Archive for UK energy

Renewable energy – The missing link

This is a great video from those clever people at, the speaker is David Sadoway who has been looking into what type of battery can be used to store renewable energy so that we can still make use of it even when the suns not out and the winds not blowing.

The video is a great insight into the potential future of renewable energy and is a great argument boost towards the realisation of renewable energy as a sustainable source of power for the future.

Possibly the most inspiring part of the talk is David’s willingness to think about these problems from a different perspective his philosophy is “We need to think about the problem differently. We need to think big. We need to think cheap.”


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Switch gas and electricity supplier to start saving now

Well it’s a new year and although the energy prices have came down our bills are still pretty high, but one of the quickest and easiest ways to save money is to switch supplier yet many people just stick with their current provider and often end up paying considerably more than they should be.

I think this is down to people still believing that trying to switch gas and electricity is a complicated process that can often cause more hassle than it’s worth. Yet in reality switching gas and electricity supplier has never been easier the internet provides a wealth of information at your fingertips and you have groups like Consumer Focus keeping your best interests at heart.

The funny thing is you may actually be able to get the cheapest deal from your current supplier but you do have to ask. However if you find that you need to go looking elsewhere there are a few questions you should be asking before choosing a supplier:

How much energy do I actually use?
This will help you decide which set of supplier rates suit you best.

Which energy tariff is best for me?
Each company offers a selection of tariffs that can vary in price, for instance you are generally always cheaper going for an online tariff and paying by monthly direct debit.

How can I pay my bills?
Most suppliers offer a range of payment options, the most common are; direct debit and quarterly but you can also get a pre-payment meter or pay weekly.

Is the service good?
There are many groups out there that regularly review the customer service of the big energy suppliers and interview customers this means that they can supply accurate information regarding the level of service you can expect from each company. Which? Do a particularly comprehensive survey with a number of different categories.

Hopefully these questions have given you an indication as how you can switch electricity and gas supplier and hopefully save yourself some money.

Do you have any tips or advice?

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Big Energy Week: Which issues smart meter concerns

Consumer group Which? has used Big Energy Week to issue a warning to the Government to halt the installation of Smart Meters across the UK or risk becoming embroiled in an £11bn fiasco.

Big Energy Week sparks debate

The main thrust of their concern is that the efficiency savings which the meters are supposed to engender will not pass sufficient value onto consumers, and enable them to save money on their energy bills.

British Gas has urged the government to continue with the programme, insisting that its customers are happy with the smart meters and are saving cash on their bills.

For more detail on this story see the following websites:

Do you have a smart meter installed?

Is it helping you to save on your energy bills?

Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Also worth noting is that, as part of Big Energy Week (a collaboration between the Citizens Advice Bureau, energy companies and other bodies), Which is holding a live Q&A session with energy secretary Chris Huhne at 2.30pm tomorrow (Wednesday 18th January) – go to this webpage to get involved.

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Isle of Wight to be the future of renewable energy…

The UK’s largest ever renewable energy project got underway last week with the creation of the Ecoisland consortium. The consortium is made up of leading green energy company ITM Power and a number of international powerhouses including: Toshiba, SSE, Southern Water, Cable & Wireless Worldwide and IBM.

The group intend to use ‘smart technology’ to create a renewable energy system on the Isle of Wight, the idea is to show how energy systems will be in the future.

ITM Power are supplying hydrogen production and refuelling equipment that will be connected to renewable energy systems: wind, solar, tidal and geothermal. The technology will be used to refuel hydrogen adapted vehicles.

David Green the Ecoisland founder has said “The collection of technologies that we are bringing together on Ecoisland will provide the total energy solution for tomorrow’s world.”

I think it is another great project for the UK and shows that we are still at the forefront of the renewable energy race.

Do you have any thoughts? Could this kind of money and resources be better spent in the current climate?

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renewable energy

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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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Electric Nissan – car of the year!

So, the Nissan Leaf has won car of the year. Not all that long to go now until it hits the UK streets. release date is March. Will you be buying one? As I’ve said before (possibly) I’m fully committed to buying one as long as my lottery numbers come up on Saturday night.

What I’m wondering is when the cars are on the road in the UK, will Electricity companies notice a difference in terms of electricity patterns of consumption, and – further down the line, this – when electric cars are the norm, will the national grid have to to make changes to cope with the demand?

When I was young, this was the only electric car on sale!

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Christmas and energy use

It’s not quite festive season yet, although judging by the shops you’d think it was the middle of December.

The winter is a big time for the UK economy – some retailers existence more or less depends on the extra business they get at this time of year. Energy companies also do a fair bit of business on the cold weather. They can also advise on how to make the most of your energy and ensure that as little as possible goes to waste. Things like making sure you have the right insulation and so on.

It would also be worthwhile thinking about how to have as green a Christmas as possible. Try and work out how much Christmas food you’re actually going to eat – when I was growing up every household always had a turkey the size of a hatchback car, which must have taken a lot of energy to cook, then most of it sat in the fridge for days afterwards, the remainder getting used in sandwiches, soup, curry and so on. By buying a smaller bird, or even a turkey crown, there’s less cooking time, and less waste all round.

Other ways to save energy at Christmas – try and do as much shopping online as you can – this saves driving into town, and it also saves you the stress of fighting your way through the shops and having to listen to the same Chrismas tunes being piped over the pa.a system.

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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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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”” 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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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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