Some of the biggest names in British business will today join together to reiterate their call for the government to take more concrete action to cut carbon emissions and accelerate the development of low carbon technologies and business models.
Household names such as Shell, Tesco, EDF Energy, Lloyds Banking Group, Philips, Unilever and Kingfisher will unite to endorse a new report from the Prince of Wales’s UK Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, which concludes the government must now dramatically accelerate the delivery of ambitious green policies or risk missing its environmental targets.
Anyone driving into London on the M4 from today will gain a fresh insight into the power of advertising when they pass a giant billboard illuminated solely by energy generated by wind turbines and solar panels.
Document management and printing giant Ricoh will flick the switch on its new 36-metre-square billboard at seven o’clock this morning, unveiling the 96 solar panels and five micro wind turbines that will power the board’s lighting.
The billboard will be disconnected from the grid to prove the energy used comes entirely from the onsite renewable technologies. The solar panels and turbines are expected to generate 12.6kw a day to light up the red lettering from first light or first wind until about three o’clock the following morning.
The company declined to reveal the value of the investment in the billboard, or which companies have supplied the devices, saying only that the wind turbines were supplied by a Japanese firm.
An invasion of jellyfish into a cooling water pool at a Scottish nuclear power plant kept its nuclear reactors offline on Wednesday, a phenomenon which may grow more common in future, scientists said.
Two reactors at EDF Energy’s Torness nuclear power plant on the Scottish east coast remained shut a day after they were manually stopped due to masses of jellyfish obstructing cooling water filters.
Centrica, which owns British Gas, has hinted again that it will raise prices for its gas and electricity customers.
In a statement to the stock market, it told investors to expect lower profits for the first half of 2011, partly due to higher wholesale costs.
However, the firm said “retail margin recovery” would boost its profits in the second half of the year.
Earlier this month Scottish Power said it would increase the cost of gas by 19% and the cost of electricity by 10%.
Britain has announced plans to build at least 8 new nuclear power plants by 2025 as part of its long-term energy policies, according to media reports. However, nuclear power was one of the issues that divided Conservatives and Liberal Democrats formed a coalition after the May 2010 general elections.
The announcement comes three months after a powerful earthquake and its following tsunami triggered a radioactive disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.The government is planning to construct the new suite of reactors to maintain electricity supplies and cut greenhouse gas emissions after closing down an old generation of power stations, British media reported. “Around a quarter of the United Kingdom’s generating capacity is due to close by the end of this decade. We need to replace this with secure, low carbon, affordable energy,” said Energy Minister Charles Hendry.
Britain’s energy regulator, Ofgem Investigating The Big Six utilities suppliers, also known as the Big Six, under the accusation of miss leading marketing information and unfounded energy and gas prices rises. Severe retail reforms have been proposed which could oblige them to auction more than one fifth of the energy they produce.
Britain’s six largest utilities face tough retail power market reforms next year which could force them to auction off more than one fifth of electricity they produce, energy regulator Ofgem said on Wednesday.
The regulator proposed in March to impose power production auctions of up to twenty percent of generation on the Big Six utilities — Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE.L
But Ofgem’s three-month consultation showed some respondents, especially smaller power suppliers such as First Utility, favour full production auctions to prevent large utilities from supplying and producing power at the same time.
“Some people think the figure should be higher so we’re undertaking further analysis and will come up with an impact analysis later this year. It’s important to us that the volume is efficient enough to have an impact on liquidity,” a spokesman for Ofgem said.
The reforms are expected to come into force next year, but exact timing depends on whether the utilities will refer proposals to the Competition Commission.
Market leaders, Marks & Spencer and the Co-op have recently been announced as the greenest British supermarkets.
They were awarded this status by ?Ethical Consumer? magazine on the basis of their eco-credentials. In particular the magazine recognised Co-op?s policy on fish sources and Marks & Spencer?s policy on sourcing palm oil.
The Co-op has achieved the status of having an average of 98% use of renewable energy sources throughout its 5,500 stores nationwide.
The results of some fairly high profile smart energy management projects (apparently successful) are due this week, but apparently Google didn’t have the patience to wait. The giant Internet services company has officially “retired” the PowerMeter service due to lack of consumer adoption.
That move — coupled with Microsoft’s decision earlier this year to shift gears on its strategy for Hohm — gets me wondering about all the other companies testing cloud-based energy management technologies — including the likes of Hewlett-Packard and IBM. My gut is that those development efforts will continue. That’s because those applications will be offered via the utility companies themselves, with which consumers already have relationships.