Denmark offer renewable energy insight for other nations

Denmark has long been one of Europe’s leading renewable energy adopters and they have managed to maintain a steady pace with regards to increasing the amount of energy they produce from renewable sources.
Now the Danes are offering their renewable energy model for other nations to copy and help generate their own renewable energy supply. At the moment around 28% of Danish energy comes from renewables but they are aiming high and want to see 50% by 2020 and as much as 100% by 2050.

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Will the UK boiler scrappage scheme return?

Launched just over two years ago,  the UK boiler scrappage scheme was introduced as an efficient and helpful way of further reducing the UK’s carbon emissions.

Given that the boiler accounts for such a large percentage of household energy use – estimates vary, but for most of us well over half the energy we use is for central heating and hot water. So ensuring people would move towards the newer type of energy efficient boiler was going to be more or less imperative for any government with a commitment to reducing co2 emissions.

Carbon emission targets for reduction are generally on the ambitious side, so encouraging people to get rid of older and less efficient equipment also meant that these machines were permanently taken out of use. To qualify for the boiler scrappage scheme there were a few conditions: you had to have the least efficient type of boiler and dependent on your age the boiler had to be working (under 60s) and either working or not working (over 60s).

The scheme was a great success, as many of us who take an interest in green energy and sustainability had guessed it would be. As the Energy Saving Trust‘s website says, “Unprecedented numbers of householders took advantage of the scheme to improve their heating systems and reduce their heating bills”. And not only that – the scheme also undoubtedly raised the profile of household energy efficiency.

But all good things must come to an end, and after upwards of 110 000 new boilers being installed as a direct result of the initiative, the scheme was wound down. Good news for people north of the border, however, as it was announced in January 2011 that it was to re-open in Scotland – more details here.

Will the scheme ever return UK-wide? At the moment, it’s difficult to tell – for the time being, the EST provides info on other grants and discounts that may be available, but following the closure of the scheme there haven’t as yet been any signals that it’s likely to return.

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Green sea power

Marine energy is an area where the UK excels. As a renewable energy source it’s one that we are perhaps well placed to innovate in – given the length of our coastlines, not to mention our forward looking approach to sustainables.

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Is the UK puffed out with renewable energy?

The guardian has started a three part piece on the future of renewable energy, or more accurately wind farms in the UK. This appears to have stemmed from the growing concerns regarding the cost and sight of the turbines up and down the country.

A recent report from the ENSG (Electricity Networks Strategy Group), who are seen as being the most current view from inside government, Ofgem and other key industry investors have estimated that 28.3GW of wind power (offshore and onshore combined) could have been built by 2020. This has now fallen by 4GW in only two years, and another 1GW is already scheduled to be removed from the current forecast.

This paints a worrying picture for what was a booming industry one of the largest issues aside from complaints about the aesthetics is that the cost to link the new energy sources up to the current energy distribution network has almost doubled in price up from £4.7bn to £8.8bn.

The cost is mainly to create two new underwater pipelines connecting renewable energy from the Scottish Islands to England and North Wales.

Personally I think it will be interesting to see how the previously well catered for pro-renewable groups react to these latest cuts. Part of the problem for most Britons is that they need their gas and electricity to be cheap but at the moment the renewable subsidies only seem to be adding to the bills. Whilst it is for the right reasons a lot of people in Britain can’t afford to support it just now and when nuclear is knocking on the door as a cheap and reliable alternative it only makes things harder.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any thoughts or insight?

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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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Save energy at home….How to make savings this winter.

Given the recent energy price hikes and the concerns that this years winter may be as cold and harsh as last year it seems like everyone is concerned about the potential costs of keeping their homes warm this winter.

Now the last thing we want is for people to be worrying/freezin throughout the ‘season to be jolly’ so when we came across this great segment from the National Wildlife Federation on ‘How to save energy in your home’ we felt it was well worth sharing.

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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?

Feel free to leave a comment

renewable energy

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Electricity pricing factors for business

Are you a business owner wondering how to keep electricity bills down? Then you might be interested in an article which popped up in The Independent today, regarding factors that affect electricity. In fact, included basics that every business owner should know – so you can keep bills down and decide when it’s the right time to switch or not.

The first tips obviously regarded usage and size – and we all know that if we use a vast amount of electricity in a big property we’re going to be charged more. It sounds straight forward, but it can be tempting to take a bigger office for a good price only to discover that energy bills are through the roof.

The other tips involved the type of tariff your business is on – if a company switches property it automatically switches to a ‘demand rate’ even if you have been there for a considerable amount of time and it’s up to the business owner to get in touch to change this rate. However, many suppliers offer great deals for businesses, so it’s worth hunting around for a good deal.

Your office is probably no stranger to the guidelines surrounding energy efficiency, but it’s worthwhile doing a review every now and again to check your not wasting electricity – some business save thousands of pound by reducing their electricity use. Get your staff into the habit of turning off lights at night and in unused rooms, and make sure all computers are completely powered down when not in use. Things like energy saving lightbulbs can also save considerable amounts of money in larger companies.

Finally, it’s important to choose your supplier wisely – energy companies offer competitive rates and packages to businesses at the moment, but this can differ depending on the type of business you have. Search around for good packages and always explain your business fully, including the size of your office, the number of staff and the kind of equipment and computers you’re using –  someone might just have a package that’s right for your company’s current circumstances.

So remember, if you’re thinking you might need to switch gas and electricity supplier for your business, just write a list and justify your current contract under five headings: usage, size, tariff, efficiency and company. You might just come to some interesting conclusions.

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Frozen planet: a real look at climate change

By the looks of Twitter and Facebook updates when the show is on, I’m not the only one who has been hooked on the BBC show Frozen Planet.

The beautiful Arctic creatures and their habits are gripping, and the chance to view the earth’s last truly wild landscape is gripping – but the stark message that echoes underneath this beautifully shot documentary series is that these scenes will not last much longer if climate change continues. The seven part series, aims to create a permanent record of the arctic regions before they change forever – and anyone seeing the penguins

By using green energy, and reducing our consumption we can help slow the changes which are destroying this vast and natural habitat for Arctic creatures. Which is well worth thinking about next time the TV is on standby. Here’s a trailer for anyone who hasn’t yet seen the show:

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