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Hayes omits onshore wind in keynote renewables address



John Hayes delivered a keynote speech at a renewables event in Lincolnshire yesterday, but failed to reassure the industry that the government is fully behind further development of established clean energy technologies such as onshore wind.

The energy minister was speaking at Green Energy Lincs, a conference that brought together some of the biggest names in the county’s renewable energy industry.

Delivering a talk at the beginning of the day, Hayes focused on renewables, energy generally and how the government plans on creating sufficient light and heat to meet demand.

It would not be unreasonable to say that 20 years ago, we knew that we had an ageing infrastructure and we knew that we would need to invest very heavily in order to meet demand in new plants, but unfortunately, deferment and delay has characterised strategic thinking on energy for too long”, he said.

That has left us in a situation where we now need to take speedy action, simply to ensure that demand meets supply.

You can be assured that this government will take just such speedy action and I hope that you will, when you see the energy bill, recognise that that action is designed for clarity, consistency and certainty, and sufficient to deliver confidence, which will lead to investment.”

The clarity, consistency and certainty mentioned by Hayes are facets that the renewable energy industry has lacked in recent months. The government has cut the feed-in tariff rate for domestic solar installations on a number of occasions, showed instability with regards to the Renewables Obligation and so far failed to live up to its pre-election claims of being the “greenest government ever”.

Meanwhile, Hayes’ involvement in an alleged Conservative anti-wind strategy in the recent Corby by-election raised questions over government policy into onshore wind. And on top of this, David Cameron has failed to show the kind of leadership needed in delivering a sustainable economic recovery.

However, in his speech at Green Energy Lincs, Hayes outlined the important role that clean energy must play in the UK’s energy mix.

It is inconceivable that the whole of our energy needs could be met by renewable technology, just as it’s inconceivable that renewables would not play a part is the sort of balanced mix that I’ve made the case for today”, he said.

The UK has many strengths, and to take just one example, our coastline lends itself towards wave and tidal resources at a level at which many countries with rather different geography would be rather jealous. We must make use of that potential.

And as well as contributing to the energy mix, and our wider objectives, renewable energy is a clear growth sector, making a significant economic and employment contribution.

We know that renewables, particularly offshore wind, provide significant opportunities for growth and jobs, including in an associated supply chain.”

These claims would be strongly opposed by the Offshore Valuation, which in a report found that just 29% of “practical offshore renewable resources” could account for the equivalent of one billion barrels of oil. Therefore a wholly renewable future is in fact conceivable; but policy and investment remain stumbling blocks.

After Hayes was slapped down by Lib Dem energy secretary Ed Davey for comments he made in the press about onshore wind development, it was perhaps predictable that the minister chose to omit any mention of the technology in his speech. Indeed, he only mentioned offshore wind three times.

However, in a brief question and answer session, he was asked by Michael Parker of RWE Npower Renewables whether he’d had any feedback on his comments, and if so, whether that feedback had been targeted on the creation of the subsequent “backdrop of uncertainty” within the onshore wind sector.

Hayes tiptoed around the question and instead responded by highlighting the ‘call for evidence’ issued by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) into the cost and community engagement, ownership and benefit of onshore wind.

He added, “I’m not going to comment on the specifics of any particular planning matters, locally or more widely, because that would be inappropriate, but I think it is critically important that we get a different kind of paradigm in terms of the way communities interface with energy.

And by the way, I don’t think it’s particular to a single kind of energy; I think it’s true across the whole range of infrastructural investments. Community engagement is critically important across several other kinds of renewables, and though our call for evidence is specifically on onshore wind, frankly some of the principles apply much more widely.”

Parker, who gave an overview of wind power in a speech later in the day, posed a further question to Hayes. He asked, “Given that your own department’s figures state that well over 60% of people are in favour of onshore wind, and that we are looking to work increasingly closely with local communities, it very is a very vocal minority that tend to shape decision-makers’ views and opinions. How would you suggest that the industry tries to overcome some of those issues?

In response, the energy minister said, “The planning system is very local and very particular. Obviously I’m very familiar with this not only as a local MP but also as a former member of a local authority, and inevitably, we looked at each case on a case-by-case basis, and whilst these polls are interesting, you’ll know very well from your own business perspective, it’s actually what applies in the local circumstance that really matters.

The local authorities will make these decisions ultimately in particular places, and their engagement in this is critically important.”

Hayes’ ominous comments on onshore wind in particular will struggle to reassure those in the industry that the coalition government is fully behind its further development, so it is left to the energy bill, which the minister said will “create sufficient certainty to underpin investor confidence”, to outline the role that renewable energy will play in the coming years.

Further reading:

John Hayes set for renewables showdown at Lincolnshire conference

Greenpeace investigation uncovers Tory anti-wind strategy

Coalition at loggerheads over energy minister’s wind comments

UK economy to get £25bn boost through renewables as Lib Dems stand firm

Why policy is the biggest stumbling block of all for renewable energy


Report: Green, Ethical and Socially Responsible Finance



“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]

Report contents:

What you need to know
Report definition
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
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
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
An ethical economy
An ethical financial sector
Ethical financial services providers
The role of investing
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
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
Payments innovation can boost charitable donations
Consumer engagement in socially responsible activities is high
Healthier finances make it easier to go green
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
Overall trust levels are high
Tax avoidance remains a major concern
The divestment movement
Nationwide significantly more trusted
Trust levels remain high
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Socially conscious consumers are more concerned
Strategy reports provide little insight for consumers
Lack of clarity regarding corporate culture causes concern
Consumers want more information
The social debt of the financial crisis
For consumers, financial services firms play larger economic role
Promoting financial responsibility
Consumer trust is built on evidence
The alternative opportunity
The target customer

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




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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