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Moxia and ScottishPower Launch Smart Battery

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Moxia Technology have teamed up with ScottishPower to produce an innovative smart battery. Moxia’s smart battery, manufactured by Maslow, is expected to help homeowners use more of the energy they generate whilst at the same time save them money. Moxia has said their product is a good example of how storage technology can be used to combat the surplus of energy faced by Britain’s national grid.

In pilots with major energy industry partners (ScottishPower, British Gas, SSE PD, Good Energy), government (DECC), and direct customer sales, Moixa has deployed 1 (megawatt hours) MWh of its British-manufactured Maslow smart battery system, deployed across 500 sites (combined with solar panels). These smart batteries can be aggregated to provide a range of services and income, using the patented “GridShare” battery software platform.

Smart batteries mean a revolution for utilities. They are home storage units that enable customers to save money through accessing smart tariffs, store excess solar energy for use during peak hours or share batteries with the grid for a range of network saving benefits.

Moixa has deployed 47 Maslow energy storage systems for ScottishPower in partnership with BillSaveUK. Its GridShare software dashboard enables ScottishPower householders to view energy, battery and solar use in real time on a smartphone or iPad, and identify improvement opportunities. This can lead in some cases to over 20% reduction in energy costs.

Moixa has already delivered multiple storage projects for DECC, InnovateUK and many of the other biggest utilities, including British Gas, Good Energy and Co-Operative Energy. Moixa is also working with many of the “new utility” entrants, to use energy storage to lower customer bills.

Other projects include over 175 kilowatt hours (KWh) of Maslow storage systems installed in social housing in Oxford as part of a study with British Gas on new smart tariffs and local community energy flows, and showing benefits in reducing fuel poverty, and 250 storage systems installed in 2014/15 as part of a comprehensive demonstration for DECC on storage opportunities across private, social housing and small business, including with Good Energy.

Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change Amber Rudd said: “Storage can help maximize the benefits and minimise the costs of secure affordable and clean energy in the UK.”

Lord Bourne, Under Secretary for Climate Change described the Moixa battery storage system as a “radical new business idea.”

Furthermore, a recent Smart Power report by Lord Adonis and the National Infrastructure Commission, identified potential £8bn/pa savings from storage, and cited Moixa and Tesla as leading examples in distributed storage.

Sue Riddlestone, Chief Executive of Bioregional, said: “We’re proud to be part of a project which has now installed Maslow systems with 175kwh total capacity in the community of Rosehill in Oxford, cutting carbon and bringing cost savings that have really benefitted local people. Our partners include British Gas and Scottish & Southern Energy Power Distribution.

The projects have added to Moixa’s experience in market, now with over 5 million run-time hours of Maslow systems, and deeper partnerships across multiple channels. The acquired data helps validate business models and asset finance scenarios for new smart tariff, GridShare incomes and end savings to customers.

As an early leader and significant innovator, Moixa has also developed a powerful portfolio of patents. These patents are valuable to Moixa and its partners such as third-party battery providers who integrate into the GridShare platform. Patents granted include aggregating batteries for grid services to create the much-talked-about “Virtual Power Plants”. It may interest readers that Moixa was developing patents for these VPPs as far back as 2008. Moixa’s patent portfolio is now cited by some 140+ international companies.

Bill Rumble, Director at BillSaveUK, said: “The UK renewables industry has weathered some stormy times of late, but as this pilot with Moixa and ScottishPower is demonstrating, the successful installation of ‘smart batteries’ presents a viable route forward and potentially the start of a new era for domestic power generation.”

With traditional utility models under threat by distributed energy generation, energy storage offers utilities and customers a major opportunity.

Simon Daniel, CEO of Moixa, said: “Whereas renewables such as solar and wind have often been seen as a liability to generation networks, the arrival of storage batteries provides an asset not only to householders but also to the grid which can use batteries for balancing and other services.”

“We will also shortly be announcing closing a round of finance which includes several former CEOs of Big6 utilities, which is great validation of how important energy storage is going to be in the new utility landscape”.

Neil Clitheroe, CEO of Retail and Generation at ScottishPower, said: “Electricity is the only commodity that we can’t store at scale. We need to develop more large-scale storage projects, like pumped-storage hydro schemes, but also smaller in-home storage ideas, like Moixa’s smart battery concept.

“As one of the UK’s leading renewable energy companies, we plan to take a leadership role in the development of electricity storage. Our work with Moixa and BillSaveUK will allow us to understand how customers interact with electricity storage at home, and how systems like this can be tailored to offer real benefits for customers.”

Energy

Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?

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sustainable wood burning ideas

Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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Energy

7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees

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As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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