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An Industry Expert Has Stated Northern Powerhouse Should Take The Lead On Energy



An Industry Expert Has Stated Northern Powerhouse Should Take The Lead On Energy

The Northern Powerhouse must place itself at the centre of the UK’s energy innovation agenda by being the first region to lead major collaboration across the industry, according to Denise Massey, the Managing Director of the Energy Innovation Centre.

“Securing the UK’s future energy supplies is one of the most important issues on today’s political agenda with ramifications for everyone from the individual householder to the Ministry of Defence,” she said. “And it is only collaboration between the different sectors making up the energy industry – renewables, oil, gas, nuclear etc. – that could meet the challenges of the energy trilemma of energy security, energy access and affordability and lower carbon i.e., environmentally sustainable. Yet at the moment there seems to be little appetite for actually taking action on developing this collaborative approach nationally.

“The Government is open to new ideas and approaches where things are working well in order to inform the development of the national policy framework, but at the moment, those models are simply not there.

It’s all right here in the region

“This is where the Northern Powerhouse could come in. We’ve got an incredible asset base in terms of energy – nuclear, gas, electricity, renewables, offshore – and a comprehensive network of SMEs primed for innovation. It’s all right here in the region. We could provide a framework for how the different strands of the sector could work together and provide part of the blue print which could, over time, be rolled out nationally.”

There’s already appetite for this collaboration in the sector, says Massey. Mark Horsley, the CEO of the Northern Gas Network has already worked with consultancy KPMG on a ‘Powering the North’ report exploring these very issues. She will discuss this and more at the 2017 UK Northern Powerhouse International Conference and Exhibition in February at a dedicated session exploring the issue of ‘Powering the Powerhouse’ – focusing on energy in the north. Other speakers for this session include Andy Koss, the Chief Executive Officer of Drax Power and David Gill, Director of Stakeholder Relations, Northern Gas Networks.

Starting to work together, is, says Massey, the best way to reach if not a solution, the start of a solution, to an issue that affects all of us. “Cross-sector collaboration in the industry is challenging and almost too big a task to tackle nationally, but the Northern Powerhouse is ideally placed to start a shift towards a collaborative way of working by “thinking big, acting small.”

She continued: “What we need to do is paint the picture, plot the direction of travel, and then start taking those small steps that ensure we’re aligned and moving together in the right direction.” But collaboration is not easy and requires dedicated resource.

To do this, she said, energy businesses across the North and national and local government should explore the possibility of jointly funding a body to drive forward the agenda to achieve progress in this area. “Once organisations have some money invested and own the agenda, they’re much more likely to push for results,” she explained.

And there is, she said, precedent for this sort of collaboration in the work of the Energy Innovation Centre, which was launched in 2008 in order to accelerate the discovery, development and deployment of innovation among energy businesses.

This sort of collaboration, she said, is “not rocket science” but it does take commitment and dedicated effort of senior players in the industry and both local and national government. Now is the time for deeds, not words, and the Northern Powerhouse are in a great position to start taking the actions required.”

If we want incremental growth and change, businesses compete, but to achieve exponential growth and change, businesses need to collaborate.

The 2017 UK Northern Powerhouse International Conference and Exhibition event – which will be held in Manchester Central on 21 and 22 February and is expected to attract some 3,000 delegates over two days – is supported by Chief Executives from across the major cities of the North from Liverpool to Newcastle. It will feature sessions with the CEOs of major national businesses such as Nissan, Cisco and Stobart Group. International delegations are expected from India, Australia, China and the US.

The conference is one of the few events to attract delegates from across the entire range of sectors, with leading political, academic and business figures from across the North of England present.

Topics being addressed during the conference include manufacturing, transport and infrastructure, finance & delivery, devolution, competitiveness and productivity and energy.

For further information or to book tickets to the UK Northern Powerhouse International Conference and Exhibition please visit


Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?



The revolution in the energy sector marches on, wind turbines and solar panels are harnessing more renewable energy than ever before – so where is it all leading?

The UK government have recently announced plans to modernise the way we produce, store and use electricity. And, if realised, the plans could be just the thing to bring the energy sector in line with 21st century technology and ideologies.

Central to the plans is an initiative that will see smart meters installed in homes and businesses the length and breadth of the country – and their aim? To create an environment where electricity can be managed more efficiently.

The news has prompted some speculation about how energy suppliers will react and many are predicting a price war. This could benefit consumers of electricity and investors, many of whom may be looking to make a profit by trading energy company shares online using platforms such as Oanda – but the potential for good news doesn’t end there.

Introducing New Technology

The plan, titled Smart Systems and Flexibility is being rolled out in the hope that it will have a positive impact in three core areas.

  • To offer consumers greater control by making smart meters available for all homes and businesses by 2020. Energy users will be able to monitor, control and record the amount of energy they use.
  • Incentivise energy suppliers to change the manner in which they buy electricity, to offer more smart tariffs and more off-peak periods for energy consumption.
  • Introduce new standards for electrical appliances – it is hoped that the new wave of appliances will recognise when electricity is at its cheapest and at its most expensive and respond accordingly.

How the Plans Will Affect Solar Energy

Around 7 million houses in the UK have solar panels and the government say that their plan will benefit them as they will be able to store electricity on batteries. The stored energy can then be used by the household and excess energy can be exported to the national grid – in this instance lower tariffs or even payment for the excess energy will bring down annual costs significantly.

The rate of return on energy exported to the national grid is currently between 6% and 10%, but there are many variables to take into account, such as, the cost of battery storage and light levels. Still, those with state-of-the-art solar electricity systems could end up with an annual profit after selling their excess energy.

The Internet of Things

Much of what the plans set out to achieve are linked to the now ubiquitous “internet of things” – where, for example, appliances and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to make them function more smartly.

Companies like Hive have already made great inroads into this type of technology, but the road that the government plans are heading down, will, potentially, go much further -blockchain technology looms and has already proved to be a game changer in the world of currency.

Blockchain Technology

It has already been suggested that the peer to peer selling of energy and exporting it to the national grid may eventually be done using blockchain technology.

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (2016)

The upshot of the government’s plans for the revolution of the energy sector, is that technology will play an indelible role in making it more efficient, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable.

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4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy




Demand for solar energy is growing at a surprising rate. New figures from SolarPower Europe show that solar energy production has risen 50% since the summer of 2016.

However, many people are still skeptical of the benefits of solar energy.Does it actually make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint? Is it actually cost-effective for the company over the long-run?

A number of case studies have been conducted, which indicate solar energy can be enormously beneficial. Here are some of the most compelling studies on the subject.

1.     Boulder Nissan

When you think of companies that leverage solar power, car dealerships probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind. However, Boulder Nissan is highly committed to promoting green energy. They worked with Independent Power Systems to setup a number of solar cells. Here were the results:

  • Boulder Nissan has reduced coal generated electricity by 65%.
  • They are on track to run on 100% renewable energy within the next 13 years.
  • Boulder Nissan reduced CO2 emissions by 416,000 lbs. within the first year after installing their solar panels.

This is one of the most impressive solar energy case studies a small business has published in recent years. It shows that even small companies in rural communities can make a major difference by adapting solar energy.

2.     Valley Electric Association

In 2015, the Valley Electric Association (VEA) created an 80-acre solar garden. Before retiring from the legislature, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised the new project as a way to make the state more energy dependent and reduce our carbon footprint.

“This facility will provide its customers with the opportunity to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy produced in Nevada,” Reid told reporters with the Pahrump Valley Times. “That’s a step forward for the Silver State, but it also proves that utilities can work with customers to provide clean renewable energy that they demand.”

The solar energy that VEA produced was drastically higher than anyone would have predicted. SolarWorld estimates that the solar garden created 32,680,000 kwh every year, which was enough to power nearly 4,000 homes.

This was a major undertaking for a purple state, which may inspire their peers throughout the Midwest to develop solar gardens of their own. It will reduce dependency on the electric grid, which is a problem for many remote states in the central part of the country.

3.     Las Vegas Casinos

A number of Las Vegas casinos have started investing in solar panels over the last couple of years. The Guardian reports that many of these casinos have cut costs considerably. Some of them are even selling the energy back to the grid.

“It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts told Guardian reporters. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”

There have been many benefits for casinos using solar energy. They are some of the most energy-intensive institutions in the world, so this has helped them become much more cost-effective. It also helps minimize disruptions to their customers learning online keno strategies in the event of any problems with the electric grid.

4.     Boston College

Boston College has been committed to many green initiatives over the years. A group of researchers experimented with solar cells on different parts of the campus to see where they could produce the most electricity. They discovered that the best locationwas at St. Clement’sHall. The solar cells there dramatically. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 521,702 lbs. a year and be enough to save 10,869 trees.

Boston College is exploring new ways to expand their usage of solar cells. They may be able to invest in more effective solar panels that can generate far more solar energy.

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