Monthly Archives: February 2014

UK electricity mix in 2013: less gas, still lots of coal, but wind’s on the up


The UK sourced two thirds of its electricity from fossil fuels last year, official statistics show. Renewables still languish far behind, supplying about 12 per cent of the country’s power. But wind power is growing rapidly – increasing its market share by 38 per cent in just twelve months.

Coal accounted for 40.7 per cent of electricity supplied in the UK in 2013, according to provisional figures from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Gas generated about a quarter (26.7 per cent) of the country’s electricity last year, and nuclear 21.1 per cent.

Wind power shows the most significant change, accounting for 7.7 per cent of the country’s electricity supply. In 2012, the figure was 5.5. per cent, so that’s a big jump in relative terms.

Gas and coal still dominate

Overall, fossil fuels still dominate the electricity mix, however. The chart below, created using DECC’s numbers, illustrates the mix. Fossil fuels are coloured grey, nuclear power orange and renewables green:

via UK electricity mix in 2013: less gas, still lots of coal, but wind’s on the up | Carbon Brief.


Most UK Energy Managers Don’t Compare Energy Usage to Benchmarks


A survey by the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) and the National Energy Foundation (NEF) found that facility managers are committed to energy improvements but lack metering and monitoring tools to establish accurate baselines and track progress. While 90 percent of respondents know their annual energy costs, only half of respondents know how the buildings were performing compared to design, and nearly a third were not comparing the building’s performance over time.

Three quarters of respondents are working toward a relative percentage energy reduction target, although the survey found respondents had mixed levels of confidence in achieving these. While 40 percent of respondents use building management systems, monthly consumption data is still the primary data tool available for most energy managers to navigate the complexities of energy management.

Technology (such as new plant), was cited as the most important factor in improving the use of energy by nearly half of respondents, closely followed by, and interlinked with, behavior. Carbon offsetting and certification was seen as having the most limited impact.

The online survey was conducted during October 2013 with 62 respondents, 93 percent of whom were manager level or above.

via Most UK Energy Managers Don’t Compare Energy Usage to Benchmarks | Energy Manager Today.


Chemical engineers mark 200 years of commercial gas production : News from The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE)


The first commercial operation to produce and supply gas from coal began in London, UK, just over two hundred years ago. Chemical engineers will be descending on Rotterdam, The Netherlands, next month to celebrate this important milestone and some of the latest technologies in low carbon energy production.

The Gas Light and Coke Company began supplying London with gas manufactured from coal for street lighting on New Year’s Eve, 1813. It marked the start of the first commercial gas production and supply operation in the world. Up to eight million people in London alone would eventually rely upon the technology to light and heat their homes for well over a century.

Chris Higman of Higman Consulting GmbH and gasification specialist, said: “The possibility of extracting a flammable gas from coal by ‘distillation’ – or pyrolysis as we would call it today – was known from ancient times.

“However, towards the end of the eighteenth century the work of pioneers like Minckelers, Murdoch, Lebon and Lampadius resulted in viable and safe commercial gas production from coal.

“Once developed, the technology soon spread across the world with gasworks established in Baltimore, USA (1816), Manchester, UK (1817), Hannover, Germany (1825) and Rotterdam, The Netherlands (1827).

“Over two centuries later, gasification continues to be an important part of the world’s energy supply. It has endured despite the emergence of alternative sources of energy, lighting and heating and evolved to support industry including fertilizer production.

“Today, gasification provides around a quarter of the world’s supply of synthetic ammonia and about one third of the world’s methanol. With an estimated 750 gasifiers planned or under construction across the world the technology is set to play a major part for at least another century.”

Chris will be presenting ‘200 Years of Commercial Gas Production’ in March at the 12th European Gasification Conference in The Netherlands, organised by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and supported by DECHEMA.

IChemE’s Matt Stalker, conference organiser, said: “There continues to be huge level of interest in the potential of gasification. The 12th European Gasification Conference brings all the latest development together under one roof. From governments, to policy-makers, to energy suppliers, it is an opportunity not to be missed.”

via Chemical engineers mark 200 years of commercial gas production : News from The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE).


Ipswich: Energy supplier Haven Power highlights “burden” of non-energy charges on bills as Tory grandee Ken Clarke pays a visit


A business energy supplier’s efforts to highlight its concerns over the volatility of non-energy direct costs were boosted after Minister without Portfolio Ken Clarke MP visited the firm to find out more.

The Tory grandee, who was accompanied by Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, was shown around the Haven Power’s headquarters at Ransomes Europark in Ipswich and was interested to hear of the firm’s impressive growth.

Chief executive Peter Bennell and head of supplier management Antony Badger also discussed with him what Haven is trying to achieve in the industry, particularly in terms of non-energy direct costs.

These costs, which include the delivery of electricity to businesses, make up a substantial part of a customer’s bill and Haven wants to see an end to the unpredictable nature of the charges.

Mr Clarke said: “My visit to Haven Power allowed me to hear more about the pressing issues faced by the energy industry and how they affect businesses of all sizes across the country. I was particularly interested to learn about how Haven Power’s power purchasing team trades within a competitive energy market.”

via Ipswich: Energy supplier Haven Power highlights “burden” of non-energy charges on bills as Tory grandee Ken Clarke pays a visit – News – Ipswich Star.


Japan Reconsiders Its Nuclear Energy Options


Three years after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear catastrophe Japan has revealed that it still considers nuclear power as a vital source of commercial energy and will look to it for power in the future. In the country’s first energy policy since 2011, Japan’s government have said it is still a ‘key’ course of electricity for the country. The statement will likely cause a backlash from a Japanese public who still have memories of Fukushima fresh in their minds, and will be quick to remind Tokyo of the pledges that were made to reduce dependence on the power source amid cries to shut down the country’s reactors.

via Japan Reconsiders Its Nuclear Energy Options.


Ofgem unveils rules to make energy bills clearer and boost competition


Ofgem has announced rules to provide greater billing transparency to consumers and “tear down the barriers to competition” in the UK’s gas and electricity market.

The energy regulator said that the ‘Big Six’ suppliers must trade fairly with smaller players or face fines. As well as benefiting existing suppliers, the rules are designed to open up the market to new operators.

The changes follow a number of mis-selling scandals hitting suppliers, such as SSE being fined £10.5m last year by Ofgem for breaching marketing obligations that led to customers being “missold” energy deals.

From 31 March, the new regulations will come into effect, with the six largest suppliers having to publish the price at which they sell wholesale power up to two years in advance. Prices must be published daily in two one-hour windows, a move Ofgem says will give smaller energy providers, which do not produce their own power, the “opportunity and products they need to trade and compete effectively”.

The news follows comments made earlier this month by Ed Davey, secretary of state for energy and climate change, who said that British Gas may be broken up to increase competition in the sector.

The new legislation will mean that the ‘Big Six’ – British Gas, EDF, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power, and SSE – and the largest independent energy generators will have to trade fairly with independent suppliers in the wholesale market. Those failing to abide by the new rules will face financial penalties.

Andrew Wright, Ofgem’s chief executive, said: “Our rules for a simpler, clearer, fairer energy market are coming into force, meaning that it is getting easier for consumers to pick out the best deals.

“Now we are also breaking down barriers to competition for new entrant suppliers. These reforms give independent suppliers, generators and new entrants to the market, both the visibility of prices and opportunities to trade that they need to compete with the largest energy suppliers.”

via Ofgem unveils rules to make energy bills clearer and boost competition | Marketing Magazine.


Ofgem proposes code to regulate energy brokers


Energy suppliers and brokers could be subjected to a new code of practice by Ofgem to protect businesses from misselling.

The code suggests requires suppliers marketing deals through a broker, or third party intermediary (TPI), to use one that complies with the code.

The energy and gas watchdog said TPIs play an important role in helping firms compare and choose tariffs but “some do not operate fairly and mislead businesses”.

The code requires TPIs to be completely transparent about the fees for their services, the suppliers they are affiliated with, and the contracts they offer.

It also asks members to refrain from using “pressurised sales techniques”, and to have a complaints handling procedure in place at all times.

Maxine Frerk, partner for retail markets at Ofgem, said: “We are determined to clamp down on poor practices by some TPIs and provide more transparency in this market. They also have to improve their overall training and the way they deal with customers.

“By requiring suppliers to only work with accredited TPIs, we will ensure that suppliers and TPIs are jointly accountable for giving a high quality service to business consumers.”

via Ofgem proposes code to regulate energy brokers | Supply Management.


The energy ‘savers’ that cost you more


Energy-saving homes, appliances and devices are sold as the cost-saving solutions of the future with claims they can cut hundreds of pounds from annual power bills. And with the cost of gas and electricity rising at far above the rate of inflation, these claims are attractive.There are increasing concerns, however, that many of these items, which can be expensive to buy and install, may not be as cost‑effective as they claim.Last week, the Energy Saving Trust said customers were being duped into buying fridges, dishwashers and other household appliances that claim to be more energy efficient than they actually are.Even devices created solely to cut energy or water consumption – such as solar battery chargers, water-saving shower heads and plug-in adaptors that claim to cut appliances’ electricity consumption – have been criticised as expensive gimmicks that deliver negligible savings.

via The energy ‘savers’ that cost you more – Telegraph.


CNG feels benefit of moves away from Big Six


COMMERCIAL gas supplier CNG has taken on a raft of new recruits as it reports rising demand for its services, boosted by public dissatisfaction in the Big Six energy suppliers.

The Harrogate-based company, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this month, recorded a turnover of £150m last year and expects the figure to hit around £180m this year, up 20 per cent, with a target of £220m for the year after.

CNG supplies commercial natural gas to businesses, from family firms to blue chip corporations, across sectors including retail, leisure and hospitality.

But it also provides technical services to independent gas providers such as Ovo Energy.

Chris England, operations director at CNG, said: “I think that people are looking around a lot more rather than just staying with the Big Six.

“They are realising there are others out there who can do a good job for them as well. People shop around a lot more than they used to.”

Mr England added: “We have got a good name with our agents and brokers so when they suggest going to somebody outside the Big Six like ourselves people are willing to give us a chance.”

He added that smaller independent suppliers such as Ovo Energy have been “growing nicely”, which has also contributed to CNG’s growth.

Ovo Energy is among a number of smaller energy providers to have benefited from a move by consumers in the last few months away from larger groups such as the Big Six following public outrage at energy price rises.

via CNG feels benefit of moves away from Big Six – Yorkshire Post.


The Incredible Energy Egg – Dragon’s Den


It’s the frustration every father has felt, right up to the point of parody – you walk into a room to find the lamp on, the TV blaring and the Playstation on pause – but the kids have all got bored and gone to different rooms. Well, one Kildrum dad decided that enough is enough, and invented a solution that is taking the energy world by storm.Brian O’Reilly says that the Energy EGG was “built out of frustration really. My daughters know about being ecological and environmentally friendly from things they’ve learned at school, such as turning off taps and turning off lights, but they knew nothing about switching off plugs and TVs and the like.

via The Incredible Energy Egg.