Monthly Archives: April 2013

UK electricity demand to remain “close to flat until 2030” – Bloomberg New Energy Finance – Gas to Power Journal – Gas to Power Journal UK

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Presenting a pessimistic outlook on electricity demand in the UK, Mike Lawn, Head of Power and Gas, Europe and North America at Bloomberg New Energy Finance has forecast demand growth will stay “close to flat up to 2030” as industrial demand is unlikely to recover to pre financial crisis levels.

“Our view on industrial power demand [in the UK] is that it is essentially gone. It’s gone down by about 15 percent [since 2005] and it’s not coming back,” he said at a conference organised by Gas to Power Journal in London.

Power demand tends to be predominantly driven by industrial production, Lawn stressed, and added that the latest UK forecast dampens earlier expectations that demand is likely to recover as industrial production recovers. “UK capacity from 2005 started to decline and through the financial crisis, it collapsed completely,” he said, pointing out that many industrial sites such as aluminium smelters had been closed down.

Residential power demand also set to decline

In Lawn’s view, it is unlikely that residential demand will be able to make up for the lost industrial demand. “Cold and wet appliances are just going to keep getting more efficient and we’re not going to buy anymore. In lighting, the move to LEDs is going to also dramatically reduce light demand even though uptake is likely to increase. Consumer electronics are probably going to carry on with efficiency improvements and home computing is dying away,” he said, suggesting these factors “basically leave us with the assumption that there is very little additional demand to be had in households.”

Bloomberg’s data showed that between 2000 and 2010, there was a net increase in household energy consumption of 4TWh from 80TWh to 84TWh, driven by both national household growth (4TWh) and uptake per household increase (17TWh) but held back by energy efficiency improvements (-21TWh).

For the period of 2010 to 2020 however, projections showed an overall decline in household energy consumption of 2TWh to 82TWh. In this period, national household growth (8TWh) and uptake per household increase (8TWh) are likely to be outpaced by increases in energy efficiency (-18TWh).

via UK electricity demand to remain “close to flat until 2030” – Bloomberg New Energy Finance – Gas to Power Journal – Gas to Power Journal UK.

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Cornish farm secures planning permission for 11MW solar farm

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A llama and sheep farm in Truro will also soon be harvesting the sun’s energy too after British Solar Renewables secured planning permission for an 11MW solar farm.

The proposed solar farm will incorporate approximately 45,000 solar panels across 24-hectares. The site will provide an extra revenue stream for the farm’s owner, Tom Tripp, who will continue to grave sheep across the land.

Commenting on the planned solar development, Tripp said: “We are thrilled that the solar farm has been given the go ahead. I have farmed sheep for the last 25 years and can now do so for the next 25 years. I can even graze them in the solar farm! The regular rental income it will provide will both cement our core farming business for the future and enable us to extend our llama educational, trekking and therapy offering – both things that we are very passionate about!”

via Cornish farm secures planning permission for 11MW solar farm | Solar Power Portal.

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‘Own up to your mistakes’: Shock message to energy giants from new voice of industry Angela Knight

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Angela Knight represents Britain’s 80-plus much-criticised energy companies and has some clear advice for her members: ‘Be upfront, be open with customers, explain what you’ve done, admit if you have made a mistake and put it right as soon as you can.’

In the eyes of the public and politicians this advice could keep Knight’s members in Energy UK very busy indeed, because most of them think the energy giants have done plenty wrong and have a lot to put right.

Recent price hikes have seen energy bills soaring, but on top of this the suppliers are among the companies accused of avoiding tax in this country despite making massive profits.

It is the bills, of course, that most affect the public’s perception of the energy industry and in particular the Big Six that dominate the retail supply market – Centrica-owned British Gas, RWE npower, Eon, ScottishPower, SSE, and EDF.

The average household energy bill is now a staggering £1,352 a year, up more than 50 per cent from just two years ago. But Knight reckons energy companies’ profits are not excessive when you take out the cost of distributing energy to homes as well as VAT. ‘Your bill is composed of a lot of things all of which have been rising,’ she says.

‘Of course, the main energy firms are big and it is not the greatest time to be a large company, but large companies are necessary for investment and we have to get that message across.’

Also definitely rising are profit margins for the Big Six, which have more than doubled to seven per cent compared with 3.3 per cent in 2011.

But critics say they do not pay any significant amount of corporation tax, as was revealed before incredulous MPs a fortnight ago.

via ‘Own up to your mistakes’: Shock message to energy giants from new voice of industry Angela Knight | This is Money.

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Big brother to switch off your fridge: Power giants to make millions – but you must pay for ‘sinister’ technology | Mail Online

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Fridges and freezers in millions of British homes will automatically be switched off without the owner’s consent under a ‘Big Brother’ regime to reduce the strain on power stations.

The National Grid is demanding that all new appliances be fitted with sensors that could shut them down when the UK’s generators struggle to meet demand for electricity.

Electric ovens, air-conditioning units and washing machines will also be affected by the proposals, which are already backed by one of the European Union’s most influential energy bodies. They are pushing for the move as green energy sources such as wind farms are less predictable than traditional power stations, increasing the risk of blackouts.

Last night critics:

Condemned the principle that outside forces should be allowed to control appliances.
Warned the new sensors would add £40 to the average price of white goods for consumers.
Hit out at the energy giants who would make millions of pounds extra profit under the scheme, as it would save them from firing up reserve generators or paying factories to switch off furnaces to quell demand. There is no suggestion that consumers will be compensated for having their appliances shut down.

via Big brother to switch off your fridge: Power giants to make millions – but you must pay for ‘sinister’ technology | Mail Online.

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Report: PV storage set to take off in UK from 2014

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PV storage in the UK is set to take off from next year according to new analysis that forecasts a global storage market of US$19 billion by 2017.

A report by IHS predicts that other countries, particularly the UK, will follow the lead now being shown by Germany in driving uptake of PV storage technology.

From the beginning of next month Germany is introducing a tariff for PV storage, which is expected to reduce the cost of a PV system with storage to 10% less than one without.

And as solar subsidies such as feed-in tariffs begin to dwindle, IHS expects other countries such as the UK to adopt similar measures to boost the deployment of storage technology.

Overall IHS expects the lead taken by Germany will drive global installations of PV storage systems to 7GW by 2017. This will create a market worth US$19 billion compared to US$200 million last year.

IHS PV analyst Sam Wilkinson said: “We do expect that other countries will follow Germany’s example and adopt similar subsidy schemes to promote the use of PV energy storage—particularly where there is a case for promoting self-consumption and grid stability.

via Report: PV storage set to take off in UK from 2014 | Solar Power Portal.

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Ofgem approves new consumer rules for smart meter roll-out

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Ofgem has today approved a new industry code designed to protect and empower consumers during the smart meter roll-out.

The Smart Metering Installation Code of Practice includes strong protections around sales and marketing for domestic consumers, including a ban on conducting any sales during the installation visit.

Ofgem has further strengthened the code’s rules on face-to-face marketing following consultation, including making suppliers clearly state that consumers are under no obligation to receive face-to-face marketing.

Other measures include:

• Suppliers are prevented from conducting any sales when installing smart metering systems for domestic consumers

• Suppliers must gain prior consent from domestic consumers before the day of the visit in order to conduct face-to-face marketing

• Suppliers must adhere to detailed rules when obtaining prior consent for face-to-face marketing, plus behavioural rules should they seek to market to domestic consumers having gained prior consent

• Suppliers are prevented from levying an upfront charge for the supply and installation of a standard smart metering system to domestic consumers

• Suppliers must adhere to a number of requirements catering specifically for vulnerable consumers. Suppliers must take steps to identify consumers with specific needs in advance of the visit; and take steps to cater for installations where a carer needs to be present

via Ofgem approves new consumer rules for smart meter roll-out > National News > News | Click Green.

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One giant leap for mankind: £13bn Iter project makes breakthrough in the quest for nuclear fusion, a solution to climate change and an age of clean, cheap energy

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An idyllic hilltop setting in the Cadarache forest of Provence in the south of France has become the site of an ambitious attempt to harness the nuclear power of the sun and stars.

It is the place where 34 nations representing more than half the world’s population have joined forces in the biggest scientific collaboration on the planet – only the International Space Station is bigger.

The international nuclear fusion project – known as Iter, meaning “the way” in Latin – is designed to demonstrate a new kind of nuclear reactor capable of producing unlimited supplies of cheap, clean, safe and sustainable electricity from atomic fusion.

If Iter demonstrates that it is possible to build commercially-viable fusion reactors then it could become the experiment that saved the world in a century threatened by climate change and an expected three-fold increase in global energy demand.

This week the project gained final approval for the design of the most technically challenging component – the fusion reactor’s “blanket” that will handle the super-heated nuclear fuel.

via One giant leap for mankind: £13bn Iter project makes breakthrough in the quest for nuclear fusion, a solution to climate change and an age of clean, cheap energy – Science – News – The Independent.

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Share of gas in UK generation mix falls, coal rises – DECC statistics

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The share of gas in the UK’s generation mix fell from 39.9 percent in 2011 to 27.5 percent in 2012 – its lowest share in the mix since 1996 – due to high gas prices, according to statistics released on Thursday by the Department of Energy and Climate Change DECC. Coal’s share in the mix by contrast increased from 29.5 percent in 2011 to 39.3 percent in 2012. Total electricity generated in 2012 fell by 1.3 percent from 367.8TWh in 2011 to 363.2TWh in 2012.The increased demand for coal helped push UK coal imports to 44.8 million tons in 2012, an increase of 37.7 percent when compared to 2011 levels. Steam coal which is largely used for power generation accounted for 88.9 percent of all coal imports in 2012.96.1 percent of all UK steam coal imports in 2012 came from three countries: Russia 44.5 percent, Colombia 29.9 percent and the US 21.7 percent. Imports from the US almost doubled from 2011 levels, increasing by 93.5 percent to 8634 tons. Strong growth was observed in steam coal imports from Russia and Columbia as well, with 46.6 percent and 46.5 percent increases to 11,919 tons and 17,723 tons, respectively.In addition to coal, renewables also experienced growth, increasing their share of electricity generation by close to 20 percent from 9.4 percent in 2011 to a record 11.3 percent in 2012. Nuclear’s share rose by less than one percent to 19.4 percent and oil held steady at one percent.

via Share of gas in UK generation mix falls, coal rises – DECC statistics – Gas to Power Journal – Gas to Power Journal UK.

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RWE Npower #Renewables to reduce number of wind farm turbines but increase energy output

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Energy company RWE Npower Renewables has been granted planning permission to ‘re-power’ its first onshore wind farm in the UK, reducing the number of turbines to a third while almost doubling its energy output.

Taff Ely Wind Farm is one of RWE Npower Renewables’ (RWE NRL) oldest wind farms and has been operating since 1993.

The successful application is for seven 110 meter turbines to replace the existing 20 turbines erected in 1993 in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

RWE NRL acquired the operating wind farm in 1998 and will repower the site, replacing the old wind farm with a new one consisting of larger, more effective turbines and almost doubling its energy generation.

The new wind farm will have an installed capacity of up to 17.5MW, which will provide an average annual energy production equivalent to 9,700 average UK homes.

RWE NRL has also pledged an increased community benefit fund. Depending on the final installed capacity of the site, this could see index linked annual payments of up to £87,500 invested into local communities over the operational lifetime of the wind farm, expected to be up to 25 years.

The company has already hosted a local supply chain event at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea in May 2012, to around 200 local delegates, and says it will look to build on this relationship with further development related events in the coming months.

Rob Kerr-Bonner, developer at RWE npower renewables said: “Achieving planning permission at local authority level is always welcome. We were heartened by Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council’s endorsement of our approach to developing this project and their ongoing commitment to renewable energy generation in the region.

“The de-commissioning of the existing 20 wind turbines which were installed in 1993 will mark an end of an era, however today’s modern wind turbines have moved on significantly from those currently installed. The new wind turbines are much more efficient and reliable.

via RWE Npower Renewables to reduce number of wind farm turbines but increase energy output – Wales Online.

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How #Google is changing the renewables game for #Apple, #Facebook

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The need to consume ever-increasing amounts of energy in their data centers — yet continue marching towards renewable energy goals — has been an ongoing challenge for Google and Apple.

Google has offset electricity needed for its centers through purchase power agreements that enable an equal amount of renewable energy to be created, yet has lamented that managing power sales and purchases on the wholesale market takes time away from its focus on building user products.

And despite Apple’s onsite generation of renewable energy, it has still had to supplement its need for renewables through buying off the grid and purchasing renewable energy certificates to offset the conventional portion, green IT experts say.

It’s a conundrum that has kept the Silicon Valley tech giants within the constraints of local utilities’ energy mix in states that don’t permit direct purchases of renewable energy.

Nowhere has this challenge been more evident than in North Carolina, an indirect access state that houses data centers for Google, Apple and Facebook as well as AT&T, Wipro and Disney. Compounding matters further is proposed legislation that would repeal the state’s renewable portfolio standard mandating that 12.5 percent of North Carolina’s energy mix come from renewable sources by 2021.

via How Google is changing the renewables game for Apple, Facebook | GreenBiz.com.

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