Archive for Green News

Zero Carbon Homes with SSE

Check out this time lapse video of SSE’s project of zero carbon homes they have built in the South of England.  Staff were afforded the opportunity to live in these homes at a lower cost than regular living arrangements for a year and could live within a completely zero-carbon free home.

What do you think about these types of homes?  Do you see them becoming more popular than homes as they are now?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

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The Green Fleet Hit The Street….

Scottish and Southern Energy, the UK’s largest supplier of green energy have now taken their commitment to a greener UK one step further, by switching to a fleet of just under 400 low emission Mercedes-Benz vans.

For the petrol-heads amongst you the vans are fitted with the 129hp Euro 5 engine and the Mercedes Blue Efficiency pack. Now that’s all well and good but, what does it mean? What does a Blue Efficiency pack get you?

Well, Blue Efficiency gets you:

–  Quite a range of extras all aimed at making your vehicle as efficient and green as possible.

– Eco-Start- Improves economy by automatically turning off the engine when stationary i.e. traffic jams, it then restarts it when you press the clutch.

– Low rolling resistance tyres- The tyres will move easier on the road, thus requiring less fuel to keep the car in motion.

– Significant changes have also been made to the power steering, fuel pump and battery management systems in order to maximise the economy and therefore the savings.

Here at The Greener Power Blog we think it’s fantastic, that during a period when the majority of companies are penny pinching and forgetting any commitments to going green. SSE are still willing to go out and spend a bit more to maintain their standards, the funny thing is that by being forward thinking its SSE who will be making all the savings once the vans are in full flight.

Watch this space because the other big companies wont be far behind once they realise they’ve missed a trick.

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Electricity powers debate, well, renewables do…

There are a lot of phrases that crop up, and stick around for a while before being consigned to the recycling bin for worn out cliches. Remember “quantum leap”? I haven’t heard that in ages: it’s been replaced by “step change”, or maybe “paradigm shift”.

Anyway, one phrase I never expected to hear was this one: “windfarm nimbyism“. It’s an amusing phrase, conjuring up, of course, a picture of a backyard with a gigantic windmill planted in it, while an angry red-faced old man with rolled up shirt sleeves and a combover shakes his fist at it and shouts obscenities in its direction. Thereby, probably, just making the blades spin all the faster.

But I’m not sure ‘nimbyism’ is quite the right word – wind farms are generally (for obvious reasons) far away from built up areas and therefore it’s stretching the metaphor a bit too much to call their loci ‘yards’?

The Scottish electric experience is looking renewables shaped and while it’s great that the Guardian sets both sides of the argument, I can’t help but see what I see – very little in the way of any kind of nimbyism regarding wind farms.

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Green Germany Protest

Check out these pictures of the anti-nuclear protests that took place in Germany recently. This is reportage photography at its best – taking you right to the heart of events.

Link here at Guardian newspaper.

Meanwhile, with the in opposition German Green party doing well in the polls, they have decided to put forward one of their highest profile politicians, Renate Kuenast, to run for mayor of Berlin.

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Boiler Scandal

It sometimes seems as if the the whole world has gone mental. We were all shocked and outraged at the amount of money being claimed by MPs amd for such everyday things which we have to pay for out of own pockets. And of course years later the stories are still coming out.

Just this morning I was reading about how yet another is being investigated this time for irregularities around her central heating claims. The MP in question, Margaret Moran of the Labour Party, in 1997 submitted a claim for £14,805 for emergency boiler replacement work done to one of her houses in Southampton.

Upon further investigation it turned up that household did not belong to the MP, but to the MP’s partner, and her name was not attached to the title deeds until the middle of 2008, This was not the only problem to come up with her claims but I just wanted to show how the link with central heating, it’s like six degrees of separation round here sometimes

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News: More hydro for Scotland – GDF takeover

A couple of quick updates on some interesting energy news:

Scotland yields more hydro power

£100m hydro win for Green Highland Renewables – A good news story from Scotland where a small hydroelectric specialist company Green Highland Renewables (based in Aberfeldy) has won a £100m contract to develop a series of small hydro schemes on Forestry Commission land. The company, backed by Scottish Hydro Electric owners SSE will develop  in excess of 100 hydroelectric dams across the Highlands, many of them in the most remote glens in the region. The programme is set to last for 10 years. Read more on this deal over at recharge news.

GDF Suez takeover International Power – Now for some not so good news for the UK energy sector. The ownership of UK energy is for us and others a rather worrying issue, and with the proposed takeover of International Power by GDF Suez, more UK energy companies are set to fall under foreign ownership. See more from The Herald.

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Sustainability watchdog muzzled…?

Some less than great news in the forom of inevitable government cutbacks – no more funding for the Sustainable Development Commission, according to BBC News.

The government understandably needs to reduce the deficit, but they also need to reduce carbon output, so will the decision have an adverse effect on the environment. Given the promises that it was going to be ‘the greenest government ever’, one would certainly hope not.

I just hope any bonfire of the quangos doesn’t cause so much smoke to get in the government’s eyes that they can’t see in front of them.

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Act local

While “Think Globally: Act Locally” was a great slogan, like all great slogans its reverberation was louder than its conversion into action, for most of us. I mean, how often do you talk to your next door neighbours. Do you even know their forenames?

Slightly less locally is easier to deal with. Buying locally, that kind of thing. Buying our energy from green energy suppliers who make energy from wind and water. Ensuring that we don’t overconsume petrol, using fewer plastic bags. All the stuff that’s by now pretty much common practise, or if it isn’t, very much should be!

But when local communities work together there are all kinds of benefits. People feel involved and are much more aware of the value of their contribution. It’s partly a social as well as an environmental exercise. Working with local communities also counteracts the illusion that in the modern world eveything is all the same wherever you go. We are still a culturally diverse nation and long may it continue.

So it warmed my heart just a little bit to read that Sustainable Development Commission has produced a report entitled The Future is Local: Empowering communities to improve their neighbourhoods. It’s inspirational stuff, this, with an eye to the future and some real food for thought for the present. Read more about it on the Defra Civil Society blog.

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Learing about energy

One of the best things about the Green Energy topic is that theres always something of interest to read. There is a constant stream of news and opinion out there in the mainstream news and more niche blogs and websites.

For enthusiasts of the subject who may wish to dig a little deeper (we like to count ourselves in here) truly great reading material can be found within the Academic Community: for example this great post by Josh Winn at the University of Lincoln on Oil and the story of energy. There is also a great deal of excellent video content out there, the Open University has a guide to some of the best out there. Of course, we shouldn’t forget about our friends across the pond where a huge academic network exists.

In order to find these sites, simply perform some smart Google searches, ie: “green energy” inurl:.ac.uk” and you should get some interesting results.

Happy learning, and please let us know what your favourite energy learning resource is!

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Green Gates

It looks like Bill Gates – someone whose entire fortune is based on the ability to see into the future – has been thinking Green lately.

In this report from the US, Bill asks perhaps the biggest energy  question of the millennium so far:

‘Can the energy sector finance its own revolution and create … great R&D jobs here in America?’

With the errr… you know what in the news constantly over the past few weeks, I’m sure Gates isn’t alone in wondering what the best way forward for the energy sector is. And while Gates wasn’t explicit about the details, it doesn’t take much reading between the lines to get the gist of what his thinking is:

‘[energy] that is both cheaper, not dependent on foreign supply and is environmentally designed so that we’re not emitting carbon and getting into the climate change problem’

Big voices like Gates’ calling for a step-change in energy production may be a relatively new phenomenon, but one that is surely here for the long term. It’s not surprising that the USA is the world’s biggest oil user, so  it is a good thing that diaogue is beginning in terms of how to produce energy from renewable sources.

Here in the UK, steps are being made towards a greater mix of renewables on the road to green energy provision, and if the green energy sector continues to expand and provides jobs, everyone’s a winner.

Gates: Green Vision?


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