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Energy UK faces criticism over calls for EU-wide changes

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Energy UK has used the recent European election results to call for changes to the energy agenda and a move away from an “emotion driven and expensive” plan. The organisation argues that energy suppliers are often blamed for price increases that are a result of green and social policies, but its comments have been criticised by the renewables industry.

Eurosceptic parties Ukip and the National Front triumphed in the UK and France European election polls with over a quarter of the votes each. Energy UK argues that the election shows that there is a shift needed in how energy decisions are made.

The lobby group will make its case to 500 leaders from the electricity industry across the European Union at the Eurelectric convention in London, which it co-hosts.

Angela Knight, CEO of Energy UK, said, “It is a week and a day since the European elections which clearly demonstrated how people’s view of the European Union both here and a number of other countries, has changed. One outcome has to be that the EU energy policy can no longer be decided without sensible timetables and ignoring the reality that people have to pay for these decisions.

“We have an opportunity in the energy industry to get fact based, logic based, properly costed and sensible EU policy-making and to encourage a move away from an emotion and expensive agenda.”

In her opening speech at the conference, Knight said that many of those operating in the energy industry are blamed for price increases, when in fact some are a result of policy making, taxation or green and social agendas.

Whilst she noted that there was more suppliers could do to serve their customers in a cost effective and transparent way, she added that price increases also come from other sources.

“Equally, the billions of pounds and billions of Euros that are required to build renewable generation, the back-up that intermittent generation requires, put in place capacity mechanism, invest in the network and more all add to the customer bills as do those social costs and the inevitable taxation,” Knight said.

The organisation also acknowledged that in the UK the public favours renewable energy generation, but it argued that they do not want to pay for it. As a result of this, the industry is faced with a trilemma, Energy UK said, as it needs to meet climate change goals, improve energy security and ensure affordability.

The renewables industry has criticised the comments, arguing that renewable energy offers a sustainable solution to the problems we are currently facing.

Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association, commented, “There’s nothing emotional about the move to renewable energy. Renewables contribute to all three aspects of the energy trilemma. We all know they reduce carbon emissions to limit climate change risks, but they also help reduce our reliance out reliance on unstable gas sources too.”

She added that experience in Germany and the US showed that large utility firms that are adapting to renewables are more financially secure.

Last week, the European commission set out plans to improve energy security in the EU and address dependence on Russian gas. The strategy faced criticism for its focus on fossil fuels instead of renewables and energy efficiency.

Photo: meltingdog via Freeimages

Further reading:

European commission sets out future energy strategy

Local and European elections: energy and climate preview

Infographic: renewable energy in Europe

EU urged to set 2030 renewable energy target

Just three EU countries in track to meet energy efficiency targets

Energy

7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption

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Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?

Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.

New Technologies to Watch

These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:

  1. Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
  2. Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
  3. New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
  4. Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
  5. Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
  6. The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
  7. Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.

Making the Investment

All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.

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Energy

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

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Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/nivens

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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