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Economy

Groundbreaking schemes honoured at South West Green Energy Awards

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On Wednesday night, the south west’s green energy industry gathered at a glittering awards’ ceremony in Bath sponsored by British Solar Renewables to showcase and celebrate the companies, projects and individuals at the forefront of the region’s growing renewable energy industry.

More than 100 companies entered the twelfth annual South West Green Energy Awards, organised by Regen SW.  But last night it was all about the finalists, as seven category winners were announced by awards’ host Matt Harvey poet and writer.

The winners, which represent the very best examples of sustainable energy in the south west were:

BEST BUSINESS INNOVATION: Energy Local Limited

LEAD JUDGE: Sara Bell, Tempus Energy

BEST COMMUNITY INITIATIVE: TRESOC

LEAD JUDGE: Emma Bridge, Community Energy England, sponsored by SSEPD

BEST RENEWABLE ENERGY SCHEME: Wiltshire Wildlife Community Energy

LEAD JUDGE: Nicola Waters, Primrose Solar, sponsored by Naturesave

INSTALLER OR SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR: sungift Energy (Exeter)

LEAD JUDGE: Alan John, Osborne Clarke

MOST PROACTIVE PUBLIC SECTOR BODY: Cornwall Council

LEAD JUDGE: Lord Robin Teverson, sponsored by Ashfords

SW SUSTAINABLE ENERGY CHAMPION: Andrew Garrad (Bristol)

LEAD JUDGE: David Charlesworth, The Crown Estate sponsored by The Crown Estate

BEST ENERGY EFFICIENCY SCHEME  –  Devon and Cornwall Housing Ltd

LEAD JUDGE: Steve Edwards, Wales and West Utilities Ltd

“Since we launched the awards in 2004 we have seen exceptional growth in the south west sustainable energy industry which now generates 15 per cent of our electricity and supports 13,000 jobs,” said Merlin Hyman, chief executive of Regen SW, which organises the awards.  “From a fledgling industry 12 years ago, we now have world-leading renewable energy companies in the south west.”

He continued “I hope this showcase of great companies and inspiring community energy groups will help persuade the government to think again about their proposals for drastic reductions in support for renewables.”

The winners were chosen from a high-quality shortlist of entrants from across the region by an independent panel of expert judges (see above).

THE WINNERS: PROJECT DETAILS

BEST BUSINESS INNOVATION: Energy Local Limited

Social enterprise Energy Local aims to transform, bottom up, the electricity market for communities and small-scale renewables in the UK. They aim to do this by allowing communities to pool their generation and match this to local demand through a local community energy services company and then only purchase from a supplier the extra energy needed.

BEST COMMUNITY INITIATIVE: TRESOC, sponsored by SSEPD

TRESOC initiated the Shine Project with South Devon Rural Housing Association (SDRHA) and Beco Energy Solutions. The goal is to put as much solar PV as is feasible on social housing roofs in and around Totnes; to provide power to local households, reduce their electricity bills and open up the conversation about the real need for and benefits of clean energy.

BEST RENEWABLE ENERGY SCHEME: Wiltshire Wildlife Community Energy, sponsored by Naturesave

Braydon Manor Solar Farm is a community led project with a projected annual output of just under 5 MW – enough to provide energy for about 1,400 homes, saving 2,500 tonnes of carbon. The site is grade four grassland and over the 25 years of the project they plan to turn it into a wildflower meadow to act as a biodiversity bank within the designated Braydon Forest Project.

INSTALLER OR SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR: sungift Energy

Sungift has demonstrated high-quality service in 2014/2015, putting customer satisfaction before profit and growing their domestic and commercial business. Sungift Energy also went on to win the 2014 Solar Power Portal UK Installer of the Year and have seen a 547 per cent increase in turnover for commercial sales on the same 12 month period last year.

MOST PROACTIVE PUBLIC SECTOR BODY: Cornwall Council, sponsored by Ashfords

Cornwall Council’s Future Economy Programme provides funding and support to help unlock the value of the sustainable energy sector for Cornwall. It has delivered: over 600 MW of sustainable energy; funding for 19 community energy groups; the UK’s first comprehensive local planning framework for community energy projects; 3,000 home retrofits; over £10 million in community benefits and £500,000 in savings for residents through collective switching.

SW SUSTAINABLE ENERGY CHAMPION: Andrew Garrad, sponsored by The Crown Estate

Dr Andrew Garrad has demonstrated complete and unwavering support for the renewable energy sector over the past 30 years. In 1984 Andrew co-founded the Bristol based consultancy firm, Garrad Hassan, which became the largest renewable energy consultancy in the world and twice won the Queen’s Award for International Enterprise. In 2015 he has put huge effort into leading Bristol’s year as European Green Capital.

To view information on all of the finalists, click here.

 

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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