Steve Fitzsimons explains why Hudson Energy are sponsoring the Rising Star Award at The Energy Live Consultancy Awards
A WOMAN has spoken of her shock after British Gas ‘broke into’ her house in Poole while she was out.
Rebecca Manston returned to her home in Creekmoor on January 17 to find a letter from the company in her kitchen.
A new pre-payment meter had been fitted outside.
“I asked my husband Jonathan if he had been home to let them in. He said he hadn’t been.
“When I phoned British Gas’s customer services, they had no record of anyone coming to my house,” claimed the mother of three.
In a speech at the UK Policy Exchange, Mr Willetts described how the £600 million provision for science announced in the government’s Autumn Statement will be used to boost growth in ‘eight great technologies’ which includes money for the energy sector. £189 million will go towards big data and energy efficient computing. Another £45 million will help to fund advanced materials research including low energy electronics. New R&D facilities will receive £30 million in order to help development in new grid-scale storage technologies thereby helping to improve renewable energy capacity and reduce the UK’s national carbon footprint. £50 million will also go towards vital upgrades to research equipment and laboratories.
The Minister said that the government now needs to capitalise on the unique strengths of the UK’s research base by backing the right technologies and helping to take them through to market.
The UK will be making a £24 billion upgrade to its power grid with the ambition of connecting more of its low carbon energy sources to its network.
There is increasing stress on the grid system in the UK as renewable energy technologies grow in popularity. Technologies such as onshore and offshore wind farms are becoming more prevalent in the UK energy porfolio and the new investment will be looking to take this into account.
Environmental targets and legislation have also had an impact on the energy mix and the Large Combustion Plant Directive, for example, which deals with industrial emissions, means that oil and coal capacity is likely to be limited. Additionally, the UK is working toward its renewable energy targets; the country hopes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020.
The grid, therefore, will be required to become more flexible, with a careful balance between supply from the less predictable renewable energy sources and that of more reliable supplies such as nuclear power. This will require an upgrade in IT systems, and many of the UK’s electricity assets, which date from the 1950s and 60s, will have to be replaced.
Not only does the grid need to be upgraded, but the impact of this on consumers – including cost and appearance – will need to be considered.
A growing number of firms, manufacturers and agricultural businesses are signing up to a scheme that allows them to install biomass technology for free, while benefiting from reduced energy costs and carbon emissions.
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In recent months, we have seen environmentalists in the UK jittery about policy direction in the government, US Republicans overtly hostile to renewables, the Japanese government abandoning nuclear energy (imports of oil and gas having surged since Fukushima, a trend now likely to continue) and the largest recorded melting of the Arctic ice caps.
All of this seems a long way from the vision of the “third industrial revolution”, a concept based on a social enterprise-driven low carbon economy developed by American economist Jeremy Rifkin and enthusiastically endorsed by the European Parliament in May 2007.
“Paradigm shift”, an over-used term famously coined by American scientist Thomas Kuhn 60 years ago to explain the progression of scientific thought, is now liberally scattered across all areas of human activity, not least in energy and the environment. But, despite its over-use, Rifkin felt it suited the transformation to a low carbon economy that he saw coming.