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Why do Electricity Miles matter?

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Good Energy recently launched the outcomes of its Electricity Miles project, which looked at where in the world the UK gets the fuel it uses to generate electricity.The results were telling and concerning—and nearly three quarters of those who responded to its YouGov poll agreed. But why does it matter? Ed Gill, head of external affairs, explains.

By working with small-scale renewable generators we’ve witnessed first-hand the benefits of a simpler, more local and more sustainable approach to the way we generate and use electricity.

But there are other reasons why we should be concerned about how we generate our electricity. Wholesale gas price increases (i.e., the cost of the fuel used to generate electricity) were the biggest single driver behind rising energy bills last autumn, according to the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

Our research confirms that a clear majority (57%) of the fuel we use to generate electricity is imported, demonstrating how the UK’s over-reliance on importing fossil fuels from abroad is costing the country dear.  Only investing in renewables can address that problem.

To quote one UK energy minister: “I have no idea what the price of other [energy] resources will be next year, whether uranium, gas or coal. But the price of wind, and marine, I know—where there is a cost of construction, but where the fuel itself is free. This brings a lot of energy security.”

Electricity Miles. (Click to enlarge).

We think that policymakers need to pay more attention to ‘Electricity Miles’ for the following reasons.

A more stable economy

Last year, rising energy bills were one of the biggest upward pressures on inflation at a time when the UK’s economic outlook remains somewhat grim. Unexpected changes to energy bills mean that businesses find it hard to plan financially, and hold money back to pay bills that could otherwise be invested in growing their businesses. The same applies to households and families. Money saved for unpredictable energy bills means less money going into the economy at a time when it needs it most.

Investment in the UK

Investing in renewables in Britain means that the money remains in the country. On the other hand, investing in technologies that rely on world markets for fuel means that cash just pours from our shores. Investment in renewables is not just sustainable environmentally, but also economically too; so long as we can harness renewable energy, the jobs necessary to do so will need to exist. Spending money on other, unsustainable energy resources is nothing more than a short-term investment.

Security of supply

The CCC’s research already demonstrates how vulnerable the UK is to international events. The bill increases they examined largely came about after global gas demand increased after a number of countries closed down nuclear power plants following the Fukushima disaster.

That vulnerability still exists. In January this year, a group of UK defence chiefs made headlines by warning that our dependence on importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar meant that the UK’s economy was particularly exposed to any conflict with Iran. We’re all used to hearing about how international events affect the price of oil, but the UK’s additional, over-reliance on LNG means that we risk facing a ‘double whammy’ should there be any instability internationally.

Investing in unsustainable fossil fuels won’t deliver us with the long-term security we need; though the UK has successfully exploited its North Sea oil and gas reserves, it has done little to provide us with security of supply in the long run.

Fuel poverty

Having less control over our energy prices means that we have less control over how they impact on the fuel poor. Changes to prices hit those people hardest; they spend a higher proportion of their income on energy costs. As we’ve seen from developments in the social housing sector in the last two years, renewable energy has the potential to give some of the UK’s poorest communities greater control over the energy that they use.

Take a look at our Electricity Miles infographics to find out exactly who we are currently relying on to deliver our energy future.

Further reading:

‘Big six’ lacking in renewables investment

UK renewable industry supports 110,000 jobs

Cameron’s “non-speech” at Clean Energy Ministerial receives strong criticism

Ed Davey’s clean energy investment challenge

Clean Energy in Britain video

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What Kitchen Suits Your Style? Modern, Classic or Shaker?

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shaker kitchen designs

A kitchen is the centre of the home. Your kitchen ranges between where friends and family gather, talk about their day, cook meals, have drinks, to somewhere you can just enjoy each other’s company. The kitchen is the heart of the home. But, everyone’s lifestyle is different. Everyone’s taste is different. So, you need a kitchen that not only mirrors your lifestyle but matches your taste too. Whilst some prefer a more traditional design, others want a modern feel or flair – and it’s all down to personal taste.

When it comes to redesigning your kitchen, what style would you go for? It’s a difficult one isn’t it. With so many different styles to go for, how can you know exactly what you want until you’ve seen it in action? Leading kitchen designer, Roman Kitchens, based in Essex, have provided three examples of bespoke kitchens and styles they specialise in, accompanied with beautiful images. This design guide will get you one step closer to picking your dream kitchen for your home.

1. Modern

New home in the city centre? Or even a sleek new modern build? You want a trendy and modern kitchen to reflect your city lifestyle. In modern kitchen design, colours are bolder and fresher, with sleek design and utilities that are distinctive and vibrant.

modern kitchen designs

This modern kitchen is sleek and smooth with flawless design and beauty. Minimalism doesn’t stop this kitchen standing out. Featured walls of wood and vibrant mint green draw the eye, whilst the white surfaces reflect the light, illuminating every nook and cranny of this kitchen. This kitchen features products from Rotpunkt, innovators of modern kitchen design. Made with German engineering, a Rotpunkt Kitchen is the ultimate modern addition to your home. Rotpunkt Kitchens have timeless design and amazing functionality, they work for every purpose and are eco-friendly. Sourced from natural materials, a Rotpunkt kitchen uses 37% less timber, conserving natural forests and being more environmentally conscious.

2. Classic

Prefer a homely and traditional feel? Classic kitchens are warm, welcoming and filled with wood. Wood flooring, wood fixtures, wood furniture – you name it! You can bring a rustic feel to your urban home with a classic kitchen. Subtle colours and beautiful finishes, Classic kitchens are for taking it back to the basics with a definitive look and feel.

classic kitchen designs

With stated handles for cupboards, Classic kitchens are effortlessly timeless. They convey an elegant but relaxing nature. Giving off countryside vibes, natural elements convey a British countryside feel. The wood featured in a classic kitchen can range between oaks and walnut, creating a warmth and original feel to your home. Soft English heritage colours add a certain mood to your home, softening the light making it cosier.

3. Shaker

Any kitchen planner will tell you that the meeting point between traditional and modern design, is a Shaker kitchen. They have a distinctive style and innovative feel. Shakers are fresh, mixing different colour tones with stylish wood and vinyl. The most important feature of a Shaker kitchen is functionality – every feature needs to serve a purpose in the kitchen. Paired with stylish and unique furniture, a Shaker kitchen is an ideal addition to any home.

shaker kitchen designs

The ultimate marriage between Classic and Modern kitchens, this Shaker kitchen has deep colour tones with copper emphasis features. All the fittings and fixtures blur the line of modern and tradition, with a Classic look but modern colour vibe. Unique furniture and design make Shaker Kitchens perfect for the middle ground in kitchen design. Minimal but beautifully dressed. Traditional but bold and modern at the same time. Storage solutions are part of the functionality of Shaker kitchens, but don’t detour from conveying yours as a luxury kitchen.

Whatever you choose for your new kitchen, be it Modern, Classic or Shaker – pick whatever suits you. Taste is, and always will be, subjective – it’s down to you.

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Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy

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Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.

Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.

Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.

How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  • They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
  • They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
  • They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
  • They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.

Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.

Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use

The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.

Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.

Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers

Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.

Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.

Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy

Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:

  • Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
  • Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  • Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.

You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.

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