, however, increased 1.3 percent compared with the same period one year ago.Energy consumption in general declined 7.6 percent compared to the same period a year earlier, DECC said.

via Coal still accounts for bulk of power on British grid –

Coal still accounts for bulk of power on British grid

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Tories would scrap windfarm subsidies

The Tories have pledged that if they are elected with an overall majority in 2015 they will axe public subsidies for any newly planned onshore wind turbines.

Existing windfarms and those already with planning permission would be protected from the change but the energy minister, Michael Fallon, said these would be enough to meet 2020 targets set by the EU – meaning any further developments should not be subsidised.

Instead, the money will be used to back other renewable technologies as part of a mix of energy supplies.

Changes to planning rules will also give communities more power to reject onshore wind projects not already in place or planned when the policy comes into force.

But critics said the Conservatives were turning their back on the cheapest form of renewable energy and would put future jobs at risk. They claim the move is designed to counter the threat from Ukip.

Fallon said: “We remain committed to cutting our carbon emissions. And renewable energy, including onshore wind, has a key role in our future energy supply.

“But we now have enough bill payer-funded onshore wind in the pipeline to meet our renewable energy commitments and there’s no requirement for any more.

via Tories would scrap windfarm subsidies | Environment | The Guardian.

Tories would scrap windfarm subsidies

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Energy Assets acquires BGlobal Metering in £2.3m cash deal

ENERGY Assets, the Scottish gas meter specialist, has made its first big move into the electricity meter market by acquiring a Lancashire-based firm for £2.3m cash.

Livingston-based Energy Assets said the purchase of the BGlobal Metering business from Bglobal group will allow the company to become a leading player in the market to supply smart meters that companies can use to monitor their power consumption.

Chief executive Phil Bellamy-Lee described the deal as a significant step in the delivery of the group’s strategy to offer services across a range of utilities.

The acquisition will result in a big increase in the number of meters that Energy Assets provides to and monitors for customers in the industrial and commercial markets on which it focuses.

BGlobal Metering provides 60,000 meters to customers and collects information from 90,000.

Energy Assets had 101,000 meters installed at clients’ facilities at March 31, including hundreds of electricity meters. It collected information from 62,500 meters.

The company is confident both arms of the enlarged business will be able to capitalise on regulatory changes intended to help reduce power consumption and associated carbon emissions.

These are fuelling demand for smart meters.

via Energy Assets acquires BGlobal Metering in £2.3m cash deal | Herald Scotland.

Energy Assets acquires BGlobal Metering in £2.3m cash deal

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Energy saving heating system gets £2m backing

MORE than 300 jobs will be created after the company behind an innovative infrared energy saving heating system was awarded a £2m loan.

Erad Systems Limited secured the loan from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) as part of its Regional Growth Fund Programme.

The firm’s founders Mike Drogan and Steve Robson believe their Erad system has the potential to revolutionise the way in which people heat their homes and businesses.

It works by using infrared radiant heat to warm the objects in a room as opposed to the surrounding air resulting in a much more even distribution of heat.

Mike said demand for the product is high and said the £2m will be used to invest in high quality staff.

He said: “Countless hours have gone into developing and testing the system to create an energy solution that is both highly energy efficient and extremely cost effective for our customers.

“Since starting to introduce the system to the market just eight months ago as part of our pre-launch activity, we have received an overwhelming response and it is great to see this potential recognised by the GMCA.

“We have a global patent for the Erad system and, although our short-term goal is to focus on the UK market initially, we see great potential in the future for the system to be rolled out overseas.

“We believe has the potential to revolutionise the way in which people heat their homes and businesses.”

via Energy saving heating system gets £2m backing – Manchester Evening News.

Energy saving heating system gets £2m backing

UK joins solar power 'gigawatt club'

The UK has joined solar power’s ‘gigawatt club’, becoming one of only six countries with more than one gigawatt of installed capacity, according to new figures.Industry authority released data showing that the UK is now ranked sixth in the world in terms of utility-scale solar, largely thanks to a record month that brought over 500 megawatts of new projects.The US is the world leader, with over 5.6 gigawatts of capacity from 315 plants, followed by China, Germany, India and Spain.Energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey welcomed the UK’s recent growth in the sector, pointing out that the country was the leading European nation for bringing new solar projects online in 2013.

via | Sustainable Construction News | SIG Energy Management | Building sustainable futures.

UK joins solar power 'gigawatt club'

Drax Group receives "first of its kind" £80 million purchasing facility

North Yorkshire’s Drax Group has completed a £80 million renewable energy receivables purchasing facility with Lloyds Bank to free up cash flow. It is believed to be a “first-of-its-kind” deal on this scale. Electricity generators like Drax earn Renewables Obligation Certificates ROCs for every MWh of renewable electricity produced.Generators sell the certificates to electricity suppliers, such as the vertically integrated UK energy companies, to enable them to meet the requirements of the Government’s Renewables Obligation.However, the payment cycle for ROC sales can be more than 12 months, absorbing working capital for renewable generators.Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance created a ROC receivables purchasing facility that supports cash flow management in the Group’s growing sustainable biomass business.

Wayne Mills, director for Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance who led the transaction, said: “The creation of this ROC monetisation facility was a complex transaction that provides an important cash flow management tool for this major UK power provider.“Nothing like this had ever been done before and we had to ensure we got it right. Whilst the ROC mechanism is a complex scheme, the new facility helps solve what was a significant business challenge for Drax.“Drax owns and operates the largest power station in the UK, and is typically responsible for supplying 7-8% of the UK’s electricity.With carbon abatement central to its strategy, the company wants to transform itself into a predominantly biomass-fuelled power provider through burning sustainable biomass in place of coal and providing the UK with cost effective, low carbon, and reliable renewable power.Michael Scott, head of corporate finance at Drax, said: “We are very pleased to have put this facility in place. It is proving critical to delivering effective cash flow management and we are very grateful to the Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance team for its support.“

via Drax Group receives “first of its kind” £80 million purchasing facility | Bdaily Business News.

Drax Group receives "first of its kind" £80 million purchasing facility

British Gas staff 'paid bonuses tripling their £25,000 salaries if they inflate customers' bills by 60% by targeting charities and small businesses'

British Gas is paying staff bonuses to inflate customers’ bills by up to 60 per cent, a whistleblower has claimed.

The former employee said he felt ‘disgusted’ by the policy, which encouraged staff to target charities and small businesses and sell them the most expensive deals possible.

Employees were told they could triple their £25,000 salary through commission if they sold the highest-priced tariffs to enough customers.

Churches and charities – including the Scouts – were among those targeted by the policy, the whistleblower said, with some organisations ending up £2,000 a year worse off.

via British Gas staff ‘paid bonuses if they inflate customers’ bills by 60%’ | Mail Online.

British Gas staff 'paid bonuses tripling their £25,000 salaries if they inflate customers' bills by 60% by targeting charities and small businesses'

Thursday, 17 April 2014

UK to lead EU frack fight?

UN climate chiefs have backed hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as part of the solution to global warming, according to a report carried by the Telegraph newspaper on Sunday. Fracking is the controversial process of extracting natural gas from shale rock layers deep within the earth.

Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the working group that drew up the report, said it was “quite clear” that shale gas “can be very consistent with low carbon development and decarbonization.”

The comments give support to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s earlier call for energy independence and the adoption of technologies like shale gas fracking to top Europe’s political agenda. Cameron said on March 25 that the Crimea crisis was a “wake-up call” for states reliant on Russian gas. Britain has a “duty” to embrace fracking, he added.

Europe fears that Russia might cut off the gas supply that they rely on as retaliation to Western sanctions.

Although the UK imports less than 1 percent of its gas directly from Russia, Russia’s energy giant Gazprom claims it sells between 11 billion and 12 billion cubic metres to the UK, which is about 15 percent of the country’s total need. Supplies of Russian gas indirectly reach Britain through other European countries. This explains why in 2009 UK gas prices soared by 17 percent when Russia cut off the gas to Ukraine.

The “shale gas revolution” in the US seems to inspire Britain’s hope that it can also be a game-changer for the UK in terms of energy, economics and geopolitics.

via UK to lead EU frack fight? – WORLD –

UK to lead EU frack fight?

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

UN Calls for ’Tripling’ of Renewable Energy Use

The United Nations has to called on world leaders to triple the planet’s use of renewable energy in a new report on climate change this month. Titled “Mitigation of Climate Change” by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the report – revealed on Sunday – highlights the increased carbon emissions produced in the last few decades as being a catalyst for climate change. The panel presenting the report does say that this can be reversed, but only if a “massive shift” in the commercial energy marketplace is made within the next decade.

via UN Calls for ’Tripling’ of Renewable Energy Use.

UN Calls for ’Tripling’ of Renewable Energy Use

Monday, 14 April 2014

Gas meter firm SMS buys Utility Partnership for £14m

Glasgow-based gas meter firm Smart Metering Systems SMS has expanded into the electricity sector by buying Utility Partnership Ltd UPL for £14m.SMS will pay £9.7m in cash, with the rest being met by the issue of shares.

UPL manages electricity meters across the UK and offers connections, design, meter installation, data management and energy management services.Last year Cardiff-based UPL reported annual turnover of £11.1m, with profits before interest and tax of £2m.It has managed and installed more than 80,000 meters for the UK’s electricity suppliers.SMS chief executive Alan Foy said: “The acquisition of UPL will enable SMS to expand its service offering across the gas and electricity sectors, and the enlarged group will now offer a fully integrated service in these markets.”It positions the enlarged company as a dual gas and electricity service provider and establishes a base from which we can enhance our existing respective client relationships.”

via BBC News – Gas meter firm SMS buys Utility Partnership for £14m.

Gas meter firm SMS buys Utility Partnership for £14m

Five reasons why energy bills are so high – and still rising

We’re spending more and more on energy with no end in sight, regardless of what shade of green we plan for our future. Can we do anything about it? Gas prices are not easy to control, but politicians do set energy taxes and levies, and decide on how investment in low-carbon power generation, the power grid and energy efficiency is spent.

Understanding what makes up our energy bills is key to holding politicians and energy providers to account. Here are the five reasons your gas bills are high and rising.

1. High gas prices

“In the last 10 years, commodity prices are probably the single biggest thing that has affected energy bills in the UK,” says energy consultant Matt Brown. Most of the money households fork out for energy is spent on gas for heating, some 60%. But in the UK’s gas-driven power sector, the gas price has also become the main driver of the electricity price.

Energy bills have gone up as the UK shifted from being a net exporter to a net importer of gas in the last decade, and gas prices rose in tandem with oil prices. The two fuels are typically drilled for together and their prices remain closely linked, despite Brussels’ efforts to create more of an open market for gas.

via Five reasons why energy bills are so high – and still rising | The big energy debate | The Guardian.

Five reasons why energy bills are so high – and still rising

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Key Facts from the EuroStat Renewable Energy Report

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union have released their long-awaited publication on renewable energy consumption in the twenty-eight EU member states for 2012.

Revealed at the end of last month, this new report takes the full calendar year of 2012 into account, producing a fascinating insight into the commercial energy market for Europe, with chance to see not only how other countries on the continent are managing and consuming renewable energy.

The headline news from the report showed that consumption of renewable energy was up in 2012, hitting a record high of 14% of all energy consumption in the EU28.

Over the last eight years, that represents a 5.8% increase from the total in 8.3% in 2004 – the first year from which the data was recorded by Eurostat.

Despite leaning heavy pressure on a number of member states to meet a renewable energy benchmark by 2020, the European Union will see this promising progress as justification for the initiative which has cause no small amount of tension in some nations thanks to the economic crisis.


via EuroStat Renewable Energy Report – 2012.

Key Facts from the EuroStat Renewable Energy Report

British Gas Business To Pay £5.6m Penalty

Ofgem has fined the arm of British Gas which serves business customers for a series of failures including blocking firms from switching to other suppliers.

The energy regulator said British Gas Business would pay a total penalty of £5.6m.

It said £800,000 of that sum would be in fines, on top of £1.3m already paid to 1,200 customers who ended up paying higher bills because they were not notified when their contracts were due to expire.

A further £3.45m would go to an energy efficiency fund, Ofgem said.

It blamed a computer error for the blocking of customers wanting to switch and said the company failed to communicate properly with those affected.

via British Gas Business To Pay £5.6m Penalty.

British Gas Business To Pay £5.6m Penalty

British Gas arm ordered to pay £5.6m by Ofgem

A unit of British Gas is to pay £5.6m in fines and compensation after Ofgem found the company incorrectly blocked businesses from switching suppliers.British Gas Business also failed to give some businesses notice that their contract was due to end.It has paid almost £1.3m to affected businesses and will pay a further £3.45m into an energy efficiency fund. It will also pay a £800,000 penalty.British Gas Business said it was “sorry” the errors had occurred.After investigations by Ofgem, British Gas Business was found to be incorrectly blocking business customers from switching to other suppliers in addition to failing to notify customers when their contracts were close to expiring.Ofgem found that, between 2007 and 2012, 5.6% of objections made by British Gas Business to business customers who wished to switch suppliers were invalid.Furthermore, specific reasons as to why businesses were being prevented from switching were not communicated and there were no details for customers on how the issues could be resolved.

via BBC News – British Gas arm ordered to pay £5.6m by Ofgem.

British Gas arm ordered to pay £5.6m by Ofgem

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Ovo Energy pledges an annual energy bill under £1,000

Ovo Energy, a small power company, has pledged to bring annual bills down to under £1,000.

Ovo says that a 9.5% fall in wholesale gas prices over the winter has allowed it to lower prices.

Its pledge comes just weeks after a competition inquiry was announced into the “big six” energy firms to see if they are hampering competition in the energy market.

Ovo’s price is based on a dual fuel, medium user paying by direct debit.

In the UK, the average annual dual-fuel bill – covering gas and electricity – is about £1,264 per household.

Last month, SSE – one of the big six energy firms – said it would freeze domestic gas and electricity prices at their current levels until 2016.

The price of energy has become an important political issue, particularly after several of the big energy firms raised tariffs at the end of last year.

Last month, a report by regulator Ofgem called for an investigation into the market by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The Ofgem report criticised the effectiveness of competition.

via BBC News – Ovo Energy pledges an annual energy bill under £1,000.

Ovo Energy pledges an annual energy bill under £1,000

Windfarms can reduce house prices by up to 12%, says LSE

Large windfarms can knock as much as 12% off the values of homes within a 2km radius, and reduce property prices as far as 14km away, according to research by the London School of Economics. The findings contrast sharply with a report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research in March, which found no negative impact on property prices within a 5km radius of a turbine.

The LSE findings will fan demands by homeowners for compensation when windfarm developments are given the go-ahead. Currently, windfarm operators pay rent on the land they occupy and make contributions to community causes, but are under no legal obligation to compensate homeowners for loss of value.

The report, “Gone with the wind: valuing the visual impacts of wind turbines through house prices”, by Professor Stephen Gibbons, found that “windfarm developments reduce prices in locations where the turbines are visible, relative to where they are not visible, and that the effects are causal”.

For the average sized windfarm, the price reduction is around 5-6% for homes with a visible windfarm within 2km, falling to less than 2% between 2-4km, and to near zero between 8-14km, which is at the limit of likely visibility. In areas close to windfarms, but where the turbines are not visible, the report found there was a small increase (around 2%) in property prices.

via Windfarms can reduce house prices by up to 12%, says LSE | Money | The Guardian.

Windfarms can reduce house prices by up to 12%, says LSE

Energy market likely to face competition investigation

Ofgem has proposed to refer the energy market for an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), following an assessment of its present state that revealed a number of concerns.

Profits increasing

The regulator, alongside the CMA and the Office of Fair Trading, issued on 27 March its State of the Market assessment.

The report found that average profits for the Big Six increased from £3bn in 2009 to £3.7bn in 2012. Given there was no clear evidence of increased efficiency from suppliers, Ofgem claimed the increases could be indicative of a lack of effective competition.

The report also noted that there was continuing uncertainty over whether the vertical integration of the large energy companies was in consumers’ interests. It further highlighted weak competition between larger energy suppliers, low customer trust and engagement, and barriers to entry and expansion for new suppliers.

via Catalyst Business Energy Market Brief April 2014.

Energy market likely to face competition investigation

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Phase Two begins

Phase Two of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) energy efficiency scheme, which runs up to 2019, began on 1 April 2014. It offered participants the opportunity to purchase cheaper allowances for surrender in the 2014-15 compliance year.

The CRC is a mandatory emissions trading scheme aimed at reducing carbon emissions from large commercial and public sector organisations. Organisations mandated to participate in the CRC must monitor their emissions and purchase allowances to cover their energy use.

CRC allowances will be sold in two fixed price sales in each CRC compliance year: a forecast sale of £15.60/allowance and a retrospective compliance sale at £16.40/allowance.

The forecast application period for the first compliance year of Phase Two takes place between 1 April and 30 April. Forecast payments will be made between 1 June and 20 June with the allocation of allowances taking place between 1 June and 15 July.

via Catalyst Business Energy Market Brief April 2014.

Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Phase Two begins

Conservatives give strongest sign yet they will halt windfarm expansion

The Tory chairman, Grant Shapps, has given the first public signal that the Conservatives will seek a moratorium of onshore windfarms and will draw a dividing line with the Lib Dems, who he says love them.

The senior minister appeared to confirm Guardian reports that the Tories will pledge at the next election to cap the output of onshore wind farms from 2020.

Asked by the Western Morning News whether plans to curb wind farms would feature in his party’s manifesto, Shapps said: “The wind is moving in a clear direction here.”

He claimed that while onshore wind turbines blight the countryside and upset everybody, the Lib Dems love them.

In what appears to be an attempt to differentiate the coalition partners, he claimed Lib Dems covet wind farms “all over the south-west if they can pull it off”.

The south-west is home to a large number of onshore windfarms and marginal Tory-Lib Dem seats. Countryside opponents of the technology complain that it spoils the landscape and depresses house prices. But green groups and the renewables industry have accused the Tories of pandering to the right and rowing back on the green agenda.

It comes after a senior source close to the prime minister told the Guardian last week that Cameron is supportive of opponents of onshore windfarms and wants to go further in cutting their aid.

A move by Cameron and George Osborne to push for a cap on the electricity output of onshore windfarms, which would in effect amount to a cap, was rejected by Nick Clegg.

via Conservatives give strongest sign yet they will halt windfarm expansion | Environment | The Guardian.

Conservatives give strongest sign yet they will halt windfarm expansion

Catalyst Business Energy Market Brief April 2014

Bearish trends continue for gas as March sees wind generation records

In March, short-term gas prices continued reductions seen since the start of the year. Russia/Ukraine tensions saw the day-ahead contract rise 10% to 61p/th on 3 March. However, strong supply data, with storage capacity 55% full, offset these early gains. The contract dropped 4.7% over the month.

via Catalyst Business Energy Market Brief April 2014.

Catalyst Business Energy Market Brief April 2014

Good Energy profits rise sharply as dissatisfied big six customers switch

Gas and electricity supplier Good Energy has seen a sharp increase in profits, as dissatisfied big six customers switch to its services.

The Wiltshire-based firm, which generates all its electricity from renewables, said customer numbers rose 32% in 2013, helping it more than double pre-tax profits to £3.3m.

The listed company remains a minnow in comparison with the big six, which control 95% of the UK’s energy market. But it has been boosted by record numbers of new customers as the government encourages consumers to switch providers in a bid to break the stranglehold of the largest firms.

Good Energy’s strong results were published as it emerged that complaints against energy firms had more than tripled in the first quarter of 2014. Figures released by the energy ombudsman on Monday showed a record 10,638 complaints from January to March.

Juliet Davenport, chief executive and founder of Good Energy, said her firm was winning new customers on the back of increased awareness of energy supply. “This is a debate that is long overdue. People are becoming interested in where their power comes from, how it is generated.”

via Good Energy profits rise sharply as dissatisfied big six customers switch | Economy | The Guardian.

Good Energy profits rise sharply as dissatisfied big six customers switch

Six big questions that the British energy industry must answer

This is the biggest investigation of the British energy markets since privatisation and deregulation began in the 1980s. But the inquiry, triggered last week by a trio of watchdogs led by Ofgem and to be undertaken by the new Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) immediately sparked dire warnings that go to the heart of Britain’s energy policy paralysis.

British Gas owner Centrica and a raft of analysts said a probe that could last two years will freeze investment in much-needed power stations and make blackouts more likely. Ofgem and energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey countered that a proper and full investigation would clear the air and rebuild trust among consumers.

via Six big questions that the British energy industry must answer | Economy | The Guardian.

Six big questions that the British energy industry must answer

Monday, 7 April 2014

We need to tackle fuel poverty to meet climate-change targets

The Department of Energy and Climate Change appears to be in the difficult position of being committed to two potentially conflicting strands of policy development. On the one hand it is producing a new strategy to address fuel poverty (its predecessor having conspicuously failed, with fuel-poor households at a historic high), while at the same time it is consulting on proposals to lower energy bills by reducing the surcharges – “green taxes” – that fund fuel-poverty work.

Energy secretary Ed Davey launched a consultation in March with an upbeat speech on the future of the energy company obligation (ECO), the levy on energy suppliers that supports energy efficiency improvements. Extending its reach to 2017, he rightly said that “the obligations under ECO that meet the needs of the fuel poor cannot be compromised”.

The problem is that the programme was already woefully thin. ECO funding supports the installation of energy-efficiency measures such as new boilers, which the energy companies can provide in a cost-effective way. Yet there is no obligation on companies to consider properties as a whole, making them sufficiently thermally efficient so that the household can keep adequately warm at an affordable cost. The benefits of a new boiler will be seriously undermined if a home still has draughty windows and a lack of insulation.

via We need to tackle fuel poverty to meet climate-change targets | The big energy debate | The Guardian.

We need to tackle fuel poverty to meet climate-change targets