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Consumers could save £2.5bn in 2025 with new energy efficiency feed-in tariff

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The UK’s electricity market is distorted in favour of supply rather than cheaper demand management and reduction measures. New research has found that British consumers and businesses could save around £2.5 billion by 2025, and avoid the need for eight new power stations by 2030, if power stations were made to compete against electricity saving.

Demand-side response, which involves shifting appliance demand to different times of the day, has already grown four-fold in the past two years. It has the potential to scale up even further and could cover most of the electricity capacity deficit that will be created by the prime minister’s pledge to phase out unabated coal.

A new ‘negawatts’ strategy, proposed by think tank Green Alliance, would create financial incentives for electricity saving at less than half the cost of building new power stations. It would enable businesses to compete to deliver savings on the most cost effective basis.

The report, Getting more from less: realising the potential of negawatts in the UK electricity market, shows how the UK’s electricity market is distorted in favour of supply side measures at the expense of cheaper demand side measures. Businesses and consumers spend too much on electricity supply because they are not investing in efficiency.

Electricity demand reduction measures are available at £30 per MWh saved, and can compete with new power stations, which cost a minimum of £76 per MWh. Substantial cost and carbon savings have been achieved using these policies in Texas, California and New England.

The report proposes two changes to the electricity market:

1) Create a negawatts feed-in tariff, paid on the basis of avoided energy consumption, with recipients competing in an auction to deliver electricity saving, eg installing LED lighting in homes or more efficient electrical motors in manufacturing businesses. This could reduce electricity demand by 6.4 GW by 2030, equivalent to the capacity of eight 800 MW combined cycle gas turbine power stations. The ensuing investment in electricity demand reduction alone could yield net savings to British consumers of £2.4 billion by 2025.

2) Open the UK’s capacity market to competition from demand-side response and energy demand reduction on an equal basis with electricity generation. This could bring forward 6 GW of additional load shifting and reduction by 2023, covering most of the coal capacity deficit created by the prime minister’s February pledge to phase out unabated coal.

Amy Mount, lead author of the report, said: “Negawatts are a no-brainer for consumers. Not only are they the cheapest way to reduce carbon emissions. They also reduce the pressure on the electricity system by reducing peaks in demand. These policies would save the UK huge amounts of money, by avoiding the construction of unnecessary power stations. If government wants to reset energy policy for the  benefit of consumers this is where they should start.”

Sonny Masero, chairman of award-winning energy management business Demand Logic, said: “If the UK were to adopt an efficiency strategy like the one proposed by Green Alliance it would not only save businesses and consumers £2 billion a year, but also create top line revenue growth opportunities for businesses like Demand Logic to contribute even more to the UK economy. And the overall value created would be greater still, because efficiency services are exportable and in significant demand in international markets. Clean energy economics is overtaking environmental regulations and this strategy would be a timely initiative aligned with the government’s economic policies for growth. With government support, efficiency services could be an important growth sector, increasing the return for UK plc from investment already made by InnovateUK in efficiency innovation.”

Yoav Zingher, CEO and Co-Founder of KiWi Power, said: “Demand side balancing mechanisms are the greener and most cost effective grid balancing solutions. As outlined in Green Alliance’s report, the current market is structured in such a way that limits the ability of demand side solutions to compete with the higher polluting and expensive supply side alternatives. KiWi Power fully supports new policies advocating creating at least, a level playing field for demand side response to compete with supply and generation in meeting the needs of the UK power grid.

“Examples of how demand side response is keeping the lights on in the US are proof that DSR is not only a credible reserve function but should be prioritised as a core grid alternative to supply/generation. Aggregators such as KiWi Power have the scalable technology to increase our reach and operations exponentially, but limiting factors such as short term one year contracts in the capacity market act as disincentives for large commercial energy users to take up this credible alternative. We believe an urgent change to the Electricity Market Reform is needed to secure the future of the UK power grid.”

Energy

7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption

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Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

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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Energy

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

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Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/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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