Monthly Archives: January 2015

ESTA issues warning over potential ESOS scheme failure


The Energy Services and Technology Association (ESTA) has published recommendations to avoid failure of the Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) and to make it more effective.

A study carried out on energy efficiency suppliers indicated that a lack of publicity could lead to the top 10,000 UK companies failing the ESOS audit, as well as other avoidable reasons such as poor collaborations between suppliers and participating organisations.

However, the study also stated that there is plenty of time left before the start of the scheme for all of the companies to make the necessary improvements.

via ESTA issues warning over potential ESOS scheme failure.


New graphite discovery could spark green energy revolution


Scientists have discovered a new form of carbon graphite – the material in pencil lead – that had unexpected properties that could cause a revolution in the production of green energy and electric vehicles.The scientists discovered that graphene allows positively charged hydrogen atoms to pass through it despite the fact that it is impenetrable by all other gases, including hydrogen itself.

The result of this breakthrough is that the efficiency of fuel cells, which make energy from hydrogen gas, could be hugely increased.The idea has also been raised to extract hydrogen from normal air and burn it as a carbon-free source of energy in fuel cells, producing commercial electricity and water without any harmful by-products.

via New graphite discovery could spark green revolution.


Cheapest Gas Since August Lures U.K. Utilities Away From Coal


Natural gas will probably start to replace coal in U.K. power generation as oil’s decline helped damp prices to their lowest since August.

Wholesale costs are close to levels where generators will increase output from gas-fired plants at the expense of coal, according to Energy Aspects Ltd. The transition will be led by five facilities owned by utilities from RWE AG (RWE) to Centrica Plc (CNA) that produce enough power to supply about 11 million households, Yarm, England-based Enappsys Ltd. said.

Jefferies Group LLC last week cut its 2015 U.K. gas forecast by 26 percent after the drop in oil costs, while HSBC estimates that prices will this year average 14 percent below 2014. Cleaner-burning gas usually declines in summer, when demand for heating is lower, making it more attractive for power generation.“It’s the first time we have been close to the switching range this time of year since 2010 and if prices keep falling, producing power from gas will become cheaper than from coal,” Wayne Bryan, an analyst at Alfa Energy Group in London, said by e-mail on Monday. “Lower gas prices will help cut electricity costs for consumers and have a positive influence on the U.K.’s mandate of reducing carbon emissions.”

via Cheapest Gas Since August Lures U.K. Utilities Away From Coal – Bloomberg.


Lincolnshire baker goes green


Pocklington’s Bakery, a Lincolnshire-based craft bakery, has invested in a 150KW solar panel to generate power.

According to the bakery, 90% of its daytime electricity is now powered by the solar panels.

It believes it is the first bakery in the UK to make such a heavy investment in the alternative electricity source.

The bakery runs three shifts over 24 hours, employing more than 60 local staff and producing a range of products for its 300 wholesale customers.

Chris Pocklington, manager, said “I have been told we are the first bakery to install solar panels in such a large way in this country. That surprises me as the process was so easy.

“The planning went smoothly for us, which was great and the installation took less than two weeks from start to finish.

via Lincolnshire baker goes green – British Baker.


NHS “should haggle with energy suppliers more”


There is “room” for the NHS to scrutinise its deals with energy suppliers, says the campaign manager of a new awards recognising the green efforts of NHS hospitals.

Scott Buckler at the NHS Sustainability Awards told ELN there are some “great examples” of NHS Trusts saving energy.

In an interview about the awards, he suggests there is potential to get “better value” from suppliers.

Read our full Q&A with Scott below, taking in everything from NHS work on energy saving and staff incentives to tips on what the judges are looking out for.

ELN: Why is it important for the NHS to save energy?

Scott Buckler: The NHS is facing an unprecedented financial crisis at the moment with Trusts making tough choices on frontline services. With such an area as energy many NHS Trusts can create operational savings which in turn creates frontline finance. Energy is an essential part of any organisation, it is what keeps it from switching off, however this does not mean organisations such as hospitals should take it for granted instead they should be addressing it urgently to ensure it delivers value for money and long-term security.

Through energy management plans the NHS could potentially save millions per annum and this is something which should not be overlooked. It is also important to view energy as an environmental impact for any organisation which without care can often lead to a health issue such as for example LED lighting over conventional strip lighting which can lead to over-heating within wards.

via Energy Live News – Energy Made Easy – NHS “should haggle with energy suppliers more”.


Tiny Batteries Spark Green Revolution


When it comes to batteries, reducing the size is almost as important as increasing the storage capacity.

Now, scientists have come up with a new nanosize battery that is 80,000 thinner than a human hair. The impact on industries such as green energy, which currently requires huge batteries to store the energy for when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind does blow, and electric vehicles, that have limit range due to battery capacity, could be huge.

The latest breakthrough in reducing battery size is known as a “nanopore”. It is a microscopic hole in a ceramic sheet that is about as thick as a grain of salt. This sheet contains all the components required for a working battery and for electric current production. One billion of these holes could fit into the size of a postage stamp.

via Tiny Batteries Spark Green Revolution.


E.On Becomes First ‘Big Six’ Supplier to Cut Prices in 2015


With wholesale energy prices currently in a lull, E.On has become the first of the big six commercial energy companies (the others being British Gas, SSE, ScottishPower, EDF Energy and npower) to announce it will pass these lower costs on to their customers.

News from the German-owned energy supplier said that the price cut would ‘save about 2 million households £24 on a typical annual bill’; the equivalent of approximately a fortnight’s gas usage.

The change in pricing isn’t entirely altruistic from E.On, however, as growing pressure from the UK government has been questioning why – if wholesale commercial electricity and gas are so low – are energy bills remaining at record-high prices.

Last week the Treasury announced that it would be launching and investigation into why prices remain fixed despite these fluctuations in supply cost, and energy minister Matt Hancock announced he has requested the presence of all six of the companies at a meeting to explain their prices.

via E.On Becomes First ‘Big Six’ Supplier to Cut Prices in 2015.


Oil prices may begin to bottom out


Some analysts have suggested that oil prices may begin to bottom out as prices fall to near the production costs of US shale oil, which has become the fastest growing area of non-OPEC supply over recent years. However, further falls in oil could make US fields unprofitable and could stabilise the global market from its current slide as US oil fields close and supply decreases.

The successful restart of three nuclear reactors over December, which were taken offline in August, has increased market confidence that a fourth reactor at Heysham will also return successfully. Higher nuclear production power should improve supply margins for the rest of winter and could reduce power prices.

Catalyst Commercial Services’ independent approach enables clients to manage their exposure to energy price risk, while at the same time benefiting from a first class service from a range of major and independent suppliers.

via Catalyst Business Energy Market Brief January 2015.


Wind Energy Powers 25% of UK Homes in 2014


Whilst many articles seem to buy into the myth that renewable energy in the UK is still in it’s infancy, new data following the end of the year has been published, revealing that the UK homes are operating on as much as 25% power from wind.

Renewable UK published a report based on newly-released data from the National Grid, revealing record amounts of wind – and other clean commercial energy sources – were used across Britain over the last twelve months.

Wind power was the headline-maker in the report, revealing that wind generated enough electricity to supply the needs of more than 6.7 million UK households last year; a 15% increase on the amount generated in 2013 (up from 24.5 terawatt hours to 28.1TWh in 2014) – equating to the annual demand of over 25% of homes in the country.

via Wind Energy Powers 25% of UK Homes in 2014.


Jan15 – Business Energy Market Brief – Long-term contracts down on weaker commodities


Long-term contracts down on weaker commodities

Sharp falls in oil, as well as continued reductions in coal prices, pulled long-term contracts down over December. Summer 15 gas dropped 3.4% to average 50.1p/th, ending the year 19.5% lower than levels seen at the start of 2014. Long-term power prices followed, with the summer 2015 contract dropping 1.6% month-on-month to average £47.1/MWh. Annual April 2015 power was down 2.2% to average £49.2/MWh.

via Catalyst Business Energy Market Brief January 2015.