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Economy

Decentralised Energy is Key to Securing Britain’s Energy Future

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A new report explores the importance of decentralised energy as a means to delivering lower future energy bills to hardworking British families. Decentralised energy has a major role to play in meeting Britain’s energy needs and could be key to subsidy-free solar power in the UK within five years.

With the solar energy sector facing proposed cuts of 87% to subsidy support, The Decentralised Energy Transition report sets out key policy recommendations that would ensure best value for money for consumers while negating the need for severe cuts.

– Decentralised energy is the future. It is more efficient and costs less in the long term to use energy where it is generated and to generate it where it will be used

– Solar PV is the most acceptable small-scale generation technology with an approval rating of 81%*. When combined with batteries, solar provides a “round the clock” reliable, local energy source

– Battery storage and intelligent energy management systems will be a “game changer” for the energy market

– Solar PV and battery technologies facilitate changes in consumption behaviours. Consumers can be rewarded at peak times when demand on the grid is at its greatest if they export their stored energy rather than using it

The key policy recommendations to enable the transition to a decentralised energy system are:

– Retain Feed-In Tariff (FIT) subsidies and focus on technologies that have the greatest potential to support the development of smart energy systems. In addition, the remaining FIT budget should be front-loaded, while only subsidising domestic and small-scale commercial solar PV installations. This can be done without increasing the overall budget and therefore the cost to consumers

– Recognise the value created for the electricity grid of widespread deployment of battery technologies. With widespread deployment of storage, peaks on the electricity grid can be avoided and hence grid reinforcement costs can be reduced

– Kick-start the deployment of storage technologies through provision of grants or other incentives

– Incentivise grid companies to support the deployment of decentralised energy

Nick Boyle, CEO at Lightsource, said: “The overall aim for the solar industry has always been to get solar PV to grid parity so we can compete with any other forms of energy without subsidies.

“The costs of solar and storage technologies are falling rapidly and we are not far off having a reliable and clean local generation technology that is at grid parity. It doesn’t just stop at solar and batteries. This is about a smart home management system.

“I hope that this report helps to build a case for retaining subsidy levels in the short term so that the UK is able to reduce the cost of future energy bills for consumers.”

Will Vooght, head of innovation at renewable electricity company Good Energy, said: “We need a much more decentralised, local and democratic energy system in the UK. We’ve got to shift the power away from the big old-fashioned utilities and put it in the hands of individuals, communities and businesses.

“This report shows that solar and battery storage has the potential to revolutionise the UK’s whole energy system and bring down bills for consumers.”

Ricardo Pineiro, Head of UK Solar at Foresight Group, said: “As this report outlines, there is an alternative means of delivering a sustainable and cost competitive solution to the UK’s long term energy challenges.

“This balanced approach recognises the value of new technologies in creating a financially-viable decentralised energy system with clear benefits for energy consumers.

“Significant advances in solar, battery and smart technology and consequent cost reductions mean we at Foresight see clear opportunities for the growth of this sector given the right policy and regulatory support.”

Contributors to the report included Lightsource Renewable Energy, Good Energy and Foresight Group with analysis provided by KPMG.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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