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All power forms receive constraint payments, not just wind

An article in the Daily Telegraph claimed that households were wasting millions on constraint payments to “redundant” wind farms. But Alex Blackburne explains how its reporting is likely to be blurred with preconceived notions about the industry.  

The Daily Telegraph is notorious for scaremongering the wind power sector. The newspaper continued its gripe with the industry last week by running a story about constraint payments.



An article in the Daily Telegraph claimed that households were wasting millions on constraint payments to “redundant” wind farms. But Alex Blackburne explains how its reporting is likely to be blurred with preconceived notions about the industry.  

The Daily Telegraph is notorious for scaremongering the wind power sector. The newspaper continued its gripe with the industry last week by running a story about constraint payments.

It claims that the Government had admitted that “householders paid out £24m last year to wind farm owners who had to switch off their turbines because the conditions meant they could not operate”.

Whilst this did happen, it doesn’t show the whole picture.

All forms of power generation receive constraint payments from National Grid if they’re told to switch off to avoid the Grid being flooded with too much power”, explained Robert Norris, head of communications at RenewableUK.

National Grid states that the entire cost of the Balancing Mechanism, which ensured a constant power supply and includes constraint payments, was £708 million for the financial year 2010/11 – most of which went to coal and gas.

So it’s important that the public should be told how much more these other forms of power generation receive in constraint payments – only a small proportion goes to wind in comparison.”

Under the headline, Householders waste £24 million subsidising redundant wind farms, you’d expect anything below to be a scathing attack on the industry.

Yet the Telegraph actually provide a logical answer, through energy minister Charles Hendry, who then questions the profitability of the renewables industry.

He said, “About £250m were paid last year in constraint payments of which only 10%, £24m, were paid to the wind sector.

The Government… is trying to ensure that there are upgrades in many parts of the country to ensure the power can get to where it needs to be.

Millions are being blown because it is too windy. I am a supporter of the Government intentions to increase renewable energy but it does seem daft because wind farm owners are having to be compensated when they are turned off”.

The Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), according to its website, “[promotes] sustainable development for the benefit of the public by means of energy conservation and the use of renewable energy”.

But, the organisation is irrefutably anti-wind. It has also spoken out over the supposedly secret” payments to the wind industry.

Last year, Business Green asked Who are the Renewable Energy Foundation?.

They are not a Foundation for Renewable Energy, as their name says and as any reasonable personwould conclude from their name – they actually exist to undermine Renewable Energy“, answered Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity.

It’s made for the anti-wind newspapers of course, like the Daily Mail and the Telegraph, who can quote from this organisation that appears, from their very name, to be all about supporting Renewable energy – adding weight to their anti-wind stance in print“.

What do you expect, though, from an organisation founded by Noel ‘Deal or No Deal’ Edmonds? No, really.

Calling for transparency over constraint payments, John Constable, director of REF, said, “The introduction of opaque trading arrangements to manage wind power is a very unwelcome step in the wrong direction and must be reversed without delay.

It is time for the regulator, Ofgem, to do its job and step in to protect the consumer interest by ensuring that the UK’s electricity markets become more transparent not less”.

But Norris of RenewableUK, the trade and professional body for the UK wind industry, took REF’s words with nothing but a pinch of salt.

Figures from the Renewable Energy Foundation have to be scrutinised carefully as this is an anti-wind industry campaign group, not an independent body”, he said.

Reports like this don’t deter growth in the sector as the anti-green energy campaign groups have been making statements like this for some time, and the deployment of wind energy has increased steadily year on year despite their comments”.

In an age in which renewable energy is widely and rightly considered the saviour of our planet, such outright antagonism from supposedly esteemed sources is baffling.

A quick Google search for ‘renewable energy’ brings up hundreds of trade bodies and media outlets that do support the development of renewables, clearly showing that the anti-wind lot are firmly in the minority.

Therefore, continued investment in these technologies is imperative if we are to achieve a blue and green tomorrow.

Ask your financial adviser or fill in our form. It’s undoubtedly the smart, logical choice.


Road Trip! How to Choose the Greenest Vehicle for Your Growing Family



Greenest Vehicle
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When you have a growing family, it often feels like you’re in this weird bubble that exists outside of mainstream society. Whereas everyone else seemingly has stability, your family dynamic is continuously in flux. Having said that, is it even possible to buy an eco-friendly vehicle that’s also practical?

What to Look for in a Green, Family-Friendly Vehicle?

As a single person or young couple without kids, it’s pretty easy to buy a green vehicle. Almost every leading car brand has eco-friendly options these days and you can pick from any number of options. The only problem is that most of these models don’t work if you have kids.

Whether it’s a Prius or Smart car, most green vehicles are impractical for large families. You need to look for options that are spacious, reliable, and comfortable – both for passengers and the driver.

5 Good Options

As you do your research and look for different opportunities, it’s good to have an open mind. Here are some of the greenest options for growing families:

1. 2014 Chrysler Town and Country

Vans are not only popular for the room and comfort they offer growing families, but they’re also becoming known for their fuel efficiency. For example, the 2014 Chrysler Town and Country – which was one of CarMax’s most popular minivans of 2017 – has Flex Fuel compatibility and front wheel drive. With standard features like these, you can’t do much better at this price point.

2. 2017 Chrysler Pacifica

If you’re looking for a newer van and are willing to spend a bit more, you can go with Chrysler’s other model, the Pacifica. One of the coolest features of the 2017 model is the hybrid drivetrain. It allows you to go up to 30 miles on electric, before the vehicle automatically switches over to the V6 gasoline engine. For short trips and errands, there’s nothing more eco-friendly in the minivan category.

3. 2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Who says you have to buy a minivan when you have a family? Sure, the sliding doors are nice, but there are plenty of other options that are both green and spacious. The new Volkswagen Atlas is a great choice. It’s one of the most fuel-efficient third-row vehicles on the market. The four-cylinder model gets an estimated 26 mpg highway.

4. 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

While a minivan or SUV is ideal – and necessary if you have more than two kids – you can get away with a roomy sedan when you still have a small family. And while there are plenty of eco-friendly options in this category, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is arguably the biggest bang for your buck. It gets 38 mpg on the highway and is incredibly affordable.

5. 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel

If money isn’t an object and you’re able to spend any amount to get a good vehicle that’s both comfortable and eco-friendly, the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel is your car. Not only does it get 28 mpg highway, but it can also be equipped with a third row of seats and a diesel engine. And did we mention that this car looks sleek?

Putting it All Together

You have a variety of options. Whether you want something new or used, would prefer an SUV or minivan, or want something cheap or luxurious, there are plenty of choices on the market. The key is to do your research, remain patient, and take your time. Don’t get too married to a particular transaction, or you’ll lose your leverage.

You’ll know when the right deal comes along, and you can make a smart choice that’s functional, cost-effective, and eco-friendly.

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How Climate Change Altered this Engineer’s Life



how climate change affect our lives
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Living the life of an engineer likely sounds pretty glamorous: you are educated and highly regarded, typically have high paying gigs, and with the breadth of knowledge and array of fields of specialty, your possibility for jobs is usually immense.  But what if there was something else that needed your attention? Something bigger than just being an engineer, going to work every day and doing the same technical tasks typically associated with the profession?

For Kevin McCroary, that is exactly how it played out.  A successful engineer, gainfully employed in a prosperous job, a simple trip to the Philippines made him see that there was a bigger issue at hand than using his engineer training in a traditional profession.  This bigger issue was that of climate change.  And working as a volunteer for underprivileged children in the Philippines, he saw first-hand the extensive pollution and poverty that existed here and that impacted the livelihood of these kids and their families.

Upon returning home, from his trip to the Philippines he had a new perspective of the impact we as individuals and as humanity have on the earth, and more than that Kevin wanted to know more.  He started to do some research and study these human-environmental interactions, and shortly thereafter ended up in Greenland.  There, he spoke to a man who had lost his home in a tsunami, and, who, through consistent weather tracking could indeed confirm that the current weather trends were “strange:” there was undeniably a general warming tendency happening in the arctic, causing an array of negative effects.

The combination of these observations, as well as his own research, led Kevin to conclude that something had to be done.  With that in mind, he launched his project Legend Bracelet.  The mission is simple: create a reminder of the legacy we are leaving behind.  As individuals and as humanity, we are leaving behind an imprint on the earth, and the magnitude of it is something that needs to be brought to the forefront of public awareness.  The idea is to have a bracelet that can serve as a daily reminder of the impact on the earth that each of us can have every day, regardless of how big or small.  The bracelet has two capsules: the first is filled with sand or earth, and the second is empty.  As the owner, you are to fill the empty one with your own earth, carrying it with you as a reminder and symbol of your connection and commitment to helping look after our environment.

We are all impacted by climate change, and we all have a responsibility to help.  And it can start with something as simple as putting on a bracelet.  Support Kevin on his Kickstarter campaign for Legend Bracelet, tell others about it, or take action in your own way and play your part in slowing down the effects of climate change.  You may think “but I’m just one person!” You are indeed.  But so is he.  Every change starts with one.

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