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Bristol Energy “is in it for the social good”

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Bristol Energy, the first municipal energy company in the South West and one of the first in the country, is open for business. The energy supply company was created by Bristol City Council in 2015 to be a force for social good.  It is leading the way as a new model of energy company that contributes to the wellbeing of local communities.

With a fundamental belief in social responsibility, Bristol Energy will reinvest profits back into its founding city, supporting council services to citizens and community projects. The company is looking to support local renewable energy generators and to link with initiatives with a shared ethos across the city and region.

Although the social benefits of the company will be focused on Bristol’s heartland, Bristol Energy is for people across Great Britain. Offering competitive tariffs and great customer service, the company is also working to address accessibility. It will be looking to reach out to communities locally, but will also be offering tailored products and services to suit its broad range of national customers. Bristol Energy is being kicked off with a fairly priced one year fixed tariff and standard variable tariff. New socially motivated tariffs will follow in 2016.

Managing Director, Peter Haigh, said: “This is a new era for the sector, and Bristol Energy is proud to set itself apart from other energy companies as a force for social good. We believe that energy customers, businesses and communities deserve something better, now and into the future – and this means doing things differently. I really believe people will want to get behind us. We have to pay energy bills anyway, so why not pay them to a company that will spend the profits on local services and projects?

“Our growing Bristol Energy team has worked incredibly hard to get us to the point where people can make a no-fuss switch to us through our website. One of our next steps will be to find ways to help the least advantaged energy consumers through our products and services and to build partnerships with local renewable generators. In the longer term, I can’t wait to see the difference our profits will make to local Bristol communities.”

Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson, said: “I am now switching my electricity and gas supply to Bristol Energy – it could not be easier – just a few clicks.

“By switching, people become part of this very special initiative that could really make a difference to the lives of Bristol’s citizens. I’m proud to be one of them and would like to thank all current and future customers for helping to make us a more resilient city while helping themselves to a better deal!”

Bristol Energy customer Simon Bird considered switching when he moved into his flat in South Bristol 18 months ago.

“I was keen to switch suppliers when we moved but have waited for Bristol Energy to come online as I fully believe in the profits being kept in the city.  To me this makes total sense.

“So far the process has been really straightforward and I’m recommending to my landlord that he looks at Bristol Energy for all his tenants.  I should be saving a quarter of my annual bill by switching to Bristol Energy so it’s definitely worth it.”

Peter Haigh added: “Around 40,000 households in Bristol have never switched supplier before, and so are likely to be paying higher standard variable tariffs. Looking at prices in early February, the average dual fuel customer in Bristol who has never switched can expect to save at least £276 on their annual energy bill by signing up to our one year fixed tariff, choosing to pay by direct debit and to receive bills online. This could mean savings of around £11m across the city!”

“Bristol Energy’s ethos is built upon values of fairness and equality. Our customers can also expect great customer service, with those in Bristol and the South West able to meet our customer care team face-to-face later this year.”

To find out more about Bristol Energy, or to switch, please visit: www.bristol-energy.co.uk.

Energy

Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?

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The revolution in the energy sector marches on, wind turbines and solar panels are harnessing more renewable energy than ever before – so where is it all leading?

The UK government have recently announced plans to modernise the way we produce, store and use electricity. And, if realised, the plans could be just the thing to bring the energy sector in line with 21st century technology and ideologies.

Central to the plans is an initiative that will see smart meters installed in homes and businesses the length and breadth of the country – and their aim? To create an environment where electricity can be managed more efficiently.

The news has prompted some speculation about how energy suppliers will react and many are predicting a price war. This could benefit consumers of electricity and investors, many of whom may be looking to make a profit by trading energy company shares online using platforms such as Oanda – but the potential for good news doesn’t end there.

Introducing New Technology

The plan, titled Smart Systems and Flexibility is being rolled out in the hope that it will have a positive impact in three core areas.

  • To offer consumers greater control by making smart meters available for all homes and businesses by 2020. Energy users will be able to monitor, control and record the amount of energy they use.
  • Incentivise energy suppliers to change the manner in which they buy electricity, to offer more smart tariffs and more off-peak periods for energy consumption.
  • Introduce new standards for electrical appliances – it is hoped that the new wave of appliances will recognise when electricity is at its cheapest and at its most expensive and respond accordingly.

How the Plans Will Affect Solar Energy

Around 7 million houses in the UK have solar panels and the government say that their plan will benefit them as they will be able to store electricity on batteries. The stored energy can then be used by the household and excess energy can be exported to the national grid – in this instance lower tariffs or even payment for the excess energy will bring down annual costs significantly.

The rate of return on energy exported to the national grid is currently between 6% and 10%, but there are many variables to take into account, such as, the cost of battery storage and light levels. Still, those with state-of-the-art solar electricity systems could end up with an annual profit after selling their excess energy.

The Internet of Things

Much of what the plans set out to achieve are linked to the now ubiquitous “internet of things” – where, for example, appliances and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to make them function more smartly.

Companies like Hive have already made great inroads into this type of technology, but the road that the government plans are heading down, will, potentially, go much further -blockchain technology looms and has already proved to be a game changer in the world of currency.

Blockchain Technology

It has already been suggested that the peer to peer selling of energy and exporting it to the national grid may eventually be done using blockchain technology.

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (2016)

The upshot of the government’s plans for the revolution of the energy sector, is that technology will play an indelible role in making it more efficient, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable.

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Energy

4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy

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Demand for solar energy is growing at a surprising rate. New figures from SolarPower Europe show that solar energy production has risen 50% since the summer of 2016.

However, many people are still skeptical of the benefits of solar energy.Does it actually make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint? Is it actually cost-effective for the company over the long-run?

A number of case studies have been conducted, which indicate solar energy can be enormously beneficial. Here are some of the most compelling studies on the subject.

1.     Boulder Nissan

When you think of companies that leverage solar power, car dealerships probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind. However, Boulder Nissan is highly committed to promoting green energy. They worked with Independent Power Systems to setup a number of solar cells. Here were the results:

  • Boulder Nissan has reduced coal generated electricity by 65%.
  • They are on track to run on 100% renewable energy within the next 13 years.
  • Boulder Nissan reduced CO2 emissions by 416,000 lbs. within the first year after installing their solar panels.

This is one of the most impressive solar energy case studies a small business has published in recent years. It shows that even small companies in rural communities can make a major difference by adapting solar energy.

2.     Valley Electric Association

In 2015, the Valley Electric Association (VEA) created an 80-acre solar garden. Before retiring from the legislature, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised the new project as a way to make the state more energy dependent and reduce our carbon footprint.

“This facility will provide its customers with the opportunity to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy produced in Nevada,” Reid told reporters with the Pahrump Valley Times. “That’s a step forward for the Silver State, but it also proves that utilities can work with customers to provide clean renewable energy that they demand.”

The solar energy that VEA produced was drastically higher than anyone would have predicted. SolarWorld estimates that the solar garden created 32,680,000 kwh every year, which was enough to power nearly 4,000 homes.

This was a major undertaking for a purple state, which may inspire their peers throughout the Midwest to develop solar gardens of their own. It will reduce dependency on the electric grid, which is a problem for many remote states in the central part of the country.

3.     Las Vegas Casinos

A number of Las Vegas casinos have started investing in solar panels over the last couple of years. The Guardian reports that many of these casinos have cut costs considerably. Some of them are even selling the energy back to the grid.

“It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts told Guardian reporters. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”

There have been many benefits for casinos using solar energy. They are some of the most energy-intensive institutions in the world, so this has helped them become much more cost-effective. It also helps minimize disruptions to their customers learning online keno strategies in the event of any problems with the electric grid.

4.     Boston College

Boston College has been committed to many green initiatives over the years. A group of researchers experimented with solar cells on different parts of the campus to see where they could produce the most electricity. They discovered that the best locationwas at St. Clement’sHall. The solar cells there dramatically. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 521,702 lbs. a year and be enough to save 10,869 trees.

Boston College is exploring new ways to expand their usage of solar cells. They may be able to invest in more effective solar panels that can generate far more solar energy.

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