week ending 15 November 2013
AD for London
London’s food waste mountain could soon be put to good use, after ReFood UK announced yesterday that it has secured planning approval for a proposed £30m waste-to-energy plant at the London Sustainable Industries Park (LSIP) in Dagenham. The company, which is a subsidiary of food services giant PDM Group, said the new anaerobic digestion facility would have capacity to process 160,000 tonnes of food waste each year, creating enough low carbon biogas to supply around 10,000 homes as well as a liquid fertiliser.
Business Green 15th Nov 2013 more >>
ECO Plea (1)
The National Insulation Association (NIA) is calling on Government to retain a strong Energy Company Obligation (ECO) as it is vital to providing long terms savings on energy bills and the benefits far exceed the associated costs. “The ECO is the only Government policy specifically designed to reduce energy bills by improving the energy efficiency of our housing stock and therefore it is vital that it is retained and not rolled back or cut as part of the Governments review of green levies.”
National Insulation Association 14th Nov 2013 more >>
ECO Plea (2)
Andrew Warren: One of the longest standing government mandated environmental programmes – the Energy Company Obligation - is set to be scrapped by the Chancellor in his Autumn Statement early next month. And whilst its disappearance may not directly affect you today, either personally or professionally, it would augur a very hard time ahead for any ecological initiative which can be portrayed (even if wrongly) as increasing prices.
Business Green 14th Nov 2013 more >>
The Queen has today officially opened what has been named the world’s most environmentally friendly building - the Co-operative Group’s new £105m Manchester headquarters. With its highly energy efficient design and boiler powered by local crops and chip fat, One Angel Square is now expected to become an example for other businesses seeking to slash their energy bills and boost their environmental credentials.
Business Green 14th Nov 2013 more >>
Saddlers Wells and the Merton Rule
London’s Sadler’s Wells is a renewable energy pioneer. Heat from water in the underground New River, an artificial waterway flowing under that part of London, is pumped up 88 metres to the building and used to manage temperatures in and around the auditorium. “The system is extremely efficient.” As businesses face increasingly ambitious environmental targets, more are turning to solar, biomass and underground sources to harness energy for their own heating and air-conditioning systems. Legal & General Property, for instance, which manages buildings worth £11bn, is looking to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems wherever possible. And the renewable heat arm of British Gas is seeing a boom in biomass boilers and in solar solutions. The famous “Merton Rule” of 2003, which required that any new commercial buildings of more than 1,000 square metres built in the London borough generate at least 10% of their energy needs from on-site renewable energy equipment, inspired a “lean, clean, green” London Plan that has since fed into national building regulations.
Guardian 14th Nov 2013 more >>
Just a month after stepping into his new role as Carillion’s chief sustainability officer, David Picton admits it has been an interesting, and at times challenging, experience. The very same day in October that the construction giant won a contract to deliver the Sussex Energy Saving Partnership, which could generate up to £100m of revenue, it revealed plans to write off £40m through restructuring its energy service business that has been hit by the sluggish uptake for energy services and uncertainty around the government’s energy efficiency policies. Carillion is part of a growing chorus of businesses in the construction sector calling on the government to improve the Green Deal and protect the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) domestic efficiency scheme, which has become a target for criticism in recent weeks as the “Big Six” look for something on which to blame their above inflation price rises. This week EDF joined SSE, Centrica and ScottishPower in calling for ECO to be reformed on the grounds it has been too bureaucratic and costly. But many construction firms argue conversely that rolling back ECO now would be more costly in the long run, insisting that energy efficiency is the only sure way to protect households against rising energy bills.
Business Green 14th Nov 2013 more >>
The National Solar Centre (NSC) has joined up with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to run a series of six roadshows to help explain the new solar planning guidelines to local planning officials. In a letter to local authorities, energy minister Greg Barker said: “I am keen for the focus of growth to be firmly on domestic and commercial roof space and previously-used land However, I am very aware of concerns raised by the public about the potential growth of large-scale solar farms, particularly where approval does not appear to take full account of the latest planning guidance.”
Solar Portal 13th Nov 2013 more >>
ECO Plea (3)
David Cameron is today facing fresh calls to protect the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) domestic efficiency scheme, after a group of social housing associations representing the homes of more than three million people warned that long-term efforts to tackle fuel poverty were being put at risk. The Sustainable Homes Index For Tomorrow (Shift) network of housing associations, other associations, academics and supply chain firms today released an open letter to the prime minister warning that speculation about the future of the ECO scheme was “already having a damaging impact as social landlords rethink their plans”.
Business Green 13th Nov 2013 more >>
Good Energy meets Tory MP
Dorset County Council has approved plans for a 28MW solar farm on Richard Drax MP’s Charborough Estate near Mapperton. The solar farm will sit across 70-hectares of grade three agricultural land, spread across five fields. The developers of the solar farm, green energy provider Good Energy, estimate that it will provide enough annual electricity to power over 6,800 local homes.
Solar Portal 13th Nov 2013 more >>
National Solar Centre
The National Solar Centre is being relocated and will soon be based at the Eden Project. BRE established the National Solar Centre in April this year, with support from the European Regional Development Fund, to drive innovation, cost reduction and increased confidence in the photovoltaic (PV) marketplace through knowledge generation. Speaking about the relocation, centre director Barry Marsh, said, “This exciting opportunity ends months of negotiation on various sites and will enable us to start development plans for our PV performance testing site – a very important part of what we do. Both Eden and BRE have exemplary green credentials and will be working together to provide research, consultancy and training on photovoltaics’
EN 13th Nov 2013 more >>
Utility Week 8th Nov 2013 more >>
Leading renewable energy crowd-funding initiative Abundance Generation has today launched a Christmas marketing drive, which will see Father Christmas returned to his original green garb. The company is seeking to promote the launch of its new Christmas gift investments, which allow people to give investments of £5, £10, £50, £100 or £1,000 in a solar or wind project, by highlighting how Father Christmas used to be a slim figure dressed in green until a well-known drinks company expanded his waistline and gave him a red coat as part of a 1920s advertising campaign.
Business Green 12th Nov 2013 more >>
“There will be no backing down on energy efficiency,” Ed Davey told the energy industry today. But confusion reigns as to the fate of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), one of the government’s key schemes aimed at encouraging householders to insulate their homes. ECO requires energy providers to actively seek out low-income households and provide subsidised home insulation. The policy is part of the government’s programme for tackling fuel poverty. But the costs are added to consumer energy bills, and energy companies say it is too expensive to run.
Carbon Brief 12th Nov 2013 more >>
The row over the impact of “green levies” has taken a surprise turn with EDF Energy today announcing lower than expected price rises, but warning it could impose a second price hike in the coming weeks if the government does not deliver significant cuts to “green levy” schemes. In a move that will spark accusations the company is attempting to bounce the government into either axing the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme or funding it through general taxation, the energy giant said it would increase prices by 3.9 per cent from 3 January 2014, but revealed the proposed change remains contingent on the outcome of the coalition’s controversial “green levy” review.
Business Green 12th Nov 2013 more >>
Solar Schools Plan
Solar installer Engynious has joined forces with SEEd, an organisation dedicated to promoting education for sustainable development in schools, to help them benefit from solar-generated electricity. The partnership will offer schools the opportunity to install a solar array at no cost and purchase the renewable energy generated at a rate that the companies claim will be below market rate – allowing schools to ring fence their electricity costs from escalating market price rises.
Solar Portal 12th Nov 2013 more >>
University goes Solar
DeMontfort University in Leicester will cut its annual electricity bill by around £25,500 after three solar arrays totalling 122.6kWp of capacity were installed across campus. The solar arrays, installed by Mark Group, consist of two 50kWp arrays and one 22.6kWp array that cost the university £180,000. The revenue generated through the feed-in tariff and the associated energy savings means that the university expects to return on its investment within seven years.
Solar Portal 12th Nov 2013 more >>
Renewable Energy Focus 12th Nov 2013 more >>
Welsh Solar House
The First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones made a visit to Rhosygilwen, near Cilgerran in Pembrokeshire, last Thursday to unveil a new eco home. Ty Solar is a low-cost, timber clad home, which not only generates its own solar energy but is also capable of producing excess energy revenues of up to £1,000 a year.
Green Building Press 11th Nov 2013 more >>
Energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey has given his second interview in as many weeks declaring that he will not countenance a cut to energy efficiency schemes as part of the government’s controversial “green levy” review, as industry insiders have again warned that the review is having a “devastating impact” on the insulation sector. Speaking to the Telegraph this weekend, Davey said that while he was happy to have a “debate” on funding energy efficiency schemes such as the Energy Company Obligation and the Warm Homes Discount through general taxation, he would not accept a watering down of either scheme. The latest developments come as the insulation industry issued a fresh warning that the review is having a “devastating impact” on the sector. John Sinfield, managing director of Knauf Insulation, sent a letter this weekend to the prime minister warning that the review was already undermining investment in energy efficiency improvements. Sinfield also urged the prime minister to revisit how to best drive interest in the government’s Green Deal energy efficiency financing scheme, which has to date failed to deliver the thousands of home improvements that were originally envisaged.
Business Green 11th Nov 2013 more >>
David Cameron’s pledge to drop green charges on energy bills is having a “wholly devastating impact” on the energy efficiency industry, according to the UK’s biggest insulation manufacturer.
Guardian 11th Nov 2013 more >>
ECO Progress is Poor
Energy Companies Obligation scheme has been cited as one of the main reasons for price rises by all four of the “Big Six” suppliers Energy giants that blamed price rises on the costs of implementing a government energy efficiency scheme have completed as little as 2pc of measures required so far – more than halfway through the allotted time. Rising costs of the so-called Energy Companies Obligation (Eco) have been cited as one of the main reasons for price rises by all four of the “Big Six” suppliers, which have hiked bills by more than £100 in recent weeks. The scheme is now the centre of a Coalition row over how to cut “green levies” on bills, with ministers considering bowing to energy company demands to watering it down or paying for it through general taxation instead. But Ofgem data show that Bri tish Gas, SSE and nPower – which have all blamed Eco costs for price rises – appear to be making slow progress to meeting the targets and are well behind some of their rivals.
Telegraph 11th Nov 2013 more >>
British Gas has been criticised by Nick Clegg for its slow delivery of an insulation scheme which energy companies have partly blamed for the recent jump in household energy bills. The Centrica-owned company is lagging behind its peers in the number of homes it has insulated under the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO), a government programme funding energy efficient improvements mainly for people in fuel poverty. In the nine months since the scheme was launched in January, British Gas has achieved just 4 per cent, 6 per cent and 9 per cent of targets to deliver the scheme’s three elements for the period up until March next year.
FT 11th Nov 2013 more >>
Brighton Energy Co-op
A community energy group has raised £130,000 in just 13 days to install solar panels in Brighton. Last year the Brighton Energy Co-op brought in £240,000 to pay for solar panels at three sites in the city. This time round their target is £600,000. The money will be spent installing 2,000 solar panels at two new sites in Shoreham Port as well as adding extra panels to three existing projects.
Energy Live News 11th Nov 2013 more >>
Carbon Cutting Network
The National Trust and sustainable energy charity Ashden have launched a new carbon-cutting network to help fight the impact of climate change and rising energy costs.
Renewable Energy Focus 11th Nov 2013 more >>
Bills cut to near Zero
JOHN GALLOP and his partner Sue Williams cut their energy bills from about £1,200 a year to zero after taking measures to improve the efficiency of their home but it will take them more than 18 years to recoup the cost. Over eight years the couple, from Twickenham, southwest London, have spent more than £22,000 installing a solar thermal system to heat their water; loft, wall and floor insulation; low-energy LED lights; radiator foils; thermal blinds; and a more energy-efficient boiler. They also installed dual flush toilets and a water butt to save water. Energy bills for their two-bedroom Victorian terrace have fallen to nothing in most years.
Times 10th Nov 2013 more >>
Energy Efficiency Gadgets
Many families are turning to an array of devices some of which are free to beat rising bills. But not all are worthwhile and in some cases it can take years before you recoup your initial costs. Analysis by the consumer group Which?, found that households could waste £535 on 10 of the most useless energy saving products. They include, “voltage optimisation devices,” which can cost as much as £300 but end up increasing bills in some cases. Instead, it found that measures such as insulation and radiator boosters offered better savings. Which? said: “The simplest measures are normally the best.” The Energy Saving Trust (EST), the advice service, agreed, highlighting measures such as chimney balloons and secondary glazing which can cost less than £100 to install.
Times 10th Nov 2013 more >>
Storage on Gigha
The Scottish island of Gigha is to be the focus of a £2.5m experiment aimed at solving a major technological problem: how to store energy generated by wind, tide and wave power plants. The project, which will involve building giant batteries containing 75,000 litres of sulphuric acid mixed with vanadium pentoxide, is intended to allow power generated by the island’s wind turbines to be stored for later use. At present, while Gigha’s turbines are running, their power is used to run households on the island and excess is transmitted by cable to the mainland electricity grid. When winds are low, and Gigha’s turbines do not turn, the grid feeds power to the island. But the cable link has an upper power limit. As a result, much of the island’s excess power cannot be transmitted to the mainland and is wasted. The battery project, backed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, is intended to get round this problem.
Observer 9th Nov 2013 more >>
New taxes to pay for environmental schemes are being considered as part of a deal to cut household energy bills, it can be disclosed. The taxpayer would foot the bill for two of the “green” schemes, all of which are currently paid for through a levy on gas and electricity bills. The major energy suppliers have repeatedly told ministers the levies are pushing up household bills for which they and the Government have been severely criticised.
Telegraph 9th Nov 2013 more >>
The solar industry has been very hot. Record amounts of new solar capacity have been installed over the past two years. The accelerating pace of adoption of solar panels for distributed generation (installed at the point of use, rather than sold into the power grid) and the downward trend of module prices have created exuberance over the industry’s future. Solar has reached and eclipsed price parity with traditional fuel sources in some markets, and ultimately the potential market for solar PV is huge. A solar module costs approximately 1% of what it did 35 years ago and prices for solar pv panels have plummeted since 2010, with an average price per watt for panels falling from $1.81 in 2010 to less than $0.70 and today.
Breaking Energy 7th Nov 2013 more >>
Energy Policy in Chaos
Investor confidence: that’s the critical factor when you are asking the private sector to stump up hundreds of billions of pounds to build the UK a clean energy system fit for the 21st century. So David Cameron’s impromptu pledge to “roll back some of the green regulations and charges that are putting up bills” on 23 October was unhelpful. But let’s be kind and say it will perhaps help clear the air a little in the poisonous debate over our soaring energy bills, even if those “taxes” make up just 9% of bills. However, what has followed is nothing less than chaos, illustrating starkly the deep and damaging divide within the government. On Wednesday, the prime minister and the responsible minister gave completely contradictory answers on what will be covered by the green levy review.
Guardian 7th Nov 2013 more >>
Letter to Davey from ACE: Yesterday afternoon the Governing Council of the Association for the Conservation of Energy held an emergency meeting, to discuss the devastating impact already being caused to our industry from the fallout from the Prime Minister’s announcement on ‘green levies’ made just a fortnight ago. Initially, knowing the conclusions of the regular assessments that your Department publishes concerning the consumer implications of decarbonising the economy, which is so dependent on the role of improved energy efficiency to reduce overall consumer bills (a far more important measure than prices per unit), we had been confident that your Government’s main supportive policy, the Energy Company Obligation, would be recognised as a sacrosanct component of the policy package. It has become very clear over the past fortnight that this logical assumption was entirely wrong. Inevitably our member companies have been made aware of the threat to ECO’s continuation: not least because of the orchestrated attack upon the existence of the Obligation by the six power companies required to deliver it. This has been most obvious in terms of much of the reporting in newspapers, which has singled out ECO as being in the firing line. Many of these articles have been written by journalists known to be regularly used by the Big Six, and are largely intended to deflect attention from the enormous unit-cost increases announced last month.
ACE 6th Nov 2013 more >>