Monthly Archives: February 2013

Energy Efficiency and Green Jobs to Boost EU SMEs


Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of the 27 EU Member States should focus on and develop more specific policies and strategies related to three core themes, such as “resource efficiency“, “green markets” and “environmental jobs” to meet the European Sustainability Targets up to 2020.

The survey, requested by the European Commission Directorate General Enterprise and Industry, and coordinated by the Directorate General for Communication covered businesses employing one or more persons in the manufacturing, retail, services and industry sectors within the European Union.

The results of the survey could be considered a test about the European SMEs’ attitudes towards the environment. But, why SMEs are so important for the economic, social and political future of the European Community? Let’s give few numbers: there are 20,8 million SMEs in the European Union, representing 99% of all businesses and providing around 90 million jobs in the internal market.

Therefore, SMEs are the backbone of the European economy and their contribution is essential for pursuing the goals of ‘Europe 2020’, the Strategy for Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth. Moreover, the European Commission promotes the growth of SMEs also through the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA), a set of 10 principles which should guide the design and implementation of policies both at EU and national level.

This framework includes an initiative to raise SMEs’ awareness of environmental and energy-related issues, and assist them in implementing European legislation, assessing environmental and energy performance and upgrading skills and qualifications.

via Energy Efficiency and Green Jobs to Boost EU SMEs | The Energy Collective.


Video – 4 Bizarre uses for Wind Energy


4 Bizarre uses for Wind Energy

Wind power has many amazing applications. These include offsetting carbon emissions, providing wind turbine jobs, appearing in adverts for energy companies to show how eco-friendly they are, and giving angry people something to complain about in local newspapers. You might not think that the uses of wind energy go much further than that. After all, while wind farms might be a great idea, obviously there are a limited number of things you can stick a windmill on top of, right? Well, you might think that, but you’d be tragically wrong. The wind is being used to power all sorts of weird things, such as:
Wind Energy Phone Chargers

In this day and age if you’re away from your Facebook page for than an hour or more you start hyperventilating and getting heart palpitations. Google has just released special glasses so that even as you’re walking around you’re getting the Internet rammed right into your eyes. Even people who are willing to give up sleeping in a real bed, under an actual ceiling, with proper toilets for some reason can’t cope with the idea of being unable to tweet about it.

via Wind Energy. 4 Bizarre uses for Wind Energy | Catalyst Commercial Services – The Market Leading Business Energy Broker.


The Importance of Hiring an Energy Broker


The Importance of Hiring an Energy Broker

Every week through our social media feeds we bring you the latest UK energy and gas prices. These prices vary on a daily basis influenced by a series of factors that we talked about in our article: “Understanding the Fluctuation of UK Gas Prices“. As professional gas and energy brokers it is our job to stay on top of the news in order to find the best deals for our clients. Now imagine you having to do all this for your business or allocating employees that have no experience in the UK energy market, to find your organisation the best business energy and business gas prices. First you would be wasting time that could be used on other projects that matter to your business, and second these professionals wouldn’t be able to find you the best deals because they don’t have the market knowledge to do so.

via The Importance of Hiring an Energy Broker | Catalyst Commercial Services – The Market Leading Business Energy Broker.


UK must turn its back on gas boilers to meet carbon targets


Gas boilers for home heating will have to be virtually eliminated by 2050 if the UK is to meet its carbon reduction targets, according to a new report.

The use of petrol and diesel engines to power cars will also need to be “much less dominant” and replaced with electric power and biofuels, a policy meeting in the House of Commons heard.

The conclusions, in a report by the UK Energy Research Centre, are based on modelling the likely shape of the energy sector in 2050 when greenhouse emissions will need to have fallen by 80% on 1990’s level.

A “wholesale transformation of the energy system” is required, the report says, and given the scale and complexity of the change a decarbonisation target should be included in the energy bill to provide a policy commitment for the investors who will need to provide the capital for the development of new technologies.   via UK must turn its back on gas boilers to meet carbon targets.

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Centrica profits: how gas companies play the ‘wholesale costs’ card


The bottom line of Centrica’s soaring profits is that they won’t tell you their true bottom line. Citing wholesale gas price rises as the reason for rising domestic energy bills is as cynical as it is simplistic, but given the opacity shrouding the gas market, it’s an easy and perennially touted excuse for gas companies seeking to deflect criticism of their fuel charges.Thanks to a mixture of lax

regulation and public unawareness, Centrica and its peers can play the wholesale costs defence card time and again whenever they bump up household bills – even though they are far less keen to put retail prices down again whenever wholesale costs fall. But even if they did rush to reduce bills in line with the wholesale market, pretending that they are victims of circumstance is unbelievably brazen.I worked in this sector until recently, and one trader I spoke to scoffed at the idea that utilities are held hostage by the rising price of short-term gas contracts, stating that utilities’ hedging strategies are far more sophisticated than simply relying month-by-month on the fluctuations on the wholesale market. Gas can be bought up to five years ahead, so pretending that suppliers are incapable of securing their supplies at more financially clement periods is misleading.In fact, by having the freedom to revise prices upwards at will, and without any proper intervention by the toothless regulator, supply companies have a win-win situation every year when it comes to their balance sheets. As another trader put it to me: “The customer always pays. If they don’t hedge and wholesale prices fall they make cash, if they don’t hedge and wholesale prices go up, they blame the market and put retail prices up. People should be asking why didn’t they buy when wholesale prices were lower?”

via Centrica profits: how gas companies play the ‘wholesale costs’ card | Seth Freedman | Comment is free |


Half Hourly Electricity Suppliers – How to find them


Half Hourly Electricity Suppliers

Today, every business has to deal with the fact that as electricity consumption is on the rise, and its cost can no longer be ignored as just a little overhead. The cost of half hourly energy is becoming a significant factor when it comes to investment in the business, and therefore, just like any other factor, this needs to be optimised as well. Optimising your costs could actually be two-fold here – getting a better deal from a supplier, and having your consumption measured more accurately so that you’re paying only for what you use. It’s the latter where half hourly electricity suppliers can provide a lot of value. For the former, we’re always here with our expert yet completely free services.

via Half Hourly Electricity Suppliers – How to find them | Catalyst Commercial Services – The Market Leading Business Energy Broker.


UK: Call for overhaul of energy market as British Gas profits climb 11%


Centrica said an 11% rise in profits at British Gas residential came after last year’s colder-than-normal weather saw gas use leap 12%, despite a 1% fall in customer accounts to 15.7m in 2012.

The results are likely to raise questions over the fairness of energy bill increases after British Gas raised tariffs by 6% for around 8.4m households at the end of last year.

Group adjusted operating profits rose 14% to £2.7billion, but Centrica said it paid more than £1bn in tax and invested £2.7bn in 2012.

Directors from the company appeared on television this morning to defend the results. Chris Jansen, managing director of services and commercial at Centrica, said a colder winter last year contributed to the rise in profits.

He told Daybreak: “I completely understand our profits announced today will create a reaction with customers. I think it’s important to remember that in 2011 it was a very, very mild winter … so the country used a lot less gas, and actually our profits in 2011 were 20% down on 2010.”

Asked whether customers would face further price increases, Mr Jansen replied: “It’s impossible for me to say that, that’s like looking at a crystal ball.

“The general trend for energy prices are prices are increasing. All we say to customers is let’s do what we can to control energy bills. Prices might be going up but bills don’t need to if we control our energy use.”

Ian Peters, managing director of residential energy for British Gas, said: “If I look into the future we have no plans to put prices up even higher, the gas prices are relatively calm.”

Asked on BBC Breakfast how long into the future, and if the firm was committing to not putting prices up, he said: “I can’t do that because the gas market is volatile.

via UK: Call for overhaul of energy market as British Gas profits climb 11% – Business – East Anglian Daily Times.


Updated Results So Far – Energy Live Consultancy Awards – Please vote for us!


Energy Live Consultancy Awards – Every vote counts!

The entire team here at Catalyst is dedicated to offering the highest levels of service to our customers, Energy Live Consultancy Awards Vote For Us

and helping you to manage and control your business energy costs.

We work hard to make the whole experience as simple and easy as possible, and this award nomination recognises our efforts to continuously improve our customers’ experience and make it even better.

If you think that Catalyst deserves to win this award, we would really appreciate your vote as part of the process, we need to get public votes too to help the judges with a final decision.

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via Energy Live Consultancy Awards – Please vote for us! | Catalyst Commercial Services – The Market Leading Business Energy Broker.


Clean Coal A Reality – Has Professor Liang-Shih Fan cracked it?


A team of researchers at Ohio State University in the US claim to have discovered a new method of taking the energy from coal without actually burning it. The new method – called coal-direct chemical looping – has been pioneered by Professor Liang-Shih Fan and his team at Ohio State University, and is claimed to essentially remove the danger from greenhouse gasses when using coal for energy. Whilst any other power plant that burns coal does so traditionally – by burning the coal to create steam to turn turbines – Professor Fan’s coal-direct chemical looping chemically combusts the coal.

via Clean Coal A Reality – Has Professor Liang-Shih Fan cracked it? | Catalyst Commercial Services – The Market Leading Business Energy Broker.


Windfarms break energy record in Spain


Over the last three months wind farms produced more electricity than any other power source in Spain for the first time ever, an industry group has said.

The country delivered over six terawatt hours of electricity from wind farms during January, according to data from grid operator Red Electrica de Espana, the Spanish Wind Energy Association said in a statement.

“Since November 1, wind has been the top technology in the electrical system,” the group said in a blog posting. “The last time any technology exceeded six terawatt-hours of monthly generation was in 2010, when it was combined-cycle gas turbines.”

The performance means wind energy exceeded output from both nuclear and coal-fired power stations and represents more than a quarter of Spain’s total power generation.

Spain has been looking to boost its wind power capacity as part of the government’s efforts to cut carbon emissions.

via Windfarms break energy record in Spain | Environment |