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Will it ever be the right time to move time forward by an hour? Well I think it’s high time they did.

Proposed time changes, talked about for years but never acted upon, look like they are finally gaining some momentum. Actor and comedian David Mitchell expresses his opinion in this Guardian column . I think he’s right when he says that the changewill have ecological benefits due to decreased energy use.

What would happen? Well, clocks go forward by one hour, meaning that GMT would become GMT+1, and summer time would be GMT+2.

Although I do wonder how much of a difference this would make firther north, where it would surely be dark until 9am or later? But then I suppose the benefit is that it would get dark a bit later. Either way, the winter is cold and dark for the most part.

It will be interesting to see whether this time change actually ever takes place. I hope it does, if only for the novelty, and to see what electricity suppliers report in terms of differences in demand during the plus one winters and summers.

Evening could arrive an hour sooner, under new proposals.

Evening could arrive an hour sooner, under new proposals.

UK Gas and Electricity Bills Cut

This month has seen the latest round of energy price cuts from three of the ‘big six’ energy suppliers to the UK. The first of these companies to cut their bills was Scottish and Southern, who own Atlantic Gas and Electricity, Southern Electric, SWALEC and Scottish Hydro – they announced an average of 4% cut in domestic energy bills by the end of March.

British Gas then announced that it was cutting its prices by 7% – http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/feb/04/british-gas-cuts-gas-prices

…….. And today E.ON has cut its prices by 6% – http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE6272Z420100308

These cuts however, have not been met with universal approval and thanks very much from consumers. Many are critical that the savings that the companies are making from the drop in wholesale gas prices is not being passed onto consumers.

What are your opinions on the latest round of price cuts?

Energy Watcher Posts from The Archive

As we’ve just moved over here from WordPress we though that it would be a good idea to highlight some of the posts which summarise what Energy Watcher is all about for our new Friendster readers!

So, without further ado these are the ten most popular posts on Energy Watcher!

  1. BBC Electricity Generation calcualtor – Great tool from the Beeb which can help you measure your electricity usage.
  2. Oil and Gas to run out by 2015 – Alarming post on the depreciating reserves of Oil and Gas
  3. UK looks to Low Carbon economy – How the UK is trying to remould decades of dependency on fossill fuels
  4. UK charges up electric car trials – Post on a UK scheme testing out electric cars in an urban environment
  5. Go ahead for UK smart metering – Report on the long awaited introduction of smart metering for UK homes
  6. Green energy boom predicted – The benefits to the economy from Green Energy
  7. More pressure on UK energy suppliers – Details on regulatory attempts to tighten up the UK energy suppliers behaviour
  8. Scottish Government offers £10m wave energy prize – News on the Scottish Governments investment in the wave energy
  9. SSE tops energy survey – Scottish and Southern Energy rank highly in uSwitch survey
  10. Government reacts to rising energy costs – Moves by the UK goverment to try and protect consumers in the wake of rising gas and electricity costs.

Well, there you have it – the ten most popular posts on Energy Watcher before we moved over from WordPress. We hope it provides you with a little insight as to what we like to talk about. We will be back soon with some all new posts and debates!

UK Looks to Low Carbon Economy

Published last month, the UK Department of Energy and Climate change strategy for the transition of the country to a low carbon economy makes for interesting reading. The ‘green economy’ is obviously an area that the government is staking alot of its faith in, and these plans flesh out how they intend to expolit this green energy wave.

To quote the launch website………………

The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan plots out how the UK will meet the cut in emissions set out in the budget of 34% on 1990 levels by 2020. A 21% reduction has already been delivered – equivalent to cutting emissions entirely from four cities the size of London.

Transforming the country into a cleaner, greener and more prosperous place to live is at the heart of our economic plans for Building Britain’s Future and ensuring the UK is ready to take advantage of the opportunities ahead.
By 2020:

  • More than 1.2 million people will be in green jobs
  • 7 million homes will have benefited from whole house makeovers, and more than 1.5 million households will be supported to produce their own clean energy
  • Around 40% of electricity will be from low carbon sources, from renewables, nuclear and clean coal
  • We will be importing half the amount of gas that we otherwise would
  • The average new car will emit 40% less carbon than now.

The Transition Plan is the most systematic response to climate change of any major developed economy, and sets the standard for others in the run up to crucial global climate talks in

Copenhagen in December.

You can order hard copies of the Low Carbon Transition Plan through The Stationary Office (TSO).[external Link]
Alongside the Low Carbon Transition Plan, a Low Carbon Industrial Strategy was also introduced. The targets laid out by this plan include:

  • Up to £60 million to capitalise on Britain’s wave and tidal sector strengths
  • Up to £15 million capital investment in order to establish a Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre
  • A £4 million expansion of the Manufacturing Advisory Service
  • Up to £10 million for the accelerated deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure
  • Up to £120 million to support the development of a British based offshore wind industry
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Well, there we go – what do you think of these announcements? Do these measures go far enough? or are they far too ambitious in light of the current economic climate which shows no signs of recovery any time soon. We welcome all your thoughts and opinions.

UK charges up electric car trials

The world’s largest ever coordinated trial of environmentally friendly vehicles is to be launched today.

This is very encouraging news from the UK government, signalling that it is serious about transitioning our vehicular transport habits.

Car Recharging station - soon to be a common site?

Car Recharging station - soon to be a common site?

The £25 million scheme is designed to accelerate the introduction of electric cars in the UK. Participating members of the public will take part in long-term tests of various vehicle types from electric Minis and Smart cars to sports models and electric vans (surely a priority vehicle!).

It is hoped that by the end of 2009, about 340 vehicles will be available to qualifying members of the public in eight areas of the UK including London, Glasgow, Birmingham, Oxford and the northeast of England. Power companies, regional development agencies and universities will also be involved in co-ordinating the experiments and developing the infrastructure which will measure the performance of these vehicles.

About 22 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions come from transport. According to a study for the department for transport, widespread adoption of electric vehicles capable of a range of 50km (31 miles) or more could halve road transport carbon emissions.

As laudable as this scheme i, the fact remains that the UK remains well behind California in terms of pioneering electric vehicular transport (although they don’t have flying cars yet!).

If there is anyone who is going to get involved in these trials then let us know.

Scotland pushing for green energy future

A greener future for Scotland?

A greener future for Scotland?

Scottish climate minister Stewart Stevenson today unveiled plans to propel Scotland into a clean and green energy future.  Never afraid to embrace green technologies (Scotland has the largest wind farm in Europe) this latest announcement outlines the specific measures that the government wish to take, with the specific aim of transitioning the country into a low-carbon economy.

The are four major elements of the plan are:

Low carbon electricity by 2030, through increased renewables and clean fossil fuels utilising carbon capture and storage technology;
Wholesale adoption of low carbon road vehicles, and significant electrification of rail by 2050, with significant progress by 2030;
Low carbon heating by 2050, with significant progress by 2030, through reduced demand, better energy efficiency and a massive increase in renewable and low carbon heating systems;
Fewer emissions from agricultural businesses, more woodland planting and appropriate protection for Scotland’s carbon rich soils.

Speaking at the launch of the plan, Stevenson said:

We are today outlining a plan that will transform Scotland to a sustainable, low carbon society.

Scotland will soon have the most far reaching climate change legislation in the world. That must be accompanied by action and our Delivery Plan demands action now, tomorrow, and from future generations and future governments.

Scotland’s role in the global effort to reduce emissions will create clear economic benefits and help maintain a thriving economy. Harnessing the energy related opportunities presented by Scotland’s natural capital can create tens of thousands of green jobs as we move to 2050. These are jobs for the future – jobs in our rapidly expanding renewables industry, in developing and applying clean fossil fuel technology, in energy efficiency and microgeneration and in the developing sustainable transport industry.

Through our economic recovery programme we are progressing actions to create new jobs in low-carbon sectors such as in energy generation, energy efficiency and sustainable transport.

Not alot of promisies to live up to there then! We will be watching the evolution of this plan with interest.

What do you think of the Scottish Governments Plan? Is is over-ambitious or does it not go far enough? – Let us know your views!

Go-Ahead for UK Smart Metering

A potential revolution for UK home energy usage was quietly ushered in last week when the Department of Energy and Climate Change finally enabled the use of smart-metering. There are great implications for households across the country – by 2020 all households in the UK will have smart meter fitted which will enable them to more effectively manage their domestic energy usage.

Energy secretary Ed Miliband has outlined the thinking behind the implementation of smart metering:Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said:

“This is another part of our Great British refurb. The meters most of us have in our homes were designed for a different age, before climate change. Now we need to get smarter with our energy.

“Smart meters will empower all consumers to monitor their own energy use and make reductions in energy consumption and carbon emissions as a result. Smart meters will also mean the end of inaccurate bills and estimated meter readings.

“This is a big project affecting 26 million homes, and several million businesses, so it’s important we design a system that brings best value to everyone involved.”

We are delighted that this system is finally able to be implemented, the abailty to control our energy usage has been a long time coming.

More Pressure on UK Energy Suppliers

We came across this interesting BBC News article detailing Energy Secretary Ed Milliband‘s renewed call for the major energy companies to cut consumer energy bills. He has called for the recent drop in wholesale gas and electricity prices to be passed onto consumers. One major Electricity Supplier has already strongly hinted as possible price cuts in the new year, and we would predict that the others won’t be far behind.

We have been relativley encouraged by Mr Milibands first few months as energy secretary, he has displayed an understanding of how these big energy companies operate. The key for Mr Miliband in the short term must be to work closely with the ‘big six’ suppliers in order to get household energy bills under control.

“We have recently seen big falls in wholesale gas and electricity prices, but I understand that because energy companies tend to buy in advance they won’t be passed on immediately.

“But they must be passed on as soon as possible.”

We look forward with interest to the new year.

Scottish Goverment Offers £10m Wave Energy Prize

The Scottish Government this week announced details of The Saltire Prize, in which it hopes to draw inspiration from the 20th century great innovation prizes in aviation that led to the first crossings of the English Channel and the Atlantic and the Ansari X Prize that led to the first private spacecraft launch.

The Saltire Prize is offering a £10m award to the first group of wave power scientists who can demonstrate a commercially viable wave or tidal energy system in Scottish waters. The competition is to be judged by the folowing criteria:

£10 million will be awarded to the team that can demonstrate in Scottish waters a commercially viable wave or tidal energy technology that achieves a minimum electrical output of 100GWh over a continuous 2 year period using only the power of the sea and is judged to be the best overall technology after consideration of cost, environmental sustainability and safety.

There is good reason for Scotlands politicians to try and promote the potential of wave energy – Scotland holds a quarter of the wave power potential of the Europe.

Green Energy Measures in Pre-Budget Report

As most of you will no doubt be aware by now, Chancellor Alistair Darling yesterday delivered his pre-budget report. In the midst of the biggest financial crisis for 20 years, Mr Darling announced a series of measures which he belives will kick start the economy back into action.

Of course, our primary interest was in what (if any) green initiatives the Chancellor would deliver in this report. What he eventually announced wasan extra £100m (with a further £50m brought forward) towards properly insulating over 60,000 homes, in an attempt to increase their energy efficiency and lower energy bills. All very laudable we think you’ll agree.

However, we would have loved Mr Darling to take these measures even further. A massive investment in green technologies and initiatives would have been an excellent proposal. The effects of a wide ranging geen initiative such as this would be extensive. As well as creating jobs throughout industrial, manufacturing and service industries, we would be saving the planet at the same time by drastically reducing the UKs Carbon Footprint. Its a win-win scenario, and we feel that in these difficult economic times the general public are looking for radical thinking to get us out of this mess.

We would like to think that the chancellor will take the green energy message onboard further in the budget itself, although we dont hold out much hope.