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Greencoat UK Wind named best company at New Energy & Cleantech Awards 2014



Greencoat UK Wind, a £350m renewable energy infrastructure fund, has been named company of the year at the seventh annual New Energy & Cleantech Awards in London on Wednesday.

In a ceremony at the Park Plaza Victoria, the firm was recognised with the deal of the year award for its listing on the London Stock Exchange, and subsequently selected as the overall winner by a judging panel.

Greencoat, which invests in existing wind farms, made a pre-tax profit of £18.2m in its first year of trading. Judges were said to be impressed by the scale of its ambition.

The New Energy & Cleantech Awards are widely recognised as a leading event in the sector, with the evening hosted this year by TV presenter and environmentalist Dick Strawbridge.

In 2013, it was the sustainability-focused Ecology Building Society that scooped the top gong, along with financier of the year.

Among the other winners in 2014 was Loowatt, whose waterless toilet system is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and earned it the innovator of the year award.

Employee-owned retail giant John Lewis went home with the retailer of the year award after unveiling plans to power more than 380 John Lewis and Waitrose stores with 100% renewable energy.

Meanwhile, coming out top of the investor of the year category was the Environmental Technologies Fund, which was chosen by the judging panel after raising £60m for its second fund last year.

Nick Britton, editor-in-chief at event organisers Vitesse, said, “For me, these awards are a recognition of commitment, ingenuity, and a hard-headed determination to get your own way.

While holding fast to their vision of the world as they would like it to be, companies on our shortlists have worked within the constraints of the world we have. Their ambition is inspiring, but their goals are realistic and focused on making a positive change, one step at a time.”

The full list of winners:

Developer of the Year Linden Homes

Entrepreneur of the Year – Mark Robinson – APC Technology Group/Minimise

University Spin-out of the Year – Xeros

New Energy Champion – Commercial Group

Innovator of the Year – Loowatt

Deal of the Year – Greencoat UK Wind – listing on LSE Main Market

Investor of the Year – Environmental Technologies Fund

Retailer of the Year – John Lewis

Advisory Firm of the Year – IDCM

Financier of the Year – Foresight Group

Company of the Year (best of the above winners) – GreencoatUK Wind

Further reading:

Renewable energy sector set for £64bn investment by 2020

Siemens and sustainability: interview with Roland Aurich, UK chief executive

Nina Skorupska: we need energy ‘prosumers’ to effect real change

Public support for renewables grows as concern over fracking rises

The Guide to Limitless Clean Energy 2013


7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption



Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions |

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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Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis




Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey 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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