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‘Big six’ lacking in renewables investment

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A Greenpeace report has slammed the investment trends of the UK’s ‘big six’ energy providers, saying that there is not enough emphasis on clean power.

The research, which was written by Bloomberg and released in the form of a report called UK Big 6 Utility Investment Trends, found that £13 billion has been put towards new electricity generating infrastructure by the ‘big six’ since 2006, but over half has gone towards new gas plants.

This trend echoes an allegiance to gas voiced by George Osborne in his budget statement last month, who said, “Gas is cheap, has much less carbon than coal and will be the largest single source of our electricity in the coming years”.

However, back in December, the Committee on Climate Change cited gas as the very reason why consumer energy bills had risen so dramatically, and that renewable energy wasn’t to blame.

Last month, research by Friends of the Earth predicted that the number of gas-fired power stations was in fact going to double, further cementing the Government’s “dash for gas” as the solution to our rising energy needs.

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace, said, “This new analysis shows that little money has been spent to get energy prices under control or to secure a clean energy supply for the UK.

Instead they’ve been investing heavily in gas plants that are likely to drive up household bills, increase our trade deficit, and undermine David Cameron’s carbon reduction plan.”

The worst culprit out of the six providers, according to Greenpeace, was Centrica (trading in the UK as British Gas), which had invested “very little” in any kind of energy infrastructure.

Instead”, Sauven said, “[it] have just lined [its] own pockets.

It’s this kind of short-termism that the Government is going to have to tackle in the autumn when the expected Energy Bill appears.”

EDF Energy and E.ON had similarly both displayed a significant lack of investment initiative, whilst the remaining three—Npower, SSE and in particular, Scottish Power—had performed reasonably better, and contributed £9.7 billion to the total.

Ed Gill, head of external affairs at Good Energy, the UK’s only 100% renewable electricity supplier, told Blue & Green Tomorrow: What’s clear from the report is that it is new market entrants who are going to do much of the heavy lifting required to meet our renewables targets; the big six simply aren’t up to the job.

The planned feed-in tariff Contract for Difference is a very poor instrument for attracting those investors, because it’s so complex and inaccessible.

It might be fine in theory, but it just leaves too many people scratching their heads, including those inside DECC (Department for Energy and Climate Change).

It’s high time the Government ditched the policy and went for a simpler, more straightforward solution instead.”

Perhaps the most disturbing fact that comes out of Greenpeace’s report is that small solar PV owners in the UK, including households, are jointly responsible for owning more renewable energy infrastructure than any of the ‘big six’ companies, which despite having a 70% total generation share, only produce 47% of renewables.

The real message that emerges from the study, though, is the need for a more varied and forward thinking energy sector.

That’s why companies like Good Energy are so important to the future of the UK’s economy: because they, and many other clean energy-centred providers, are actively promoting renewably sourced power not only for the good of the planet, but for the good of its people and prosperity.

Our recent in-depth report, The Rise of Renewable Energy, explains in more detail about the importance of a wide scale shift to renewables.

Further reading:

Renewables not to blame for UK energy bill price hike

Energy companies accused of profiteering and infiltration

Economy

Report: Green, Ethical and Socially Responsible Finance

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“The level of influence that ethical considerations have over consumer selection of financial services products and services is minimal, however, this is beginning to change. Younger consumers are more willing to pay extra for products provided by socially responsible companies.” Jessica Morley, Mintel’s Financial Services Analyst.

Consumer awareness of the impact consumerism has on society and the planet is increasing. In addition, the link between doing good and feeling good has never been clearer. Just 19% of people claim to not participate in any socially responsible activities.

As a result, the level of attention that people pay to the green and ethical claims made by products and providers is also increasing, meaning that such considerations play a greater role in the purchasing decision making process.

However, this is less true in the context of financial services, where people are much more concerned about the performance of a product rather than green and ethical factors. This is not to say, however, that they are not interested in the behaviour of financial service providers or in gaining more information about how firms behave responsibly.

This report focuses on why these consumer attitudes towards financial services providers exist and how they are changing. This includes examination of the wider economy and the current structure of the financial services sector.

Mintel’s exclusive consumer research looks at consumer participation in socially responsible activities, trust in the behaviour of financial services companies and attitudes towards green, ethical and socially responsible financial services products and providers. The report also considers consumer attitudes towards the social responsibilities of financial services firms and the green, ethical and socially responsible nature of new entrants.

There are some elements missing from this report, such as conducting socially responsible finance with OTC trading. We will cover these other topics in more detail in the future. You can research about Ameritrade if you want to know more ..

By this report today: call: 0203 416 4502 | email: iainooson[at]mintel.com

Report contents:

OVERVIEW
What you need to know
Report definition
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The market
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
The consumer
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Competition from technology companies
Financial services firms perceived to be some of the least socially responsible
Repaying the social debt
Consumer trust is built on evidence
What we think
ISSUES AND INSIGHTS
Creating a more inclusive economy
The facts
The implications
Payments innovation helps fundraising go digital
The facts
The implications
The social debt of the financial crisis
The facts
The implications
THE MARKET – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
PUTTING FINANCIAL SERVICES IN AN ETHICAL CONTEXT
An ethical economy
An ethical financial sector
Ethical financial services providers
GREEN, ETHICAL AND SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ISSUES IN FINANCIAL SERVICES
The role of investing
Divestment
The change potential of pensions
The role of trust
Greater transparency informs decisions
Learning from past mistakes
The role of innovation
Payments innovation: Improving financial inclusion
Competition from new entrants
The power of new money
The role of the consumer
Consumers empowered to make a change
Aligning products with self
THE CONSUMER – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
For financial products, performance is more important than ethics
Financial services firms perceived to be some of the least socially responsible
Competition from technology companies
Repaying the social debt
Consumer trust is built on evidence
Overall trust levels are high
THE ETHICAL CONSUMER – SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ACTIVITIES
Payments innovation can boost charitable donations
Consumer engagement in socially responsible activities is high
Healthier finances make it easier to go green
SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE COMPANIES
37% unable to identify socially responsible companies
Building societies seen to be more responsible than banks….
….whilst short-term loan companies are at the bottom of the pile
CONSUMER TRUST IN THE BEHAVIOUR OF FINANCIAL SERVICES COMPANIES
Overall trust levels are high
Tax avoidance remains a major concern
The divestment movement
Nationwide significantly more trusted
Trust levels remain high
CONSUMER ATTITUDES TOWARDS GREEN AND ETHICAL FINANCIAL PRODUCTS
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Socially conscious consumers are more concerned
CONSUMER ATTITUDES TOWARDS TRANSPARENCY
Strategy reports provide little insight for consumers
Lack of clarity regarding corporate culture causes concern
Consumers want more information
THE ROLE OF FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRMS IN SOCIETY
The social debt of the financial crisis
THE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRMS
For consumers, financial services firms play larger economic role
Promoting financial responsibility
CHALLENGER COMPANIES AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Consumer trust is built on evidence
The alternative opportunity
The target customer

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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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