Monthly Archives: June 2012

UK’s renewable energy award winners announced


RenewableUK, the trade and professional body representing the wind, wave and tidal energy industries, has announced the winners of the association’s inaugural Energy Awards.

More than three-hundred guests, including business leaders and politicians, attended the awards ceremony in London last night.

Maria McCaffery, Chief Executive said: “We created these awards to recognise and celebrate excellence in the wind and marine energy industries. The extraordinarily high calibre of the winners, and indeed of all those nominated, shows there is a great deal to celebrate.


IKEA To Use 100% #Renewable Energy In Sweden With Addition Of Wind Farm


International home furnishing retail giant IKEA wants to use only energy generated by renewable sources for its operations and has recently made a move towards meeting this goal with the installation of 30 wind turbines in Härjedalen, Sweden.

Named the Glötesvålen Wind Farm because it is sited over 3,300 feet up on Glötesvålen mountain, construction will begin this summer and is expected to be completed and operational by the end of 2014. Sweden-based O2 Vind AB is the developer and manager of the wind farm and has ordered the 30 turbines needed for the project from Danish manufacturer Vestas. At full capacity it will generate 90-MW of electricity each year, supplying enough power for the needs of 48,000 average-sized homes, and will reduce the company’s CO2 emissions by 176,000 tonnes.

“At IKEA, we want to take a leading role in the transition to a low-carbon society by only using 100 percent renewable energy in our global operations. By only using wind power in Sweden, it is an exciting and important step toward reaching that goal. We will not only be self-sufficient in electricity in Sweden, generating enough to supply all IKEA buildings and operations in the country, but it will give us opportunities to supply IKEA stores in other countries with wind power,” said Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA Group.


Generate Electricity From Walking


When it comes to movement, we’re more used to expending energy than generating it. Petrol for cars, fuel for planes – even food for our bodies before and after exercise. However, researchers in the UK have designed a new device that could allow the humble act of walking to change the way we think about energy on the move and generate electricity from walking.

By placing a device – similar to a low-profile knee brace – around a person’s knee, researchers are able to harness the movement of the leg whilst performing everyday activities to create energy.

Comprised of two ring-like structures, placed one inside the other, as the knee bends the innermost ring rotates. This rotation plucks at small plectra in the channel of the outer ring, causing them to vibrate. This vibration then uses the piezoelectric effect to generate electricity.

At present, the British research team are currently only capable of producing around 2mw of energy from this new device, they are confident that with further experimentation this could be pushed up to around 30mw.…


CBI calls for carbon tax to be scrapped


he Confederation of British Industry is calling on the government to scrap its Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) and remove the number of environmental taxes, that is restricting business growth.

The business group carried out a survey of its members and found that the majority believe environmental taxes can help stimulate business, with the Landfill Tax and Vehicle Excise Duty both well regarded, but that there were now too many.

With just four such taxes in 1989, to 12 existing today, raising a combined £43.4bn in tax revenue in 2010/11.

The CRC was a tax particularly disliked, with businesses considering it over-complicated and considered as “a cost of doing business in the UK”. Rhian Kelly, CBI director for business environment policy, said: ‘The current uncoordinated approach to environmental taxes is not working for business. An independent review of environmental taxes has become an urgent priority. With a more joined-up approach, environmental taxes could provide certainty for businesses, unlock investment, and reduce the impact on the environment without damaging UK competitiveness.’


Economic benefits from UK nuclear plans


A report for EDF Energy has put some figures on the benefits to the UK economy that could flow from the company’s plans for new nuclear power plants.

The report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) takes the UK’s longstanding lack of infrastructure investment as its starting point. It notes that public and private investment in British roads, rails and power plants has lagged behind that of many similar countries in recent decades. This longstanding issue has combined with the planned retirements of 12 GWe of fossil and 7.1 GWe of old nuclear power plants by 2020 to mean the country faces a potential power generation shortfall.

At the same time, climate change concerns have led British politicians to put in place a target of 80% cuts in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. The target is virtually unachievable without the decarbonisation of the electricity sector by 2030, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).


Leaving appliances on standby ‘can cost UK households up to £86 a year’


Losing money while you sleep is easy, according to a new study which has found that leaving our everyday appliances on “standby” costs UK households between £50 and £86 a year on average.

Televisions, satellite boxes and other video and audio equipment are the worst offenders, but people are increasingly leaving computers, mobile phones and other appliances from washing machines to dishwashers on standby, where an appliance appears to be off but is still using energy.

Standby use accounts for about 9% to 16% of the average electricity bill of £530 a year and is helping to push the UK’s electricity use upwards, but with little benefit to consumers, according to a new study called Powering the Nation, from the Energy Saving Trust (EST).

Turning off equipment left idling on standby could be a quick and cheap way for people to start shaving pounds from their energy bills, according to the EST, helping to combat fuel poverty and cut unnecessary carbon emissions.


Costa coffee owner cuts its carbon


Ever think about how much carbon goes into making your coffee? It’s a question the owner of the Costa coffee chain has thought about – and it says it has saved more than 1500 tonnes of CO2 in 2011.

Whitbread, the UK’s largest hotel and restaurant group, cut the same amount of carbon as taking 250 medium-sized cars off the road across its hotels, restaurants and coffee shops.

The savings are an 11% cut in carbon emissions relative to sales revenue, according to the latest Environment Report from the group which also owns Premier Inn.


UK homes getting more hungry for #electricity


UK homes are consuming much more electricity than previously estimated, a report described as the most detailed of its kind has suggested.

For example, it found that up to 16% of households’ energy bills are spent on devices left on standby.

It is estimated that domestic energy use accounts for more than a quarter of the nation’s CO2 emissions.

The report was commissioned by the government and the Energy Saving Trust to unearth the nation’s energy habits.

“This standby power is double what we have assumed it to be in past models and policy assumptions,” explained Paula Owen, the report’s lead author.

“Before, we have always gone with an 8% figure so it was quite a shock.”

Within in this study, Dr Owen explained, standby had a slightly wider remit from its traditional perception of the red lights on TVs and videos.