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Economy

Investment Needed To Reduce Referendum Energy Risk Experts Warn

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Visible light by sweethaa via Flkr

Former head of RWE npower, Paul Massara, World Energy Trilemma, Joan McNaughton, Executive Chair, World Energy Council and Hugo Chandler, Director at New Resource Partners, reveal their thoughts ahead of published reports from the National Grid.

Commenting ahead of reports this week from National Grid, on UK electricity margins for this winter and on future energy scenarios, Hugo Chandler, Director at New Resource Partners, said that National Grid has the tools to address concerns over generation-related blackouts.

“There’s been a lot of crying wolf over blackouts given that the UK has only seen one in the past 10 years that was due to issues with generation. Just for comparison, transmission and distribution faults cause around a quarter of a million power cuts across Britain every year. And although people get quite excited over grid management measures such as NISMs, the reality is that they’re needed much less frequently than in the past,” he said.

National Grid has the tools to tackle the tight margins this winter, but that doesn’t mean we should hold off investing in cheaper, smarter and cleaner ways of balancing the grid right now.

The immediate opportunity lies in demand-side response, which the Government and big consumers want but which isn’t yet properly incentivised. Ultimately demand response means fewer new peaking plants, avoiding the price tag that comes with that and less of a burden on bills for consumers and businesses.”

Joan McNaughton, World Energy Trilemma Executive Chair, World Energy Council, said that the UK power system is in a transitional period.

“The UK, like almost every other major economy, is on a journey from an old-fashioned baseload-heavy system to a more flexible, cleaner future. But the UK lacks a clear plan for getting from A to B, and stability and clarity are paramount right now. The capacity market is a short-term fix, but energy infrastructure has a long lifespan and the UK needs to start building a smarter grid now to keep bills and carbon emissions down,” she said.

“Energy business leaders and investors need to have confidence in the coherence and longevity of the overall package of what is proposed. Such a strategic approach would see us emerge from this transitional period into a future where subsidies are no longer needed and flexible technologies compete in a free market economy; muddling through and back-tracking will not.”

Paul Massara, CEO North Star Solar and former CEO of RWE npower, agreed that the Government needs to take strategic decisions to develop a power system fit for the 21st Century.

“If we’re going to continue having a reliable electricity system in this country, there’s a real need for government to give investors long-term clarity. Unfortunately, we’ve had several years of disjointed and incoherent policy, and the referendum has rocked an already unsteady boat,” he said.

“It’s very unlikely that the lights will go out this winter, but we’re dealing with a lot of old, creaking kit and the Government needs to start taking strategic decisions if we’re to replace it in a sensible manner. The aim must be to ensure we’re building a clean, smart power system that’s fit for the 21st Century, and all policy measures need to start pointing in that direction.

“The National Infrastructure Commission and the Energy UK Pathways 2030 report both support smart grids, battery storage and demand side management. What we we need now is a coherent energy policy to these, otherwise we’ll continue to stumble from one short-term stopgap measure to another – which will inevitably push costs upwards.

“Hinkley remains the wrong technology and is hugely expense – a bad deal for consumers and businesses alike. The Government should end this tortuous process and instead focus on wind, solar, storage and demand side management.”

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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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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