Tories would scrap windfarm subsidies


The Tories have pledged that if they are elected with an overall majority in 2015 they will axe public subsidies for any newly planned onshore wind turbines.

Existing windfarms and those already with planning permission would be protected from the change but the energy minister, Michael Fallon, said these would be enough to meet 2020 targets set by the EU – meaning any further developments should not be subsidised.

Instead, the money will be used to back other renewable technologies as part of a mix of energy supplies.

Changes to planning rules will also give communities more power to reject onshore wind projects not already in place or planned when the policy comes into force.

But critics said the Conservatives were turning their back on the cheapest form of renewable energy and would put future jobs at risk. They claim the move is designed to counter the threat from Ukip.

Fallon said: “We remain committed to cutting our carbon emissions. And renewable energy, including onshore wind, has a key role in our future energy supply.

“But we now have enough bill payer-funded onshore wind in the pipeline to meet our renewable energy commitments and there’s no requirement for any more.

via Tories would scrap windfarm subsidies | Environment | The Guardian.


Energy Assets acquires BGlobal Metering in £2.3m cash deal


ENERGY Assets, the Scottish gas meter specialist, has made its first big move into the electricity meter market by acquiring a Lancashire-based firm for £2.3m cash.

Livingston-based Energy Assets said the purchase of the BGlobal Metering business from Bglobal group will allow the company to become a leading player in the market to supply smart meters that companies can use to monitor their power consumption.

Chief executive Phil Bellamy-Lee described the deal as a significant step in the delivery of the group’s strategy to offer services across a range of utilities.

The acquisition will result in a big increase in the number of meters that Energy Assets provides to and monitors for customers in the industrial and commercial markets on which it focuses.

BGlobal Metering provides 60,000 meters to customers and collects information from 90,000.

Energy Assets had 101,000 meters installed at clients’ facilities at March 31, including hundreds of electricity meters. It collected information from 62,500 meters.

The company is confident both arms of the enlarged business will be able to capitalise on regulatory changes intended to help reduce power consumption and associated carbon emissions.

These are fuelling demand for smart meters.

via Energy Assets acquires BGlobal Metering in £2.3m cash deal | Herald Scotland.


Energy saving heating system gets £2m backing


MORE than 300 jobs will be created after the company behind an innovative infrared energy saving heating system was awarded a £2m loan.

Erad Systems Limited secured the loan from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) as part of its Regional Growth Fund Programme.

The firm’s founders Mike Drogan and Steve Robson believe their Erad system has the potential to revolutionise the way in which people heat their homes and businesses.

It works by using infrared radiant heat to warm the objects in a room as opposed to the surrounding air resulting in a much more even distribution of heat.

Mike said demand for the product is high and said the £2m will be used to invest in high quality staff.

He said: “Countless hours have gone into developing and testing the system to create an energy solution that is both highly energy efficient and extremely cost effective for our customers.

“Since starting to introduce the system to the market just eight months ago as part of our pre-launch activity, we have received an overwhelming response and it is great to see this potential recognised by the GMCA.

“We have a global patent for the Erad system and, although our short-term goal is to focus on the UK market initially, we see great potential in the future for the system to be rolled out overseas.

“We believe has the potential to revolutionise the way in which people heat their homes and businesses.”

via Energy saving heating system gets £2m backing – Manchester Evening News.


UK joins solar power ‘gigawatt club’


The UK has joined solar power’s ‘gigawatt club’, becoming one of only six countries with more than one gigawatt of installed capacity, according to new figures.Industry authority released data showing that the UK is now ranked sixth in the world in terms of utility-scale solar, largely thanks to a record month that brought over 500 megawatts of new projects.The US is the world leader, with over 5.6 gigawatts of capacity from 315 plants, followed by China, Germany, India and Spain.Energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey welcomed the UK’s recent growth in the sector, pointing out that the country was the leading European nation for bringing new solar projects online in 2013.

via | Sustainable Construction News | SIG Energy Management | Building sustainable futures.


Drax Group receives “first of its kind” £80 million purchasing facility


North Yorkshire’s Drax Group has completed a £80 million renewable energy receivables purchasing facility with Lloyds Bank to free up cash flow. It is believed to be a “first-of-its-kind” deal on this scale. Electricity generators like Drax earn Renewables Obligation Certificates ROCs for every MWh of renewable electricity produced.Generators sell the certificates to electricity suppliers, such as the vertically integrated UK energy companies, to enable them to meet the requirements of the Government’s Renewables Obligation.However, the payment cycle for ROC sales can be more than 12 months, absorbing working capital for renewable generators.Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance created a ROC receivables purchasing facility that supports cash flow management in the Group’s growing sustainable biomass business.

Wayne Mills, director for Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance who led the transaction, said: “The creation of this ROC monetisation facility was a complex transaction that provides an important cash flow management tool for this major UK power provider.“Nothing like this had ever been done before and we had to ensure we got it right. Whilst the ROC mechanism is a complex scheme, the new facility helps solve what was a significant business challenge for Drax.“Drax owns and operates the largest power station in the UK, and is typically responsible for supplying 7-8% of the UK’s electricity.With carbon abatement central to its strategy, the company wants to transform itself into a predominantly biomass-fuelled power provider through burning sustainable biomass in place of coal and providing the UK with cost effective, low carbon, and reliable renewable power.Michael Scott, head of corporate finance at Drax, said: “We are very pleased to have put this facility in place. It is proving critical to delivering effective cash flow management and we are very grateful to the Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance team for its support.“

via Drax Group receives “first of its kind” £80 million purchasing facility | Bdaily Business News.


British Gas staff ‘paid bonuses tripling their £25,000 salaries if they inflate customers’ bills by 60% by targeting charities and small businesses’


British Gas is paying staff bonuses to inflate customers’ bills by up to 60 per cent, a whistleblower has claimed.

The former employee said he felt ‘disgusted’ by the policy, which encouraged staff to target charities and small businesses and sell them the most expensive deals possible.

Employees were told they could triple their £25,000 salary through commission if they sold the highest-priced tariffs to enough customers.

Churches and charities – including the Scouts – were among those targeted by the policy, the whistleblower said, with some organisations ending up £2,000 a year worse off.

via British Gas staff ‘paid bonuses if they inflate customers’ bills by 60%’ | Mail Online.


UK to lead EU frack fight?


UN climate chiefs have backed hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as part of the solution to global warming, according to a report carried by the Telegraph newspaper on Sunday. Fracking is the controversial process of extracting natural gas from shale rock layers deep within the earth.

Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the working group that drew up the report, said it was “quite clear” that shale gas “can be very consistent with low carbon development and decarbonization.”

The comments give support to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s earlier call for energy independence and the adoption of technologies like shale gas fracking to top Europe’s political agenda. Cameron said on March 25 that the Crimea crisis was a “wake-up call” for states reliant on Russian gas. Britain has a “duty” to embrace fracking, he added.

Europe fears that Russia might cut off the gas supply that they rely on as retaliation to Western sanctions.

Although the UK imports less than 1 percent of its gas directly from Russia, Russia’s energy giant Gazprom claims it sells between 11 billion and 12 billion cubic metres to the UK, which is about 15 percent of the country’s total need. Supplies of Russian gas indirectly reach Britain through other European countries. This explains why in 2009 UK gas prices soared by 17 percent when Russia cut off the gas to Ukraine.

The “shale gas revolution” in the US seems to inspire Britain’s hope that it can also be a game-changer for the UK in terms of energy, economics and geopolitics.

via UK to lead EU frack fight? – WORLD –


UN Calls for ’Tripling’ of Renewable Energy Use


The United Nations has to called on world leaders to triple the planet’s use of renewable energy in a new report on climate change this month. Titled “Mitigation of Climate Change” by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the report – revealed on Sunday – highlights the increased carbon emissions produced in the last few decades as being a catalyst for climate change. The panel presenting the report does say that this can be reversed, but only if a “massive shift” in the commercial energy marketplace is made within the next decade.

via UN Calls for ’Tripling’ of Renewable Energy Use.


Gas meter firm SMS buys Utility Partnership for £14m


Glasgow-based gas meter firm Smart Metering Systems SMS has expanded into the electricity sector by buying Utility Partnership Ltd UPL for £14m.SMS will pay £9.7m in cash, with the rest being met by the issue of shares.

UPL manages electricity meters across the UK and offers connections, design, meter installation, data management and energy management services.Last year Cardiff-based UPL reported annual turnover of £11.1m, with profits before interest and tax of £2m.It has managed and installed more than 80,000 meters for the UK’s electricity suppliers.SMS chief executive Alan Foy said: “The acquisition of UPL will enable SMS to expand its service offering across the gas and electricity sectors, and the enlarged group will now offer a fully integrated service in these markets.”It positions the enlarged company as a dual gas and electricity service provider and establishes a base from which we can enhance our existing respective client relationships.”

via BBC News – Gas meter firm SMS buys Utility Partnership for £14m.


Five reasons why energy bills are so high – and still rising


We’re spending more and more on energy with no end in sight, regardless of what shade of green we plan for our future. Can we do anything about it? Gas prices are not easy to control, but politicians do set energy taxes and levies, and decide on how investment in low-carbon power generation, the power grid and energy efficiency is spent.

Understanding what makes up our energy bills is key to holding politicians and energy providers to account. Here are the five reasons your gas bills are high and rising.
1. High gas prices

“In the last 10 years, commodity prices are probably the single biggest thing that has affected energy bills in the UK,” says energy consultant Matt Brown. Most of the money households fork out for energy is spent on gas for heating, some 60%. But in the UK’s gas-driven power sector, the gas price has also become the main driver of the electricity price.

Energy bills have gone up as the UK shifted from being a net exporter to a net importer of gas in the last decade, and gas prices rose in tandem with oil prices. The two fuels are typically drilled for together and their prices remain closely linked, despite Brussels’ efforts to create more of an open market for gas.

via Five reasons why energy bills are so high – and still rising | The big energy debate | The Guardian.