Archive for UK electricity

Are friends electric? No but cars are…

 

Well, today’s the day. It might even go down in history. The first mass market electric car has hit or shores.

Be excited, be very excited – this is the start of an automotive revolution. No question about that. We may once have predicted or fantasised a 2011 where we all went about on jetpacks or personal hovercraft, but realistically the electric car is more useful than either of those.

One day it may be that cars run on water but for the time being zero tailgate emission electric cars are gonna rule.

Scottish power gas (I mean electricity and north sea gas, not petrol obvs) companies who offer their customers smart meters or monitors are likely to see some changes in household energy use as the car gets plugged in at night. It will be a whole new world.

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Hot off the press..

News just in.  While enjoying my morning (Fairtrade) coffee and a piece of toast’n’jam at 7am today, this report in The Herald really put a smile on my face.

Scottish companies have significantly outperformed the benchmark UK index according to analysis of stock market trends.

And guess what? Among the best performers are the energy companies. It may be down to bad luck that some of the financial services companies didn’t fare as well as they should have, but it’s definitely heartening to see energy doing well, given that some of the energy companies are making real progress in terms of the production and sale of renewable energy.

If the future is going to be economically sound as well as financially sound, then it looks like we’re getting off to a good start.

On Saturday there, I was taking a stroll through Glasgow city centre, enjoying the lovely sunshine when I passed a newspaper shop and stopped in to look at the headlines. Imagine my dismay when I read in bold letters this headline: Experts warn of power cuts as warm, dry weather creates a blow for wind turbine energy. Yikes? Well, I think it’s just a bit of  excitable reporting really, given that the report goes on to quote a National Grid spokesman who said “…there is more than enough electricity to meet demand”.

As for ‘calm weather’ being the cause of a lack of energy, the howling gales of the past 24 hours will surely have made up for that?!

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‘Sustainable Energy – without the hot air’, fantastic free book

Sustainable Energy - without the hot air

This is amongst the best books ive read on the energy sector in a long time – ‘Sustainable Energy – without the hot air‘ by David Mackay (a Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge). I really can’t do the work justice in a short blog post and i don’t really need to as you can download the entire book in PDF format for yourselves. There is a 10 page synopsis available for anyone who doesn’t fancy downloading 27mb. I would recommend that anyone with an interest in sustainable energy get hold of this text somehow – you can also buy a copy from Amazon for £19.99.

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3 Pin Lightbulbs, Consumer Concerns

green lighbulbs

Green Lighting?

Normally here at Greener Power we are keen to endorse any new technologies that can improve the energy efficiency of our homes and businesses, but when it comes at the expense of consumers that aren’t given any choice on the matter, we are not so keen to blow our green trumpets. This has definitely been the case with the implementation of the MEM 3 Pin Lightbulbs in new-build UK housing stock.

A quick summation of the background to this issue. In 2006, changes to Part L of the Building Regulations stipulated that most new and refurbished homes in the UK have  to install light-fittings that only accept energy efficient three-pin and four-pin bulbs. This is all well and good, these are much more energy efficient than the ‘traditional’ incandescent bulb types in the old housing stock. Unfortunately, this is where the good points end for this particular bulb.

There are three main problems with these 3 pin bulbs:

1) Unlike the traditional bulb which you could get a 3 for £1 or something, these 3 pin MEM (compact fluorescent lamps ‘CFLs’ or ‘energy-saving’ bulbs) bulbs cost about £10 each. This has led to a number of associations dealing with rightfully irate resident feedback about these unconventional fittings.

2) They and do not provide any additional energy saving benefit to equivalent two-pin low-energy bulbs, which you can get for about £1.

3) Only MEM mannufacture them

There is much more on this important issue which hasn’t got the attention it deserves over at Dan Lockton’s ‘Design with Intent‘ blog. He has covered the entire issue from its inception and has a wide range of information on the subject, including a guide on how to fit a normal bulb into a 3 pin socket! (for the more determined or technically minded).

Hopefully, someone will see sense on this issue eventually and either stump up the cash to pay for these bulbs for redsidents or alter the building regulations to allow other types of bulbs to be used in new housing stock.

This post was prompted by a debate on Radio 4 today (15/03) at lunchtime, hopefully this will be available on the BBC iPlayer soon.

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OFGEM Certified Green Energy Tariffs Unveiled

green energy tariff

OFGEM Green Energy Certificate

The energy regulator OFGEM has revealed the first tariffs that meet its requirements for green certification. These tariffs meet three main criteria laid out by an panel of independent experts:

1.    All the electricity use by customers signed up to the tariff must be matched by Renewable Energy bought or generated by the tariff’s Supplier.
2.    The Supplier must also contribute to a minimum level of additional environmental benefits for each customer
3.    The Supplier must sign up to the Green Energy Supply Certification Scheme and obey its rules on transparency (including reporting all its sources of electricity by type) and submitting its Green Supply Tariffs to an annual independent audit.

Nine tariffs have been given ‘green energy certification’…..

  1. better plan from SSE – Scottish Hydro’s green energy scheme, also available with  SWALEC & Southern Electric
  2. Zero Carbon (to be renamed) and Future Energy from British Gas
  3. Go Green from E.On
  4. Green Tariff from EDF Energy
  5. 100% Green & Gold from Good Energy
  6. Juice and National Trust Green Energy from npower
  7. Simply Green from Scottish Power

A good move from OFGEM which should weed out alot of the ‘greenwash’ tariffs out there…………

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SSE Brings 250 Renewable Energy Jobs to Glasgow

Excellent news for Glasgow yesterday that Scottish and Southern Energy had agreed to join with The University of Strathclyde (renowned for wind power research) in Glasgow to create a new Centre of Engineering Excellence for Renewable Energy (CEERE). The new facility will primarily become a new a new research and management centre for wind farm projects.

SSE Manging Director Ian Marchant:

“Our Centre of Excellence which will be known as CEERE will play a crucial part in helping SSE to realise its renewable energy goals in the UK, Ireland and elsewhere in Europe, helping to secure energy supplies and contributing to the development of a lower carbon economy.

“Having considered all of the options in mainland Europe, Ireland and the UK, we have settled on Glasgow as the best location for CEERE, and the city’s own sustainable energy ambitions also make it a very appropriate choice.

“Working with the University of Strathclyde, and with the support of the Scottish Government, we will create and secure several hundred skilled jobs for Scotland.

“Scotland’s ambition to become a leader in renewable energy is well known and we are delighted to be making this investment in Scotland. We’re very positive about the prospects for creating new jobs to harness Europe’s renewable energy resources and the potential make a significant contribution to the achievement of Scotland’s ambitions.”

Strathclyde University Principal (and Professor) Jim McDonald said:

“If we are to address the challenges of climate change, rapid and widespread deployment of renewable energy technologies is critical.

“The new partnership reflects Scotland’s potential to be at the forefront of the UK and European renewable energy sectors, creating new jobs and research and development opportunities.”

The Scottish Government is investing £2.8m into the scheme, First Minister Alex Salmond spoke on the new energy centre yesterday.

Good news for Glasgow and Scotland – this is a considerable commitment to the green economy and hopefully another step on the way for Scotland to become a true renewable energy hub.

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Green Scottish Power from SEGEC Launch?

Scottish European Green Energy Centre (SEGEC) Launches

In what was probably a moment of ‘calm before the storm’ for Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond (before the Megrahi Announcement), last week he opened The Scottish European Green Energy Centre at the University of Aberdeen.

With joint-funding coming from a £1.6 million investment from the European Regional Development Fund, and a further £1 Million from the Scottish Government the centre has the none-too-difficult task of establishing the Granite City as a research hub into wave, tidal and wind power. SEGEC’s primary focus will be on marine energy, offshore wind, long-distance super-grid development and smart distribution grids, carbon capture and storage, renewable heat and energy efficiency.

According to the official Press Release from the Scottish Government:

“It aims to help the Scottish green energy sector secure maximum benefits from engagement with Europe through developing partnerships with businesses and institutions, designing collaborative projects and identifying and accessing European funding.”

One of the partner companies is Scottish and Southern Energy, their Chief Exec Ian Marchant explained their involvment:

“The Scottish European Green Energy Centre is another important step in the realisation of Scotland’s renewable energy ambitions, which SSE is pleased to support. The key is developing and deploying the technologies that can harness Scotland’s remarkable green energy resources, and this new Centre will provide a key means of doing this, involving industry, government and universities here and elsewhere in Europe. It is the kind of initiative that has to be taken and has to succeed if challenging targets for renewable energy in 2020 and beyond are to be met.”

Speaking at the launch, Mr Salmond said:

“The Scottish European Green Energy Centre (SEGEC) aims to build on Aberdeen’s long-established global reputation as an energy hub by positioning Scotland at the forefront of European innovation, research and development in clean, renewable energy.

“The investment of European funding will embrace the energy-related opportunities presented through Scotland’s leading global effort to reduce climate change. Scotland’s natural capital can create tens of thousands of green jobs.”

Here is the official launch video:

Some questions on SEGEC

Obviously, any establishment which aims to promote green scottish power is to be welcomed. However, we have a few questions that you can possibly help us to answer:

  • Is Aberdeen a feasible location to become Scotlands Green Energy hub?
  • Will we (the energy buying public) see any direct benefits from any of these projects? or
  • Are these purely academic exercises?
  • Will the rest of Europe be willing to invest in Scottish Green Energy schemes?
  • If the Scottish Government is serious about green energy supply, then is £1 million a large enough investment?
  • Will all the partner energy companies be willing to adapt to any recommended changes in practice?

If anyone has any thoughts on these please leave a comment!

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