Thursday, 10 July 2014

Wind and other renewables generated a fifth of Britain's electricity in early 2014

New windfarms coming online, strong winds and a good winter for hydropower plants sent renewable energy generation surging to 19.4% of all electricity from January to March 2014, up from about 12% for the same period last year. The power produced was enough for about 15m homes during the quarter. It was hailed as a breakthrough by the wind industry, which alone provided 12% of the overall power produced, and a rebuff to critics who have said that renewables would never account for such a large proportion of the energy mix.
However, the DECC data could stoke a new price row with energy suppliers because it shows gas prices to domestic customers rising in the first quarter with prices to businesses in decline at the same time.
The cost of gas to householders, including VAT, rose by 4.8% in real terms between the first quarter of 2013 and the same period of this year, while average gas prices to business customers, including the climate change levy, were 5.2% lower.

 full article

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

New pan heats food 40% faster thanks to its 'fins'

  • The energy efficient Flare design, which has fins, was dreamed up by a professor of engineering at Oxford University
  • The shape of the pan channels heat from a gas flame across the bottom and up both sides, to capture energy that would otherwise be wasted
  • This means it can heat food faster using 40 per cent less energy
  • The pans, which are made from cast aluminium, will go on sale at Lakeland next month, with prices starting at £49.99

Electric cars 'to cost more to run than petrol vehicles'

It could now cost more to run an electric car than one using fuel owing to the end of UK government subsidies.
The Department for Transport's support for the installation and maintenance of chargers ended in April.
Local councils, left to cover costs, tendered contracts out to private companies - and prices have gone up.
Transport Minister Baroness Kramer told You and Yours £500m was being invested over five years to provide support for electric vehicle drivers.
In the first five months of this year, nearly 2,000 electric cars were sold in the UK - more than double the sales for the same period in 2013.


  • Charge points began to appear around the UK in about 2010
  • Machines were installed by local authorities at a cost of about £50,000
  • The rapid chargers can power up an electric vehicle in 30 minutes
One of the reasons for the increase is the perception that the running costs of an electric vehicle will be cheaper than a fossil fuel car.
There are concerns that increasing the cost of charging will choke market growth just as it begins to take off.
While electric cars are around £8,000 more expensive than a diesel or petrol one, the government offers a £5,000 grant towards the cost of the car, and will help to install a charge system at home.
Until very recently it was free to charge your car at all public power points. Now Charge Master, one of the biggest providers, asks for £7.50 for a half-hour rapid charge.
Andrew Fenwick-Green, marketing secretary of the Electric Vehicle Drivers Association, drives a Nissan Leaf. He said: "A gallon of diesel for most eco-diesels will cost you £6.30 and get you around 60 miles.
"A 30-minute rapid charge in my Nissan Leaf would give you a range of 64 miles. So we're paying an extra £1.20 more to get the same mileage. It's madness... if the rapid chargers go up to £7.50 we're going to kill the market at a stroke".
Support The Charge Your Car company asks for £5 for a rapid charge, and Transport for London awarded its contract to the French company Bollore, which will introduce an annual fee of £10 for unlimited charging from September.
Charge Master chief executive David Martell has asked for more support.
"Next year the amount of annual expenditure from Government on infrastructure is going to be slashed by two-thirds, which I think is a little too early.
"We need a few years' more support from the Government to allow proper businesses models to arrive for charging."
Lady Kramer said: "The whole point of this is that you charge at home. That leaves you with a cost of about 2p per mile, which is why it's attractive to the people who have been buying these cars.
"The public rapid chargers are intended for occasional use."
She added that the industry could have communicated with customers better but the shift to charging would not stymie the emerging electric vehicle market.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

UK’s Green Deal Home Improvement Fund issues £8.5m during scheme’s first two weeks

A total of GBP8.5m has been issued to British householders making energy efficient improvements to their homes, during the first two weeks of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund scheme, the UK government’s Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) revealed on Friday.

According to industry estimates, the amount issued in funding from the new initiative represents a surge of GBP6m from the first week, during which GBP2.6m was issued to households in England and Wales that are carrying out energy efficient home improvements from an approved list.

The DECC said a total of 2821 applications have been made for the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund, under which domestic energy customers can get up to GBP1000 for installing two measures from an approved list and/or up to GBP6000 for installing solid wall insulation, as well as up to £100 refunded for their Green Deal Assessment.

In addition, householders who have bought a property in the 12 months prior to application are eligible to qualify for up to an additional GBP500 if they carry out energy efficiency improvements.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey commented:

New Green Deal is very generous, says energy secretary

The second round of the government's Green Deal energy saving programme for homeowners opens on Monday.

The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund offers cashbacks and incentives on such things as double-glazing, insulation and boilers.

The first round was criticised for being complicated and low on take-up.

But Energy Secretary Ed Davey told the BBC that "we have learned from what people were telling us", adding that round two was "very generous".

Some £120m has been set aside for the revamped programme, with money being issued on "a first come first served" basis, Mr Davey said.

Depending on the energy-saving project carried out, some money is available only to those who claim within 12 months of moving into their property.

Other benefits are offered irrespective of when they moved in.

If people meet all the conditions, households in England and Wales will be able to get up to £7,600 back, the Department of Energy and Climate Change said in a statement.

The first Green Deal was launched last year in a blaze of publicity, and hailed as one of the biggest home improvement programmes for decades. But just 1,754 signed for phase one.

Mr Davey said a key difference with the new phase was that "these are grants, not loans, and are very generous... We are trying to do everything we can to help people with their energy bills."

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