Catalyst Business Energy Market Brief March 2015

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Brent crude oil saw its first month-on-month increases in eight months in February as a number of US oil rigs were taken offline, and prices hovered around the production costs of US shale oil. New commercial crude reserve regulations were introduced in China, which boosted short-term import demand. The gains throughout February sent long-term UK gas and power prices higher.

via Catalyst Business Energy Market Brief March 2015.

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Microsoft buys more green energy than Google and Apple combined

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Over the past few years the negative effects of CO2 in the atmosphere and global warming have become common topics of discussion, and so has the technology that plays a role in reducing emissions, such as electric vehicles and smart devices in homes and offices that reduce energy consumption.

Computer giant Microsoft has recently been revealed to be number 2 in the Environmental Protection Agency’s top 100 leading green energy purchasers in the United States. According to the EPA, Microsoft purchases nearly 2.5 billion kilowatt-hours of renewable energy per year, which is enough to power the entirety of the company’s operations in the US.

The sources of this green energy range from biogas and biomass, to small-hydro, solar, and wind. This energy is either purchased from companies like Sterling Planet and PNM, or produced on-site, for example, with the company’s own solar panels.

via Microsoft buys more green energy than Google and Apple combined.

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Renewable energy poised to overtake nuclear in the UK

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A wind of change is blowing through the UK’s power stations. Renewable sources of energy like wind turbines could soon generate more electricity than nuclear power stations.The contribution of renewables towards keeping the lights on more than doubled from 6.8 per cent in 2010 to 14.9 per cent in 2013, according to the Office of National Statistics. Nuclear power, at 19 per cent, is in slow decline – no new power stations have been built since 1995, when it contributed more than 25 per cent of the UK’s electricity.Onshore wind turbines delivered a third of the country’s renewable electricity in 2013, with offshore wind rising fast and accounting for 21 per cent. A plan approved last week for the world’s largest offshore wind farm – 400 turbines covering more than 1100 square kilometres of the shallow waters of the Dogger Bank in the North Sea – would add almost two-thirds to existing offshore generating capacity of 4000 megawatts.The UK has invested £14.5bn in wind turbines since 2010, supporting 35,400 jobs, says Ed Davey, secretary of state for energy and climate change. Renewables are also reducing our reliance on foreign imports of fuel, he adds.

via Renewable energy poised to overtake nuclear in the UK – environment – 24 February 2015 – New Scientist.

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Biofuel from trash could create green jobs bonanza, says report

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Creating biofuels from waste produced by industry, farms, and households could generate 36,000 jobs in the UK and save around 37m tonnes of oil use annually by 2030, according to a new report.

Across Europe, hundreds of thousands of new jobs could be created by using these ‘advanced biofuels’, which could replace 16% of the continent’s road transport fuel by the same year, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) study said. But the gains will not come without ambitious policy to promote advanced biofuels, it warned.

“Alternative fuels from wastes and residues offer real and substantial carbon savings, even when taking account of possible indirect emissions,” said Chris Malins who led the analysis for ICCT . “The resource is available, and the technology exists – the challenge now is for Europe to put a policy framework in place that allows rapid investment.”

However, a key vote in the European Parliament’s environment committee next week could stop this potential being realised, as a centre-right grouping of MEPs has signalled that it will oppose a biofuels reform package considered crucial to the fledgling industry.

The committee will vote next Tuesday on a compromise biofuels reform bill that would mandate a goal of advanced biofuels providing 1.25% of Europe’s transport fuel by 2020.

via Biofuel from trash could create green jobs bonanza, says report | Environment | The Guardian.

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ESOS SOS For Business Energy Savings

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With less than 10-months left until the deadline for complying with the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) legislation. Market leading energy consultants Catalyst have warned that many large UK businesses may be missing out on over £250 million in energy savings.

Recent figures released by the Department for Climate Change (DECC) show that savings of over £250m can be acheived simply by acting on some of the measures identified in their ESOS audit. And this is based on just cutting energy consumption by only 0.7%.

However those companies that are also prepared to invest in energy saving measures with a payback period of two years or less, this increases to £1.6bn a year.

via ESOS SOS For Business Energy Savings.

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Gas price cut delays ‘leave 12 million homes paying more’

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Delays in implementing gas price cuts have denied more than 12 million households a total of £47 million in savings, Citizens Advice has calculated.

The Big Six energy suppliers all announced price cuts in January but five of them said their changes would not come into effect for weeks or months.

Only one, E.On, implemented the reduction with immediate effect.

via Gas price cut delays ‘leave 12 million homes paying more’ – Telegraph.

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Solar power to thrive without subsidies in UK by 2020

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THEMA1, a think tank in Berlin, has announced that Britain will have a thriving solar power sector without the need for subsidies by 2020, based on the falling cost of parts and vast improvements in the supply chain in the industry.

Using evidence from the German market, such as price signals and business activity, the report found that within the next decade large scale solar farms, commercial rooftop systems, and even residential rooftop systems would be affordable without government help.

Last month, German energy giant E.ON announced that due to the falling cost of the technology it was switching out the fossil fuel half of its business and converting to solar and wind production instead.

The report claims that this move will have a significant effect on the German energy market and predicts a similar occurrence in the UK sometime soon.

via Solar power to thrive without subsidies in UK by 2020.

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ESTA issues warning over potential ESOS scheme failure

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The Energy Services and Technology Association (ESTA) has published recommendations to avoid failure of the Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) and to make it more effective.

A study carried out on energy efficiency suppliers indicated that a lack of publicity could lead to the top 10,000 UK companies failing the ESOS audit, as well as other avoidable reasons such as poor collaborations between suppliers and participating organisations.

However, the study also stated that there is plenty of time left before the start of the scheme for all of the companies to make the necessary improvements.

via ESTA issues warning over potential ESOS scheme failure.

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U.K. Spot Gas Falls as Record Storage Flows Offset Norway Cuts

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U.K. natural gas for spot delivery fell after reaching a one-month high as record withdrawals from storage sites offset reduced flows from Norway.

Same-day gas declined 1.7 percent after advancing as much as 5.8 percent to the highest level since Dec. 29, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg. Withdrawals from storage sites jumped to the highest level since Bloomberg started compiling National Grid Plc data in April 2013, helping meet increased demand amid colder-than-normal temperatures.

Outages at the Sleipner field and the Kollsnes gas plant in Norway cut flows to the U.K. for as many as four days, according to data from pipeline operator Gassco AS. Norwegian flows into Britain fell to less than a quarter of forecast demand, Gassco data showed. Storage withdrawals reached an all-time high of 118 million cubic meters a day, according to National Grid data.

Below-average temperatures are forecast for the next five days, according to MDA Weather Services. The lowest power generation from wind since Jan. 22 boosted the share of gas used for electricity to 35 percent, according to National Grid Plc.

Same-day gas fell to 48.3 pence a therm ($7.27 a million British thermal units) by 3:29 p.m. London time after reaching 52 pence earlier today, broker data show. The next-day contract advanced a fifth day, rising 0.3 percent to 48.40 pence a therm.

Gas exports from Norway to the U.K. were at 85 million cubic meters (3 billion cubic feet) a day, from as much as 115 million yesterday, according to Gassco. Sleipner output will be cut by 12.2 million cubic meters Monday after an outage that started on Friday while Kollsnes flows will be cut by 34.5 million cubic meters Monday after a reduction since Thursday, Gassco said.

“Undoubtedly this has led to the surge on the spot and helped support the near curve,” Nick Campbell, an energy risk manager at Inspired Energy Plc, said by e-mail. “Lower wind generation has also increased system gas demand.”

via U.K. Spot Gas Falls as Record Storage Flows Offset Norway Cuts – Bloomberg Business.

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ESTA issues warning over potential ESOS scheme failure

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The Energy Services and Technology Association (ESTA) has published recommendations to avoid failure of the Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) and to make it more effective.

A study carried out on energy efficiency suppliers indicated that a lack of publicity could lead to the top 10,000 UK companies failing the ESOS audit, as well as other avoidable reasons such as poor collaborations between suppliers and participating organisations.

However, the study also stated that there is plenty of time left before the start of the scheme for all of the companies to make the necessary improvements.

via ESTA issues warning over potential ESOS scheme failure.

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