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January 2021

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Smart Grids

UK Power Networks has come out on top of the SP Group’s Smart Grid Index (SGI) for 2020, jumping ahead of last year’s winner, US company PG&E. Overall UK DNOs dominated this year’s index, with four companies listed in the top ten of 85 utilities spread across 37 countries/markets. The list uses a quantifiable framework over seven dimensions to score smart grids, providing a benchmark from which best practices can be identified according to the SP Group.

Current 5th Jan 2021 read more »

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Brady grows sales bookings threefold in 2020 and signs leading customers Falck and BASF

BASF, Tangent Trading and Falck Renewable SpA join roster of 130+ global customers including Toyota and Koch Brady voted number one in metal trading software market for 11th year by Commodity Technology Advisory Ed Addario joins as CTO and Chris Regan appointed as Product Director London, Cambridge, UK: 17th December 2020. Brady Technologies, a market leader in global commodities trading software, has announced a significant uplift in its sales bookings, as well as the signing… Source: RealWire

News

North of England homes to pilot hydrogen heating

More than 650 households and commercial properties in a village near Gateshead will trial the use of blended green hydrogen to be used for heating.

The organisations are leading on numerous pilot projects that inject zero-carbon hydrogen into an existing gas network

The organisations are leading on numerous pilot projects that inject zero-carbon hydrogen into an existing gas network

Buildings in the village of Winlaton, near Gateshead, will be some of the first in the UK to trial natural gas blended with hydrogen. In total, 670 houses plus the local church, primary school and several businesses will all receive the hydrogen blend for a period of around 10 months starting early in 2021.

The project will be led by regional gas distributor Northern Gas Networks as part of the HyDeploy North East scheme, with assistance from Cadent, which delivers gas to more than 11 million houses and businesses in the UK.

The organisations are leading on numerous pilot projects that inject zero-carbon hydrogen into an existing gas network. HyDeploy is injecting hydrogen into Keele University’s existing natural gas network, for example, which supplies 30 faculty buildings and 100 domestic properties.

Hydrogen will account for up to 20% of the gas mix in the network. HyDeploy claims this is the highest proportion being tested in Europe at present, given that existing UK legislation prevents hydrogen accounting for more than 0.1% of the national grid mix at any time.

In addition, Northern Gas Networks is aiming to build the first “hydrogen house” in the UK, to be located at the Integrated Transport Gas Electric Research Laboratory in Gateshead.

Hydrogen is one of the key pillars of the UK’s Ten Point Plan to drive a green industrial revolution. The UK will aim to generate 5GW of “low-carbon” hydrogen production capacity by 2030. Up to £500m will be invested in a bid to create a Hydrogen Neighbourhood in 2023, a Hydrogen Village by 2025, and to create the first town running entirely on hydrogen.

Building on that announcement, companies including Orsted and Iberdrola have teamed up in a bid to increase the world’s green hydrogen production fifty-fold by 2026 – in a move they claim will halve costs.

Northern Gas Networks also confirmed that the equivalent of almost 50,000 homes in the north of England was fuelled by the renewable gas biomethane in 2020.

The organisation notes that the amount of biomethane produced increased by almost 50% compared to 2019 levels.

Matt Mace

News

Renewables Investment

Greeniums — higher prices for environmentally friendly investments — are driven by investor demand. That was not the case when the UK government launched its Green Investment Bank in 2012. Five years later the bank’s portfolio, which included stakes in offshore wind projects, was sold for £2.3bn to a consortium led by Australia’s Macquarie. Macquarie has since gone well beyond its promise of investing a further £3bn in UK and European green projects within three years of purchase. The scale of investments suggests it purchased a bargain portfolio.

FT 4th Jan 2021 read more »

News

CDL secures $740m green loan for property portfolio

Real estate company City Developments Limited (CDL) has confirmed a new green revolving credit facility totalling $470m that will be used to refinance it’s the Republic Plaza commercial property and future low-carbon projects.

The company issued its first green bond in 2017, which raised $100m towards a retrofitting the Republic Plaza

The company issued its first green bond in 2017, which raised $100m towards a retrofitting the Republic Plaza

Through its CDL Properties subsidiary, the organisation has secured the $740m green revolving credit facility (RCF) that will be used for the Republic Plaza property, located in Singapore’s Central Business District.

It follows that $500m green loan raised by CDL in 2019 for new property developments. The company issued its first green bond in 2017, which raised $100m towards a retrofitting the Republic Plaza – including energy efficient lighting, motion sensors and replacement chiller plants.

The five-year RCF will commence in January 2021, and has been approved and provided by lenders including the Agricultural Bank of China, Credit Industriel et Commercial, DBS, HSBC, MUFG, Malayan Banking and SMBC. DBS and HSBC are the Green Loan Advisors for the green RCF.

CDL’s group chief financial officer Yiong Yim Ming said: “With the pandemic heightening awareness on the need to build resilience through responsible investments, green loans have accelerated to become predominant in sustainable financing.

“We embrace Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) as a core aspect of our long-term value creation strategy for our business, investors and stakeholders and the successful integration of ESG into our business strategy and operations has led our strong sustainability performance. CDL has paved the way with our inaugural green bond back in 2017 and is forging ahead with another green RCF that reinforces our reputation as a pioneering green developer.”

CDL is the latest company to turn to green RCFs to assist with large-scale sustainability initiatives.

In October, Tesco established a £2.5bn RCF whereby rates and interest are tied to progress against the company’s key environmental targets.

Under the terms of the agreement, facilitated by BNP Paribas and NatWest, Tesco will benefit from a lower interest rate loan margin if it meets its commitments to reduce Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (power-related) emissions; to source renewable electricity through on-site generation and power purchase agreements (PPAs); and to redistribute surplus food.

Additionally, Shell announced in 2019 that it would link the interest and fees paid on its $10bn (£7.5bn) RCF to progress against its carbon targets. Similar financial agreements have been made by the likes of Finnish forestry giant UPM, food and drink ingredient supplier Tate & Lyle and beverage manufacturer Britvic.

Visa launched its inaugural green bond, priced at $500m, four months ago. It will be used to help the company achieve its decarbonisation aims and its alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Global green bond issuance last year reached an all-time high in terms of both individual bonds issued and collective value issued. According to LinkLaters, $185.6bn (£141.7bn) of green bonds were issued in 2019, compared to $142.4 (£108.8) in 2018. Major corporate green bonds launched in 2019 came from the likes of Apple and PepsiCo.

The pandemic seems to have placed a renewed focus on ESG or impact investing – particularly the ‘social’ aspect. JP Morgan recently polled investors from 50 global institutions, representing a total of $12.9 trillion in assets under management on how they expect Covid-19 to impact the future of ESG investing. 71% said it was likely to accelerate action.

Matt Mace

News

Climate Innovation

This year, 2021, a number of things are coming together to help achieve a low-carbon future. In 25 years of reporting the environment patch I’ve never been so convinced that the world has the potential to change. It’s about politics: recent bolder climate commitments from the UK, the EU, incoming American President Joe Biden and even China. It’s about business: for the first time ever renewable energy investment will exceed that in fossil fuels. And it’s about timing: a post-Covid recovery year running up to the global COP26 climate summit in November. But mostly it’s about ideas – an eruption of climate change solutions. Applied human intelligence is the vaccine against climate change. I’ve been exploring 39 inspiring ideas – some already happening, some in development – and meeting the people behind the projects, who each put a big grin on my face. Here are five of the most intriguing: Robots driving a new wave of wind power; Climate friendly rice; Wood for good; Graze the Arctic; Super solar: UK-based company Oxford PV is combining silicon with a material called perovskite – a semi conductor mineral with a crystal structure of titanium calcium oxide – which turns the blue wavelengths into electrical energy. This chemical sandwich can increase the panels efficiency to 30-40%. They are going into production this year and expect early applications to be on rooftops where customers want to maximise the wattage from a confined area.

BBC 4th Jan 2021 read more »

News

Octopus Energy

Greg Jackson, boss of Octopus Energy, says the sector was ripe for an Amazon or Uber-style disruptor, but that his version will also boost the UK’s green revolution. Octopus is a new breed of energy supplier, built on cutting-edge technology and unencumbered by the creaking billing systems and fossil-fuel plants that plague the UK’s “big six”. Set up just five years ago, it has been free to view the energy market as a tech startup would: ripe for disruption. This has made Octopus Britain’s fastest-growing energy supplier, and helped it agree that Japanese deal – under which it will supply energy to homes in Japan, while Tokyo Gas takes a near-10% stake in Octopus. The beating heart of this ambition is Octopus’s energy software, now known as Kraken, which helps it run a super-efficient energy operation, and has helped unlock the future benefits of low-carbon energy. “When we set out, we knew a lot about technology,” said Jackson. “We didn’t know about energy, but we could see that the sector had not yet had a digital revolution. From windfarms to household, it ran on systems that were two decades old.” Octopus made headlines earlier this year by paying its customers to use electricity when Britain’s renewable energy reached record highs. It’s one example of a future hi-tech energy system that empowers individuals. “Electricity is becoming a tech sector,” said Jackson. Kraken’s “elec-tech” software could facilitate a new way of using energy, and underpin Britain’s green industrial revolution. “When a customer comes home and plugs in their electric car,” he says, “Kraken will automatically charge when electricity is cheap, and sell energy back to the grid when it’s expensive. By morning you’d have a fully charged vehicle at the lowest possible cost.” In future this could be extended to entire districts: neighbourhoods full of batteries quietly acting as virtual power plants. Already 17 million customers are plugged into Kraken software. British energy suppliers including E.ON and Good Energy use it to run their own businesses and there are Octopus Energy outposts in Germany and the US. Earlier this year it struck a deal with Origin, Australia’s leading energy supplier, which agreed to take a 20% stake in Octopus and license the Kraken software.

Observer 2nd Jan 2021 read more »

News

Solar Wales

A £5.7m solar farm is set to provide a Welsh hospital with almost a quarter of its power. The 4-megawatt development will be built on land at Brynwhillach Farm and linked to Morriston Hospital, Swansea, by a 1.86 mile (3km) cable. Health board bosses hope the facility – which is set to be operational by the summer – will cut electricity bills by £500,000 a year. In total, 10,000 panels will provide the power from the 14-hectare site. The Swansea Bay health board was awarded £13.5m by the Welsh Government for the solar farm and other energy-saving and carbon-reducing measures.

BBC 31st Dec 2020 read more »

News

North Wales Renewables

Among the first Growth Deal projects tipped to get underway in 2021 is the £35m Morlais renewable energy scheme off the coast of Anglesey. This would see the construction of the infrastructure that connects the Morlais Zone with the electricity grid system, readying the site for private sector developers investing to lease parts of the zone for deploying tidal energy technologies.

Daily Post 1st Jan 2021 read more »

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