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Local Energy

In 1925, the British government asked Lord Weir, a Glaswegian industrialist, to solve the ‘problem’ of the country’s inefficient and fragmented electricity supply industry. Nearly a century on, our ever-growing thirst for electricity and an urgent need to cut emissions has seen the UK start to examine how we can move back towards this once problematic decentralised model. Centrica is leading the way in delivering new technologies and approaches that we believe will transform the role of the energy supplier and how we all use and interact with energy. We are proud to be running the Cornwall Local Energy Market trial, which offers a glimpse into the future of a truly decentralised energy landscape with thousands, if not millions, of homes and businesses playing their part in regional energy markets. This is the first project in the world which explores how decentralised flexible assets can work together in an efficient local energy system that meets the needs of generators, customers and networks alike – responding to price signals from the market in order to reduce the strain on the grid at peak times and maximise the productivity of low carbon generation assets. As part of the trial we are installing self-generation and storage technology in homes and businesses across Cornwall. The installation of solar panels and battery storage units into 100 homes across the county, and making that stored energy available to the market as a single source of flexibility, is also big news for the country as it becomes the largest ‘virtual power plant’ of its kind in the UK.

Business Green 2nd Aug 2019 read more »

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Energy Demand

Falling energy use and surging offshore wind are among the trends revealed in the latest round of government figures on the energy flowing through the UK. Renewables’ share of electricity generation reached another all-time high last year, accounting for a third of the mix while coal power slumped by a quarter. The new iteration of the Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES), published last week by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), contains a wealth of information that tells the broader story of the nation’s energy transformation. Here, Carbon Brief has created six charts that illustrate the changes that have been taking place in the energy mix over the past year. The nation’s primary energy use fell once again, taking it to its lowest level for decades, as demonstrated by the chart below. (In January, Carbon Brief reported that the amount of electricity generated in the UK last year had fallen to its lowest level since 1994.) This was accompanied by the continued decline of fossil fuels as a source of energy. While they are still dominant, their contribution fell to 79%, another record low.

Carbon Brief 1st Aug 2019 read more »

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IAEA

This site’s Daily News content is provided by Edinburgh Energy & Environment Consultancy. EEE are experts in policy and analysis on energy and environment issues, particularly nuclear power.

Services include: supplying tailored news services, writing reports and briefings, drafting consultation responses and developing political campaign strategies.

Clients have included Greenpeace, Nuclear Free Local Authorities, WWF Scotland and the UK Government’s Committee on Radioactive Waste Management.

News

Report: UK retailers surpassing carbon reduction commitments early

A group of more than 25 of the UK’s largest retailers have collectively reduced their absolute carbon footprint by more than one-third (36%) since 2005, a new study has found.

Companies taking part in 'Better Retail, Better World' include John Lewis & Partners, M&S, Fenwick and Kingfisher - the owner of B&Q and Screwfix 

Companies taking part in ‘Better Retail, Better World’ include John Lewis & Partners, M&S, Fenwick and Kingfisher – the owner of B&Q and Screwfix 

Carried out by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) as part of its ‘Better Retail, Better World’ campaign, the study explored the emissions reduction, water management and waste reduction efforts of 27 big-name UK retailers, including the likes of John Lewis Partnership, Ikea and Fenwick.

It concluded that the group has reduced its collective, absolute carbon emissions by 36%, as of the end of 2018 – surpassing the ‘Better Retail, Better World’ target of a 25% reduction by 2020. This figure was calculated against a 2005 baseline.

A large proportion of this progress was accounted for by efforts to decarbonise energy, with this specific part of the group’s footprint down 67% in the same timeframe. A further key progress area was deliveries to stores, where collective, absolute emissions were down 47%, also in the same 13-year period.

Nonetheless, slower progress was recorded across efforts to decarbonise refrigeration and transport. Supermarket members of the BRC’s initiative – Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Lidl, M&S, Ocado, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – have collectively reduced emissions from refrigeration by 55% since 2005, putting them off-track to meet a 2020 target of 80%.

According to the Department for Food, the Environment and Rural Affairs, fridges at food retailers account for between 3% and 6% of the UK’s total electricity consumption. Moreover, older fridges and freezers produce high levels of fluorinated gases (F-gases).

A recent report found that European retailers are behind schedule to implement natural refrigerants into operations, with the average supermarket refrigeration system thought to leak up to a quarter of its refrigerant charge annually –  the equivalent of more than 1,500 metric tonnes of carbon emissions.

Nonetheless, there are notable examples of retailers committing to phase-out F-gases. Aldi UK has invested £20m in natural refrigerants across all of its stores – a move which could see its potential annual refrigerant gas carbon emissions cut by 99% – while the likes of AsdaWaitrose and Sainsbury’s are using F1-inspired technology to steer cold air directly back down fridge units to stop it from spilling out onto the aisles.

While praising this progress, BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson also urged retailers to up their low-carbon ambitions and actions in the wake of the Government’s declaration of a ‘Climate Emergency’.

“It is ever more important for businesses to unite to tackle these global challenges,” Dickinson said.

“While we can see significant progress being made, we should not underestimate the scale of the challenge before us. The public wants to know that the food they eat, the clothes they wear and the goods they buy, are ethically made and responsibly sourced. Better Retail Better World brings together retailers to collaboratively play their part in creating a sustainable future.”

Dickson’s comments come shortly after a survey of more than 1,800 UK retailers found that two-thirds believe it will take three years or more to transform their business models, processes, operations and products for holistic sustainability.

Sarah George

News

Climate Protest

This briefing tracks the evolution of the ecological movement since the 1960s and of scientific and direct action to respond to the catastrophic threat of climate breakdown. While the issue has largely overcome concerted, well-funded opposition to move from a niche concern into the global scientific and political mainstream, systemic political and economic blockages remain to achieving rapid decarbonisation.

Oxford Research Group 30th July 2019 read more »

News

Climate

THE governor of the Bank of England has warned that companies that fail to prepare for climate change “will go bankrupt without question”. Mark Carney also said the UK’s central bank has been asked by the UK Government to “stress test” the economy for its preparedness for climate change. Carney told Channel 4 News: “The government have said to us one of your responsibilities when you look at the stability of the financial system is to look at the risk from climate change. “Because of the climate change risk, because of the speed of adjustment, we are going to stress test the UK financial system to see how ready it is for climate change.” Carney said the Bank of England’s “job is to make sure the financial system can be there and provide the funds for whatever path the country chooses to take”. He added: “The country is moving to net zero carbon by 2050.

The National 1st Aug 2019 read more »

Capitalism holds the key to overcoming the challenges of climate change, the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has said. He told an audience at Coutts Bank in central London, which included Sir David Attenborough, that trillions of pounds can be made for companies that provide solutions to the climate threat. He dismissed claims by some activists, such as Extinction Rebellion, who have argued that economic growth is at odds with environmental protection. However he issued a stark message to companies and financial institutions which fail to adapt, warning that they “will go bankrupt without question”.

iNews 31st July 2019 read more »

Guardian 31st July 2019 read more »

Heatwaves naturally occur in summer, but they did not used to be so hot, or so frequent. Experts say that the UK’s sweltering weather last summer was made 30 times more likely by global heating. That link has sunk in: in a new survey, 77% believed the recent heatwave was partially or wholly caused by the climate crisis. As temperatures reach unprecedented levels, so does public concern about the environment. Yet while global heating is just that, its impact varies even within countries. Most people surveyed in July considered the weather too hot. But, while 73% of people in the east of England judged it too hot, in chillier Scotland only 47% of people agreed – and a slightly larger proportion thought it just right or not warm enough. Some may look forward to warmer staycations and the chance to grow grapes in their back garden. For many people, even a small rise in temperatures will be catastrophic. A new report from Monash University in Melbourne warns that the climate crisis is already causing deaths; one of its authors said almost 400 people died from heat stress and heatstroke during fires in Victoria 10 years ago. It predicts climate-related stunting, malnutrition and lower IQ in children within the coming decades; a 2018 report from the World Health Organisation predicted that an additional 250,000 deaths a year will occur between 2030 and 2050 due to global heating. Some places will experience more severe temperature shifts or will find it harder to adapt than others, often through lack of resources. Poorer countries, which broadly speaking are the least to blame for the climate crisis – emitting less carbon dioxide per capita – will suffer most. A hurricane or wildfire is deadlier when there is little capacity to prepare for it or to speed recovery. Families that spend most of their income on food struggle to eat when crops suffer.

Guardian 31st July 2019 read more »

Greenland is experiencing “extreme” temperatures as the record-setting heatwave that blasted Europe last week hovers over the region. Up to half the surface of the island’s ice sheet is thought to be currently melting, with runoff equivalent to a 0.5mm rise in global sea levels in July alone. It comes less than a week after Britain saw its hottest-ever day, with a high of 38.7C recorded at Cambridge botanic garden last Thursday. Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands also experienced record-high temperatures due to a plume of air from north Africa. Greenland has seen abnormally high temperatures so far this summer, scientists have told The Independent, with melting expected to rival the record levels seen in 2012.

Independent 1st Aug 2019 read more »

Siberian wildfires prompt Russia to declare state of emergency. Russia has declared a state of emergency in four Siberian regions and dispatched the military to help in firefighting efforts after wildfires engulfed an area of forest the size of Belgium amid record high temperatures.

FT 31st July 2019 read more »

News

Island Energy

Wind energy produced in the Outer Hebrides could be used to power ferry services to the islands and bring major economic benefits to their people, a major new study has found. Wind power could be used to make green hydrogen that would replace emission-heavy marine oil on established Caledonian MacBrayne routes. It could open up a new homegrown market for island renewables, which have struggled in the past to keep good connections to the grid.

Scotsman 30th July 2019 read more »

An innovative plan to use hydrogen produced at island wind farms to power the ferry network has been announced by Point and Sandwick Trust. Yesterday, the trust published a feasibility study to assess the suitability of using hydrogen produced from local wind farms to power future ferry services operating in the Western Isles. The project looked at the practical and economic feasibility of using new island wind farms to produce zero-carbon “green” hydrogen fuel for future types of clean emission ferries operating on the established Caledonian MacBrayne routes. The group worked with industry professionals including Wood, Siemens-Gamesa, Engie, ITM, CMAL, Johnston Carmichael and Ferguson Marine to compile the report. Although trials elsewhere have used surplus electricity to drive small ferries, this does not reflect the full economic cost of switching from marine oil to hydrogen. The Western Isles study is the first to look at the feasibility of using electricity derived from a local wind farm built specifically to power shipping on existing and established ferry routes. Point and Sandwick Trust, project manager Calum MacDonald said: “This is an exciting first step towards a future where zero-emission ferries are serving the Western Isles using hydrogen sourced from local and renewable wind power. “We need to make our ferries zero-carbon to protect the planet but at the same time we need to use our local, renewable resources to fuel those ferries to protect and strengthen our communities.

Press & Journal 30th July 2019 read more »

News

Natural Power appoints Offshore Services Lead in North America

Leading renewable energy consultancy and service provider Natural Power has appointed Matthew Filippelli as Principal Engineer and Offshore Services Lead. He will be based in the New York office located in Saratoga Springs. Jim Adams, President of Natural Power in North America, said: “The US has a vast offshore wind energy resource, and as this market continues to gather pace, it is important that we prioritize expanding our team and expertise to meet the needs… Source: RealWire

News

EP100: Energy-efficient businesses slash $55m off annual bills

A coalition of 18 large businesses have collectively shaved $55m (£45m) off their energy costs by implementing better efficiency measures, a new report from The Climate Group has concluded.

Yanbu Cement (pictured) is among the group of 18 companies 

Yanbu Cement (pictured) is among the group of 18 companies 

The report, entitled ‘Smarter Energy Use: Businesses Doing More with Less’, is the NGO’s first annual progress document on its EP100 initiative – a global scheme aimed at uniting corporates in a collective drive to increase energy productivity (i.e. achieving a higher economic output per unit of energy consumed).

Under EP100, companies are required to either double their energy productivity, make their buildings net-zero carbon or implement an energy management system, based on which of these actions is most relevant to their business model.

According to the report, the 18 EP100 members to have made the most rapid progress towards targets set under the scheme have collectively reduced their energy bills by $55m over the past year, increasing their competitiveness and boosting their bottom lines. This same group of companies has also realised a further $76 in energy-related economic benefits elsewhere, bringing the total collective saving to $131m.

Companies within this 18-strong group include India-based engine manufacturer and supplier Swaraj Engines and the Yanbu Cement Company.

A further key finding was that the 21 members of EP100 to have reported their year-on-year progress have collectively prevented the emission of 522 million MTCO2e to date through the saving of 730TWh of energy. The Climate Group believes this is equivalent to taking the annual energy consumption of Germany off of the global system or bringing 134 coal-fired power plants offline.

Companies taking part in EP100 include the likes of Hilton, H&M Group, Schneider Electric, Landsec and RBS. In total, 50 companies with operations across 133 geographical markets are signed up to the initiative, which is being delivered in partnership with The Alliance to Save Energy. However, only 21 have reported their progress to The Climate Group this year.

The Climate Group’s Helen Clarkson said that, in the face of climate challenges and amid the emergence of new low-carbon technologies, every major company should seek to lead on energy efficiency.

“Doing more with less energy can unlock faster decarbonization of the global economy – and the private sector holds the key,” Clarkson said.

“From the boiler room to the boardroom, smarter energy use benefits business at every level, helping to meet the growing expectations of shareholders, customers and employees while generating capital that can be reinvested in clean growth.”


edie’s Smart Business Blueprint for Flexible Energy Futures 

Energy professionals seeking to drive efficiency in their own organisation by getting ahead of the curve to deliver a flexible energy future now have access to a free edie insight report mapping out a blueprint for smart, sustainable business in 2020. 

The guide, sponsored by EDF Energy, is broken down into the four D’s – Decarbonisation, Democratisation, Decentralisation and Digitisation; exploring the key technologies that are currently available for businesses to deliver their carbon and sustainability targets. Read it for free by clicking here


Sarah George

News

Engie

French gas and power group Engie’s (ENGIE.PA) second-quarter earnings rebounded after a weak first quarter, driven by strong management of its energy, an improvement in client solutions and the restart of all its Belgian nuclear reactors. First-half core earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), which had fallen 4.8% in the first quarter, were up 0.6% to 5.3 billion euros (£4.85 billion). First-half revenue rose 9.3% to 33 billion and current operating income was up 3.1% to 3.2 billion euros. Net recurring income was flat at 1.5 billion euros.

Reuters 30th July 2019 read more »

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