Monthly Archives: July 2011

Paper airplanes with MIT solar technology can make electricity

Share

A research team from the MIT has developed a flexible and extremely thin solar technology that, when printed, looks like an ordinary document ready to be stapled and turned in as homework.

But when wires are clipped to one end of a floppy sheet and set in the sun, it can power an LCD clock display and other small “gizmos,” researchers said. The technology may help push the solar industry away from hulking, expensive installations and toward options that can easily generate renewable electricity anywhere.

Using vaporous “inks” made from common elements rather than pricey, toxic components like tellurium, solar cells are deposited onto plain, untreated paper — including tissue, tracing paper and even newsprint.

The process, which is similar to the one used to make the shiny interior of potato chip bags, is nearly as simple as ink-jet printing — just with a vacuum chamber thrown in.

The pages can be molded into paper airplanes and still generate electricity when unfolded. They’re also long-lasting, according to researchers, who tested cells produced last year.

Share

British Gas shareholders receive bonus while customers suffer

Share
Centrica, which owns Britain’s biggest gas and electricity company, announced profits of £1.3 billion for the past six months, including £270 million for British Gas.
The company is going ahead with a 12 per cent rise in payouts to shareholders, despite the price rise for its energy customers.

Centrica said that the rise, which comes into force in the middle of next month, was vital for the company to make a profit in the second half of the year.

Nine million residential customers are preparing for an 18 per cent rise in gas prices and a 16 per cent rise in electricity prices.

The rise will add about £190 to the cost of customers’ average annual bills, which will now be £1,286.

Share

Centrica swims upstream

Share

With £1.3bn of profit in only half a year, it’s no surprise that Centrica is facing flak for putting up its gas prices by 18% and electricity by 16%.
Why can’t it use those profits to take the pressure off hard-pressed energy users, goes the hue and cry?

There’s a fairly simple answer, even if it’s hard to sell to customers. A company that cross-subsidises its downstream sales (to customers) with profits from its upstream (pumping gas and oil out the ground) will get short shrift from investors.

It could do that short term, if it were used to grow market share. But the Windsor-based firm is growing its customer numbers anyway.

And it needs those profits and investors to keep investing in new resources, new generating capacity and renewed grid connections.

Share

IBM Save a Massive $50 Million in Electricity Costs

Share
According to the company’s report, “11.2 percent of the company’s global electricity usage” in 2010 was from renewable energy sources. In total 390,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions were avoided through IBM’s energy conservation efforts.

IBM insist that this isn’t just an initiative to keep overheads down; that in fact it is both an investment in business and the environment. Vice President of environmental affairs and product safety at IBM, Wayne Balta has somewhat humorously quipped that savings like these take “more than turning off lights” to occur. Not only have IBM Research been using analytics software to manage electricity consumption, but IBM have invested in what they describe as “IT-related research and development” in order to further the availability and affordability of renewable energy.

Share

UK energy secretary’s file handed to CPS

Share

British Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, has been accused of coaxing her ex-wife, Vicky Pryce, into accepting penalty points for speeding on behalf of him.

“We have received a file of evidence from Essex Police in relation to allegations involving Christopher Huhne and Vicky Pryce. This file will be reviewed under the code for Crown Prosecutors and a decision on whether to charge will be made in due course,” said a spokesman for CPS.

Pryce claimed that the Eastleigh MP has persuaded her to take his penalty points so that he could save his driving license. She claimed that Huhne has committed speeding violations in 2003 on his way back from Stansted Airport.

The police investigation began in March and the file was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in order to be decided whether Huhne has committed the offences. 

Share

Shop owner shocked at £40,000 electricity bill due to meter reading errors

Share

A CONVENIENCE store owner fears he will go bust after being sent an electricity bill for nearly £40,000.

Philip Bennett, 40, who has never missed a payment, had unwittingly been ­underpaying for three years after innacurate meter readings.

When British Gas discovered the miscalculations, it billed him for £39,522.

Mr Bennett, of Beeston, Leeds, said: “I nearly dropped dead. Apparently they have been reading five digits instead of six. But it’s their problem and they ought to pay for their error.

“If they force me to pay, I will go bankrupt and my staff will be out of work.”

Share

Business Energy Costs & Supply

Share
A recent survey from Datamonitor indicates that business energy costs and security of supply are amongst the biggest threats to a business performance. The survey asked business leaders to rank various threats to their business performance and energy costs ranked above common risks such as health & safety, security and taxes. Business energy costs were given a risk ranking of 6.6 out of possible 10 while security of energy supply scored a 6.1.

Share

Business Energy Costs & Supply

Share
A recent survey from Datamonitor indicates that business energy costs and security of supply are amongst the biggest threats to a business performance. The survey asked business leaders to rank various threats to their business performance and energy costs ranked above common risks such as health & safety, security and taxes. Business energy costs were given a risk ranking of 6.6 out of possible 10 while security of energy supply scored a 6.1.

Share