For those of you in the dark the UK Government have started to approve a method of shale gas extraction commonly known as “fracking”. Ministers believe that this method of energy will create a newer energy industry and will have the ability to drive down gas prices for energy users in the UK. The ecological effects that fracking causes can be huge and there is pressure from groups around the UK pleading with government to halt the plans that are in progress.
Coincidentally there is now a movie been produced starring actor Matt Damon which highlights the issues associated with fracking and the impact it has on communities. I have attached the trailer to give you an overview of the film and tells you more about what it is about.
Don’t forget to leave a comment and tell us what you think!
Whilst the rest of the UK are setting up their future energy policies in Scotland there are ambitions to have the country meeting a renewables target of 100 per cent. MSP’s have since warned that if immediate action isn’t adhered to such as the infrastructure, financing and the planning regime then the ambitious project could fail.
The committee which deals with the economics, energy and tourism within Holyrood said that the country has a long road ahead in order to achieve the target of having a wholly renewable Scottish electric system. They also stated that they felt it was achievable but obstacles were to be overcome. One challenge being the costs involved when exporting stored energy from renewable energy sources to the national grid.
The reason for the significant costs is due the largest number of energy users being in the South of England and the charging process penalises those areas with the greatest renewables potential. The chairman of the committee Murdo Fraser, a Tory MSP, stated that any recommendations that are made from the committee are paramount in how the renewables target progresses and the overall success of the plan.
The Scottish recommendations were prepared before the UK government released the details of their energy bill last week with their own 2020 targets. Their bills key proposal being to add £7.6 billion onto consumers bills for an accelerated renewables investment. UK ministers believe that this will start a domino effect with industries such as banking, utilities and engineering companies adding a further £110 billion to the pot.
Scotland leader Alex Salmond, whose SNP party are still pushing for Scottish independence, will be pleased that the UK government cannot agree on a firm target for reducing Co2 emissions. All the while the Scottish parliament have committed to reducing emissions by 42 per cent by 2020.
Renewables investors are confident due to Mr Salmond’s enthusiasm and championing of renewable energy sources, creating a more positive business environment this side of the border. This is in stark contrast to the divisions and delays at UK level over the increasing amount of subsidies.
At their annual conference in Brighton this week the UK Lib Dems voted through a motion in agreement to ‘decarbonise’ the UK energy sector by 2030 – putting them on a collision course with their coalition counterparts in the Conservative party (particularly Chancellor George Osbourne) who is keen to exploit UK gas reserves and is thought to be reluctant to agree to the 2030 green measures.
The Lib Dems agreed to pursue an emissions target of 50-100 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour (KWh) for any fossil fuel plant built after 2030, this was not included in the draft Energy Bill from earlier this year – however, there is now pressure for it to be incorporated into the bill. The Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey also outlined a “community energy” strategy, a part of which includes a proposal for a discount in council tax for highly energy efficient households.
As to which of these policies is eventually moulded into solid legally-binding legislation – who knows. There are some interesting debates ahead in the halls of Westminster.
Now that the Government has lost their appeal regarding changes to the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) appeal it has been confirmed that they are seeking permission to take their appeal to the Supreme Court. Now this is a time consuming and drawn out process where current and potential customers will be facing uncertainty. So in order to help out we have had a wee look at the potential time scales involved and what could be a likely future for the FIT.
The DECC (Department for Energy and Climate Change) has a full 28 days to apply for an appeal to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court then has 8 weeks to decide whether to accept or reject the application. If the appeal is accepted it could take anything up to 8 months before it is heard.
So to be honest we are still pretty much in the dark about what tariff rates will be in play for installations between the 12th and 3rd March and things are more than likely to stay this way until we get a final decision on the ruling.
On a separate note to the legal issues of the 12th December, there are other almost equally important questions that still need answers which arguably could have a considerably greater impact on the immediate future of micro-generation.
There should be some movement on this towards the latter part of next week, with the DECC stating that they are still fully intent on publishing the phase 2 consultation no later than the 9th February. The phase 2 consultation will include proposed tariffs for post April 1st installations as well as rates for other technologies such as wind and hydro power. The DECC is also intending to publish a response to some of the more controversial aspects of the consultation, this is including the proposals around energy efficiency which will essentially prevent a large number of households from taking up FIT.
So setting aside matters concerning the legality of the 12th December date, there should be a lot more information about the Government’s plans for FIT by 9th February. However the key question is, will the scheme fall victim to its own success, or could things emerge from this confusion even better for the
Big Energy Week kicked off yesterday with events in Cardiff, Edinburgh and London. The event has gathered a great deal of support from some big companies and consumer groups; Consumer Focus, Which? Energy UK, energy companies, charities, Ofgem and the Government.
The event has been created in response to the massive increase of people visiting Citizens Advice for help with their fuel bills. In November 2011 8 times as many people went to the Citizens Advice website for advice on cutting their fuel bills down.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said: “We know that a lot of households are struggling to cope with rising energy costs. Many people could cut their gas and electricity bills by moving to a better deal with their existing supplier, switching to another supplier altogether, or by taking up home insulation offers. But we need to make sure consumers are aware of this and make it easier for them to take action to save money. That is why I am backing Big Energy Week. We want to get the advice and information out to as many consumers across the country as possible.”
The Big Energy Week is running from 16-21 of January and will feature industry advisers from all over the UK helping people to spend less on the heating and powering of their home.
At www.bigenergyweek.org.uk you can find loads of help and advice on how to cut your fuel bill, helpful phone numbers and links as well as find out what’s taking place in your area. You can also contact your local Citizens Advice Bureaux for energy saving advice – the number will be in the phone book.
Ok, so the winter party season is upon us and we all know there’s not going to be much partying if all your money has been spent on heating your home. So to help out our faithful readership we’ve combined our favourite energy saving tips to try and keep your energy costs down as low as possible.
• You need to layer up.
Rather than whack the heating up high why not try putting on more layers. You’re actually better with more thin layers on than one thick layer. I would also invest in either some blankets for sitting around watching TV or better yet a Snuggie.
• Hot water bottles – They’re great.
They hold heat for ages and are cheap to buy. What I like to do is put a hot water bottle into my bed about 15 minutes before I intend to go and it’s always fantastically cosy for me by the time I get in.
• Timing is everything.
Timers are a great money saver – rather than leave the heating on all day so its warm for you coming home just set the timer to turn it on 1 hour before you get home. The house will be the same temperature and you’ll have spent 6 hours less on energy. You can also set it to come on an hour before you get up in the morning and again you’ll be lovely and cosy.
• It’s all about the thermostats.
It’s a well known fact that dropping the temperature on your thermostat by even 1°C is enough to save you 10% on your energy bills. However as a general rule you should always try and keep your thermostat between 18°C and 21°C for maximum efficiency.
• Sometimes a change is as good as a rest.
Finally…. switch gas and electricity supplier. Make sure you have done your research and chances are you’ll find a new supplier willing to offer you a better deal than the one your on now. The best bit is all you have to do is tell the company you want to switch to and they will take care of all the details you really won,t know its happened until your bills get cheaper.
Now whilst we know these tips aren’t going to save you a fortune we do hope that they will help your part fund last that little bit longer.
Yep, more bad news folks, yet another member of “the big six” energy companies has jumped on the price increase bandwagon. This time it’s British Gas raising prices, and by as much as 24% in some areas. Now with their previous history people must be aware, that the rest of the energy pack wont be far behind when it comes to bumping up their prices.
So with people now wondering, are the days of cheap gas and electric a thing of the past. We thought it would be rather prudent of us, to give some information on what is looking more and more like the smart choice. We’re talking about fixed rate tariffs, and you’ll need to be quick as it doesn’t look like they’ll be around on their current terms for long.
Fixed rate energy tariffs are essentially a long term contract (usually around 2 years) whereby the energy supplier, promises to keep the cost of your gas or electricity constant for the length of the contract. The benefit is that your prices stay the same even if the prices across market shoot up. However the flip side is, that if prices drop yours will stay the same.
That being said, its essential to do your sums as you will usually have to pay a slightly higher rate on a fixed tariff. In short you’re gambling that prices will rise above what you pay just now.
So if you’re worried about the rising cost of your energy bills, pretty confident about more increases in the coming year and have done your homework then a fixed rate tariff could be just the thing to save you some money.
The Guardian ran a fascinating energy story towards the end of last week, saying that more people die each winter in the coldest 25% of housing. And not only that, says the report – there are other health problems associated with cold accommodation.
This go me slightly concerned as in some ways I’ve always preferred my living space to be too cold rather than too warm. There have been unpleasant extremes of cold though, ones that I didn’t enjoy – one rented flat I lived in for a while during my twenties was so cold that you’d go to bed wearing jeans, t-shirt, two jumpers, jacket, Timberland boots and a Kangol hat. Yup – real horrible coldness that just makes you miserable.
Of course most of the people whose lives are at risk from cold temperatures are the elderly, but the Guardian piece also highlights that young pople living in cold accommodation are more at risk of mental illness.
The issue here is of course about energy efficiency – making sure homes have modern heating systems and modern means of insulation. And it’s probably about time that we, as one of the richest (but definitely not the warmest) nations, gave some serious thought to making sure that in the name of health and in the name of the environment, all houses are warm enough.
Hi, and welcome to new Energy Watcher. We’ve moved over to our own web space, and got a whole new shiny URL of our own, so be sure to bookmark it if you’ve just found your way across from our Friendster page.
I hope you like the new design – why not drop us a comment and tell us what you think of the new look?
Anyway , this post is really just to say hello (and test the blogging platform) normal service will be resumed in next post.
Since it’s Friday, I thought it might be a good idea to share some good news with you. And possibly your Granny.
“A new scheme launched by the government in conjunction with the country’s leading energy suppliers will see vulnerable pensioners receive a rebate on their energy bills.
Under the one-off deal, around 250,000 elderly people will get £80 off their next electricity bill starting from this month. The energy suppliers participating in the scheme are British Gas, EDF Energy, E.On, Scottish Power, npower and Scottish and Southern Energy.
The deal is open to households where at least one resident is aged 70 or over and is responsible for the electricity account where they live and do not already benefit from a discounted tariff.”