Archive for October, 2012


31
OCT

Sharon Fay says:
Time to turn over a new LEAF (£1600 deposit contribution towards a brand new Nissan LEAF)


Category: Electric Transport
Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Have you ever thought about buying an electric car but thought it was going to be to expensive and gave it no more thought? Well here are a few points you may not have thought about with the bigger picture of owning a Nissan LEAF compared to a combustion engine car…

Costs like fuel that just keep rising but you can charge the Nissan LEAF from as little as £2.03 for a full charge.  This is an annual cost of £186 based on 10000 miles per annum.  With the average cost of a gallon of petrol now £6.32 what does you car do to the gallon? The Nissan LEAF is 339 mpg.

We all hate to pay road fund license, but with the Nissan LEAF this is NIL and the same with the congestion charge in London which is normally £8 a day but NIL if you have a Nissan LEAF.

All these savings add up plus with the £1600 deposit contribution with Nissan Finance you can save yourself even more on monthly payments.

So enjoy the luxury, comfort and smooth ride of the Nissan LEAF –  it may not be as expensive as you think!

Give me a call (Sharon Fay) at FJ Chalke Ltd 01963 34335 or email sharon.fay@fjchalke.co.uk for FREE advice to get on the road to greener energy.



30
OCT

Wendy Pillar says:
Green Bananas


Category: Climate Change, Sustainable Living
Tags: , , ,


When thinking about our carbon footprint, our attention naturally goes to transport, holidays, heating – all things that clearly use oil. However, for most households, their weekly food shop makes up a greater proportion of their carbon footprint than transport. Unlike driving your car, though, it is not immediately obvious where you are clocking up the carbon, or how you can reduce it.

It’s not all about food miles. More important is how the food travels those miles. Bananas and oranges, for example, travel huge distances, but do so by boat because they store well and are naturally well-packaged, and so their carbon footprint is modest. On the other hand, those out-of-season luxuries grown in Africa or South America and air-freighted to the UK, like asparagus, blueberries and mange tout, have a colossal footprint. To put some figures on it, a kilo of bananas has a carbon-equivalent footprint of 480 g; that of a kilo of air-freighted asparagus is 14 kg, that’s nearly 30 times as much!

Another major factor is how food is grown. Again, bananas are grown in the tropics with no input of heat and light – it definitely wouldn’t be ‘green’ to grow them locally! Major offenders in this respect are the salad and mediterranean vegetables grown in artificially heated and lit Dutch greenhouses and trucked to the UK. It actually uses less carbon to grow them naturally in Africa and air-freight them, but neither option makes any sense. Tomatoes grown in artificial conditions in winter can have a carbon footprint of up to 50 kg per kilo, compared with 0.4 kg when grown in unheated greenhouses locally in summer.

The third main factor in your food carbon footprint is whether it is animal or plant based. When you feed soya or grain to animals instead of directly to humans, they use most of the calories to walk around, keep warm and generally do their thing, and little to actually make meat or milk. Beef has a carbon footprint of around 16 kg per kilo, compared with less than 1 kg for wheat. Chicken and pork have a far smaller footprint than red meat, because they are ready to eat at a much younger age and they don’t produce methane in digesting their food.

All of these figures are obviously approximate, but they make it easy to see the difference between different kinds of food. Cutting down on winter tomatoes or having a meat-free day once a week will have a major impact on your food carbon footprint, as will sticking to the UK season for asparagus, but its not worth depriving yourself by cutting out bananas and oranges.



25
OCT

Anna Celeste Watson says:
Highly Recommended: Dangers of Fracking Website


Category: Energy Events in Dorset, Fracking
Tags: ,


Just wanted to remind you all that TONIGHT is the FREE screening of the films ‘Gasland’ & ‘Drying for Freedom’ at Durlston Castle in Swanage – full details on: http://www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/?p=1601

I have also stumbled across a really simple but stunning site called the ‘Dangers of Fracking’ designed by Linda Dong which clearly and visually explains what goes in and out of Hydraulic Fracturing (also known as ‘fracking’) so you can get a bit more of an idea of what on earth it’s all about (and why on earth it is so bad!) before you watch the film ‘Gasland’, or indeed if you can’t make the free film screening as it also lists some further reading too.

Check out the website for yourself at: http://dangersoffracking.com



24
OCT

Vince Adams says:
Scientists can now make electricity from your footsteps!


Category: Renewable Energy
Tags: ,


I came across this interesting item in the journal Indian Chemical Engineer this week…

Every time you take a step, mechanical energy goes through the sole of your shoe, and scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California are figuring out a way to harness this energy, using a paper-thin generator. The ‘living generator’ uses viruses to convert the energy into electricity by harnessing the physical stress. It can produce enough electricity to run a small LCD panel. In the future, this could be a way to power personal devices like mobile phones or torches.

This generator is the first of its kind to harness the piezoelectric properties of a biological material, which are the accumulation of a charge in a solid in response to mechanical stress. There is much work to be done before the device is practical for public use, but it is a significant development in the field of personal power generation.

 



23
OCT

Theresa McManus says:
DECC Green Deal Quick Guides


Category: Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy
Tags: , , , , , ,


The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) have published some guides on the various aspects of the Green Deal which are available to download. These are aimed at domestic customers, and will hopefully make it easier to access funding for a wide range of energy efficiency measures AND renewable energy measures. Funding will be available from  the end of January 2013.

Visit the DECC website to download the Green Deal Quick Guides: www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/tackling/green_deal/gd_quickguides/gd_quickguides.aspx



22
OCT

Theresa McManus says:
Cornish Manufacturer Launches Pixie Heat Pump


Category: Heat Pumps, Renewable Heat Energy
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Cornwall-based Kensa engineering, has launched the smallest ground source heat pump on the market, designed to provide space heating and domestic hot water for flats and small dwellings.

The Shoebox Heat Pump is small enough to fit inside a kitchen cabinet! Like all ground source heat pumps it is ideal for new builds, but it can also be retrofitted to properties that have suitably sized outside space, such as a car park, to contain the boreholes for the heat-collecting slinky pipes.

The system is certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) and is eligible for funding under the commercial Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) because it qualifies as a district heating system. The marketing executive at Kensa Heat Pumps has been reported as saying that the approximate cost per unit is around £4000, including the borehole and other costs, and that it would typically pay for itself over the lifetime of the RHI.


Find more about Heat Pumps here: www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/energy/heat-pumps.



19
OCT

Theresa McManus says:
Turning Down the Heat


Category: Energy Efficiency
Tags: , , ,


Most people are now worried by their rising energy bills, highlights an article in Greenwise published on 16th October (http://www.greenwisebusiness.co.uk/news/rising-energy-bills-are-biggest-worry-to-householders-3599.aspx).

Apparently, the YouGov Household Economic Activity Tracker (HEAT) shows that UK consumers are more worried about energy price hikes over the coming year than they are about unemployment, inflation or taxes.

However, at the same time, most people can also make lots of really easy savings.
There are two key things that can reduce your energy bills:

1. Simply use less energy!

  • Turn off appliances at the plug when not in use – especially equipment (like phone chargers) that includes a transformer.
  • Turn lights off if you’re the last person leaving the room – even if you think someone will be back in a few minutes.
  • Only fill the kettle to the level you need to use at that moment.
  • You could also change the timings of your central heating and hot water so that it comes on a bit later and goes off a bit earlier.

2. Stop your home from losing so much heat through insulating cavities and lofts, which is still currently free for most people. Other types of insulation, like cladding solid walls, secondary glazing and measures like draughtproofing, will all be potentially eligible for Green Deal loans when they become available early next year. (Don’t miss the FREE Draught Busters Workshops in Bridport 27th October & 1st December 2012 – see Paul’s blog post on: http://www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/archives/2012/10/18/draught-busters-workshops-in-bridport-27th-october-1st-december-2012/)

For more tips check out: www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/energy/energy-efficiency.
Contact DEAC on 0800 975 0166 for more information and free, impartial advice about saving money through saving energy.



18
OCT

Paul McIntosh says:
Skills for Self Reliance Course in Bridport 29th October – 2nd November 2012


Category: Dorset Energized News, Sustainable Living
Tags:


Transition Town Bridport are running the following FREE 1 week course on practical skills.

29th October until 2nd November 2012
Skills for Self Reliance
Kingston Maurward Centre, North Mills, Bridport

This is open for any unemployed 16-24 year olds, and will cover the basics of carpentry, plumbing, electrics and metalwork. The course lasts one week, and on the last day Transition Town Bridport are planning to invite local firms in to discuss apprenticeships, along with representatives from a local college.

Anyone who wishes to apply for the course should obtain an application form from the Job Centre in Bridport, or from admin@transitiontownbridport.co.uk. This initiative is part of TTB’s aims of making Bridport a resilient community ready for the challenges of peak oil and climate change. For more information on TTB visit www.transitiontownbridport.co.uk.

Download the Course Flyer >>



18
OCT

Paul McIntosh says:
Draught Busters Workshops in Bridport 27th October & 1st December 2012


Category: Energy Efficiency, Energy Events in Dorset, Fuel Poverty & Security
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Transition Town Bridport are running 2 Draught Busters workshops to help people reduce their heating bills.

27th October & 1st December 2012
Draught Busters
Unitarian Church,Victoria Grove, Bridport  

The workshops will be run by Chit Chong and willinclude training on how to stop draughts around leaky windows and doors, and is suitable for anyone who can use a small hammer. Transition Town Bridport will also supply the materials at cost to participants. Typically, the cost will be around £10-£15 for the plastic strips; the workshops are free.

Cutting out draughts makes a huge difference to keeping a house warm and cosy, and saving money from fuel bills, as well as reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.
Chit has recently started a business in Bridport providing more extensive insulation, and he will be available to discuss other ways of saving energy in the home. His website is at www.dorsetdraughtproofing.co.uk.

Anyone who would like to attend a workshop should email admin@transitiontownbridport, telephone Chit Chong at 01297 480825 or visit www.transitiontownbridport.co.uk.

Download the Draught Busters Poster >>


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Theresa McManus comments:
    "People often ignore measures like draughtproofing, but they can save as much wasted energy as double glazing – and doesn’t cost anything like as much ! Invest in some sealant today! "
    October 18, 2012 a 2:58 pm


16
OCT

Anna Celeste Watson says:
On Your Bike! The Big Green Bike Ride is Back


Category: Sustainable Living
Tags:


Friends of the Earth have just announced that registrations are now open for their Big Green Bike Ride 2013: London – New Forest.

Whether you have an electric bike or not – any excuse to keep your non-electric cars in the garage has to be a good thing!

You can cycle from the bustle of South-West London to the beauty and tranquility of the New Forest National Park, on the Dorset/Hampshire border.

Saturday 27 – Sunday 28 April 2013

Day 1: London to the New Forest, 85 miles
Cycle the pretty lanes of Surrey and Hampshire, as we wind our way to the New Forest.
Day 2: Explore the New Forest, 40 miles
Explore the heather-covered heath, gentle farmland, ancient woodland and mudflats of this charming corner of the British countryside.
Unwind and relax after a day in the saddle
Set in 1,000 acres of ancient woodland the overnight New Forest location is spectacular.
With tents provided – or the option of upgrading to a luxury shepherds hut – you’ll be able to enjoy the ancient woodland setting and the rustic beauty of the carpenter’s barn.

Keep an eye out for grazing deer and ponies as you enjoy a drink from the woodland bar.

With one-day and weekend options, there’s something for everyone.

To get involved and join the adventure find out more and register at: www.biggreenbikeride.co.uk



12
OCT

Lets Get Energized says:
Dorset energy company supporting controversial Silton turbines as ‘logical answer’


Category: Dorset Energized News, Wind Power
Tags: , , , , , , ,


Wendy Pillar and Erik Blakeley from Energize Stur Valley, a local community group and partners of Dorset Energized, have outlined the benefits of wind power and why the controversial Silton turbines should be built, in a letter to The Blackmore Vale Magazine which was published today and highlighted as the top news item in thisisdorset.co.uk.

We recommend you read the full article here and as always, we welcome your constructive comments: 
www.thisisdorset.co.uk/Dorset-energy-company-supporting-controversial/story-17072969-detail/story.html


4Comments | Post your own comment

  • Keith Wheaton-Green comments:
    "I believe all renewable energy installations have value. However, the Silton turbines were not universally accepted because the project had not grown from the local community and the very substantial financial rewards would not have been spread locally beyond the landowner. "
    December 19, 2012 a 11:27 am

  • Wendy Pillar comments:
    "The result of the enquiry is disappointing as I believe it reflects a well-organised campaign more than the majority view. On-shore wind power remains a valuable part of the solution to the pending energy crisis, although projects are better organised from within the community. "
    December 19, 2012 a 11:26 am

  • Theresa comments:
    "The appeal against the Silton wind turbine proposal has sadly been lost.
    All the more reason for Dorset to focus on REDUCING ENERGY DEMAND, so that the regrettably small proportion of renewable energy we are generating will grow in comparison. More investment in energy efficiency and more investment in encouraging behavioural change are needed in order to help make a smooth transition to a low carbon economy. "

    November 17, 2012 a 1:27 pm

  • Martin Usherwood comments:
    "Re: Wendy and Erik’s article. How naive to make statements about wind power fulfilling our energy needs when it only works when the wind blows and it must be at the within tight strength tolerances. Conventional fossil fuel stations are needed as back-up for other times.
    These are not attractive windmills but large industrial machines. They may take up a small amount of land on the surface but what about the tons of concrete below the ground needed to stabilise the tower. A half ton of CO2 per ton of concrete is generated.
    These schemes are being promoted by get rich venture capitalist who are interested in tax and bill payers money from the traded ROC’s(£2billion last year)These people are not concerned with Green issues or saving the environment. As usual they are init for the money. Do not be fooled! "

    October 25, 2012 a 5:54 pm


10
OCT

Theresa McManus says:
Updates on Grants & Rewards for Renewables & Energy Saving in Your Home


Category: Renewable Energy
Tags: , , , ,


Free Cavity Wall and Loft Insulation
We have been saying that CERT, the mechanism behind utility companies providing money for insulation grants, is on it’s last legs for so long, it feels a bit like we’ve been crying wolf. The official end date was March 2011, but it’s been extended and extended to allow for the Green Deal, it’s replacement, to be fleshed out (to a point) and (soft) launched.

For Scottish and Southern Electricity (SSE), the provider of grants for our area, the main funding stream is now closed. However, Dorset Energy Advice Centre (DEAC) have negotiated a separate stream of funding with SSE so that we can continue to offer grants until early November. We are also investigating other funding opportunities to enable this service, providing free insulation, to be extended for as long as possible.

The Green Deal
The Green Deal was officially launched on 1st October 2012 with the establishment of an enabling legal framework. From 28th January 2013, Green Deal Providers will be able to offer Green Deal plans to consumers and begin deliver a wide range of energy efficiency and heating measures at no up front cost to the customer.

In practice it means that these few months are intended to be used by Green Deal providers, assessors and installers who can start to become authorised to provide Green Deal services and to display the Green Deal Quality Mark, and put in place their quality systems for delivering assessments to customers .

DEAC, our Green Deal partners and network of local installers, have been preparing to be Green Deal ready for a number of months, and these activities are progressing well. We will be offering assessments, plans, installed measures, and providing finance options that are as locally-based as possible to ensure a high quality service to the customer.

Feed In Tariff for Home Energy Generators
For those customers who are considering installing solar PV panels on their home, the Feed in Tariff (FIT) payment amount will be set according to the date of installation. To see how much you would be eligible for, look at http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Generating-energy/Getting-money-back/Feed-In-Tariffs-scheme-FITs#rates

From the date of the installation, you will receive that amount plus the annual index-linked uplift for the duration of the FIT payments. Note that from 1st August 2012, evidence of the property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating will be required when applying for FITs. If no evidence showing the EPC has a band D or higher, then the lower rate of FIT will apply.

Energy Performance Certificates have been a mandatory requirement of the Home Information Pack since 2007. If your home does not already have one, call DEAC to get one arranged on 0800 975 0166.

Renewable Heat Incentives
The domestic element of the Renewable Heat Incentive, (RHI – like FITs except for heat energy produced by renewable, e.g. solar thermal panel producing hot water), won’t be available until mid-2013. However, the interim offer of approximately 10% of the install cost for some of these technologies, the Renewable Heat Premium Payment, is still available until the end of March 2013, subject to funding. For more details see http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Generating-energy/Getting-money-back/Renewable-Heat-Premium-Payment-Phase-2.

For further advice on any of the above incentives, get in touch with myself or my colleagues at DEAC on www.deac.co.uk or call  0800 975 0166.



09
OCT

Lets Get Energized says:
Fracking: FREE screening of ‘Gasland’ & ‘Drying for Freedom’ at Durlston Castle 25th October 2012


Category: Energy Events in Dorset, Fracking
Tags: ,


Purbeck Film Festival, The Co-operative and PEAT present two FREE films including the Academy Award nominated film Gasland and Drying for Freedom followed by an open discussion about what shale gas and ‘fracking’ means for Dorset and the South West.

Where: Durlston Castle, Durlston Country Park, Lighthouse Road, Swanage, Dorset BH19 2JL
When: Thursday 25th October, 7pm – 9.15pm

GASLAND
Gasland reveals the shocking story of the environmental and health impacts of shale gas extraction in the US. When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. (50 mins)

The Government has recently given ‘fracking’ the go ahead, despite earthquakes linked to the practice in Lancashire and the risk of water contamination. Now Somerset and Dorset may see the extraction of shale gas through this controversial practice. Find out more at this event!

DRYING FOR FREEDOM
Filmmaker Steven Lake, who is from the Isle of Purbeck and was a projectionist at the Rex criss-crosses the world to unravel the reasons and consequences for banishing clotheslines in favour of tumble dryers. Corporate America sold us an electric dream: replacing simple centuries-old outdoors line-drying with the electricity hungry dryer. Now, developing nations are starting their own love affair with an electric utopia exponentially increasing the demands on an already threatened environment (60 mins).

Tickets in advance from Durlston Castle or Swanage TIC.
Food and drink will be provided (bar available).

For more information visit: www.purbeckfilm.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=&product_id=201&category_id=0&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=83

Click here to download the event poster >>



08
OCT

Theresa McManus says:
Electric cars not green if coal used to generate energy


Category: Electric Transport
Tags: , , , , ,


The BBC reported last week that a study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology study found that greenhouse gas emissions rose dramatically if coal is used to produce the electricity.

For me this is not really news – anything we do using electricity is bad news if that electricity was generated using fossil fuels. I think this just emphasises the need for a rapid transition away from fossils fuels in electricity production. Maybe as local authorities and others start rolling out electric vehicle charging points, renewable generation can be co-located ?

One key message which is currently underplayed is that to achieve this switch away from fossil fuels in anything like an appropriate timeframe, not only do we need to increase investment in renewables but we also need to focus on reducing our energy demand.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19830232 for details of the article.


2Comments | Post your own comment

  • Ian Howard comments:
    "The benefit of electric cars is that it will reduce pollution in towns and cities. However if the electricity to recharge them is the increased use of coal fired power stations then all we are doing is moving the problem. Which then leads me to ask the question how green are they? "
    October 8, 2012 a 2:01 pm

  • Nathan Shaw comments:
    "As David Mackay states in his book ‘Sustainable Energy – without the hot air': Using grid electricity for electric cars produces emissions equivalent to fossil fuel cars. So, why not change? Its no worse for the environment and the greater strain on our grid will be a catalyst for investment in renewable energy. Then, renewables will be seen as ‘heroes’ for saving the car and the world will quickly embrace them – or maybe im getting carried away! "
    October 8, 2012 a 11:15 am


05
OCT

Vince Adams says:
Dorset Energized at Honeybuns Pippin Apple Day Party THIS Saturday 6th October 2012


Category: Energy Events in Dorset, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living
Tags: , ,


Just a reminder that myself and other members of Dorset Energized and Energize Stur Valley will be at the Honeybuns Apple Day tomorrow…

Join us at Honeybuns, Naish Farm – the home of gluten free baking – for this magical celebration of all things appley on Dorset Apple Day!

We shall be pleased to answer your questions about renewables and give the very best advice possible.

Local food, crafts, artisan stalls including Somerset Cider Brandy and Muddy Dog Company, plenty of music and guest appearance from Yetties frontman Bonny Sartin, demonstrations and fun for all the family. Bring your own apples to press and a container, although there will plenty of apples available on the day. Plus sampling days, book signings and demo’s.

Saturday 6th October
11am to 4pm – FREE ENTRY!

Pippin Apple Party at the Bee Shack
Honeybuns, Naish Farm
Stony Lane, Holwell
Sherborne
Dorset DT9 5LJ

To find out more visit: www.honeybuns.co.uk



04
OCT

Lets Get Energized says:
Greendor Eco-homes in Dorchester a great success


Category: Eco Homes DIY & Tourism, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Dorchester recently had its first weekend of free visits to eco-homes, on 8th and 9th September 2012. The weekend was part of Architectural Heritage Week and was organised by greendor, a local community project. The event was a great success, with over 260 visits to the seven homes that were open over the two days. Visitors commented that they found the visits “inspirational” and said it was “lovely to have such informed people to tell us about it”.

The open homes ranged from an individually designed low-carbon home built in 2010 to historic Listed Buildings that have been adapted for low-energy living.

The aim was to show in a practical way how people can save energy at home and still be comfortable. In fact by saving money on their fuel, water and electricity bills they can lighten the load on the household budget. At the same time it’s helping Dorchester to move towards lower-carbon living, which we all need to do as oil is getting more expensive and climate change is increasing.

Some of the things that visitors enjoyed seeing were unusual materials at different homes, such as external wall insulation made from lime and wood-fibre, a light tube to bring natural daylight into a dark area of the building, and a rainwater harvesting system which host Tobin Sykes said “has halved our water costs – and that was our highest utility bill.”

Many people expressed interest in following up their visit, and greendor is planning some further events. Ideas include : an opportunity to use a thermal imaging camera, which can show up where heat is leaking out of a building; home visits by local independent energy advisers; talks by energy and building experts; and small home-based groups where people can learn together about greener living.

Anyone who would like to know more about these events is welcome to contact Sally Cooke at greendor2012@gmail.com or 07794 432 297.

Details will also be posted on the website www.greendor.wordpress.com

Here’s some further reading:

1. greendor is a newly started community initiative. It works in association with Transition Town Dorchester, and is grateful for a small grant from Dorset County Council towards the costs of the weekend. It is also very grateful for practical help from Dorset Energy Advice Centre, and for the generosity of the eco-homes hosts in opening up their homes. We also appreciate the help of East Dorset Heritage Trust, who administer Architectural Heritage Week in Dorset.

2. Energy from buildings is a big contributor to the UK’s overall carbon footprint, providing 36% of total UK greenhouse gas emissions. See the UK’s government-established Climate Change Committee website: http://downloads.theccc.org.uk.s3.amazonaws.com/4th%20Budget/4th-Budget_Chapter5.pdf

3. Dorset has a target of raising its contribution to clean energy generation by over ten-fold by 2020, and home generation has a part to play in that. See Dorset’s Renewable Energy Strategy: http://www.dorsetforyou.com/media.jsp?mediaid=171439&filetype=pdf

4. The building industry employs over 2 million people in the UK, and has great potential for transforming the country’s building stock. Providing an opportunity to see the skills that are involved in low-carbon building or re-fitting has been one of the aims of the open eco-homes weekend. Guests from the local planning and building sector attended a special event at the Chalk Wall House, Dorchester, on Sunday 9th September.



03
OCT

Wendy Pillar says:
Rare earth elements in renewable energy


Category: Electric Transport, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


I have heard it said that electric cars and other renewable energy technology use rare earth elements and that this is a reason why they are not really ‘green’. But is this true?

Dysprosium, terbium, europium, neodymium and yttrium are all extremely rare and are vital in renewable energy and electric cars, especially in batteries. The economic crisis has meant that the super-rich have a shortage of profitable outlets for their billions, with a sluggish stock market and a worldwide depression in consumption. One of the few areas that is booming is renewable energy, and the rarity of these elements has led to a modern ‘goldrush’. While much of the production comes from countries like Australia, there are also cases of land being ‘grabbed’ from indigenous people, and open cast mining in environmentally sensitive areas such as the Amazon. It is perfectly obvious to most of us that destroying rainforest to make a ‘green’ car makes no sense, but not it seems to big business.

So is this a reason not to buy renewable energy products? No. It is the same issue of regulating multinational corporations and preventing them from exploiting poor countries and the environment in their short-term grab for profits that is largely what got us into this mess in the first place, both financially and environmentally! The same problems occur for elements in the screens of your laptop and mobile phone, components in conventional cars, and even something as common as aluminium, not to mention coal for conventional power generation.

One thing we can do about it is to always recycle electrical products by taking them to the recycling centre, rather than letting them go to landfill in the domestic rubbish. The more components are recycled, the less has to come out of the ground. We can also help by placing our financial business with ethical funds or an ethical bank, since many of these environmental crimes are committed with the collective money from our pension funds and savings.

The issue also highlights that merely switching to another kind of consumption is not the whole answer. Buying an electric car instead of a conventional car is good, but so is doing half as many miles in your existing car and making it last twice as long, or waiting until your mobile breaks, instead of until it goes out of fashion, before replacing it.

Check out our pages on Energy Efficiency on: www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/energy/energy-efficiency and Sustainable Living: www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/energy/sustainable-living

We can all also support the work of charities such as Greenpeace, Christian Aid and Oxfam in fighting ‘land grabbing’.



03
OCT

Wendy Pillar says:
The renewable energy goldrush


Category: Renewable Energy
Tags: , ,


You know when something is worthwhile and profitable when high-pressure sales types attempt to cash in. Such is the case with renewable energy.

The other day I received a cold call from a call centre in Scotland, in which a young woman told me that the government had just introduced a new grant called the Feed in Tariff, from which I could benefit. I only had to agree for a free visit from an energy advisor. I agreed to be put through to the next young person to talk about this, interested in what they were going to say. This young man talked a lot, at high speed, about how much I could make from photovotaic panels and the ‘new’ government ‘grant’, and very little about the fact that I would have to pay for the panels up front, receiving payments from the Feed in Tarrif over the next few years. The patter was all about getting the advisor/salesman in through the front door. I was not even asked which direction my roof faced, or whether it was shaded, which might even have saved the ‘advisor’ a visit.

Now I’m not saying that this company sold a bad product, or were doing anything more dubious than normal advertising ‘puff’, although their script was misleading. However, it is unnecessary to do business with this kind of company. There are good, local businesses who have much experience in installing renewable energy, and care about getting exactly the right product for your property. For a large project, there is plenty of advice and information available for you to organize the installation yourself, and maximise the income from the project.

PV panels are still an excellent investment, despite the falling Feed in Tariff – if they weren’t, there would not be so many salesmen interested in selling them to you!

For impartial advice you can contact our team at Dorset Energized and check out our renewable energy pages on: www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/energy



02
OCT

Anna Celeste Watson says:
Have your say on renewables in Wiltshire (and the UK!)


Category: Renewable Energy, Wind Power
Tags: , , , , ,


Good Energy are calling on supporters to have your say on an important planning policy issue on our home turf and very close to us here in Dorset, which could affect the UK’s ability to achieve its renewable energy targets.

The week before last, Wiltshire Council launched a public consultation on a controversial last-minute amendment to its Core Strategy which, if adopted, would effectively cut off a major route for developing renewable energy in Wiltshire. The amendment would stop wind farms being built by stipulating minimum separation distances between homes and wind turbines, ostensibly on health and safety grounds.

Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director Andy Atkins said, “It’s right that Wiltshire residents are consulted about this amendment to planning policy – wind turbines are not dangerous and there’s no safety reason to stop them being built within three kilometres of any home. Instead of sneaking in last-minute caveats that will stop clean energy in its tracks, Wiltshire Council should be blazing a trail with its local plan – cutting emissions and creating hundreds of jobs.”

It’s not just a local issue – Swindon is now discussing making a similar amendment to its Core Strategy, and Lincolnshire has already introduced restrictions. There is clearly a danger of a national precedent being set. We want to make sure that doesn’t happen.

You don’t need to be a resident of Wiltshire to comment on the consultation – so please take a few moments to have your say.

As Dorset Energized blog authors have pointed out before – supporters of onshore wind tend to be the silent majority, but now is the time to make your voice heard.

The consultation ends on November 1st, so please take action quickly.

For more details and to take action visit: http://www.goodenergy.co.uk/blog/2012/09/27/have-your-say-planning-policy-for-renewables-in-wiltshire



02
OCT

Wendy Pillar says:
90% of North Dorset want to generate renewable energy


Category: Community Energy, Dorset Energized News, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Water Power, Wind Power
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Energize Stur Valley recently carried out a survey of North Dorset residents on their views on renewable energy. Enthusiasts on the subject that we are, even we were surprised at just how positive they all are about renewable energy.

Some 90% of people questioned felt positive towards renewable energy projects, and 90% also felt that Dorset should generate more if its own electricity, since it currently generates a tiny 0.0001% of the electricity that it uses.

The most popular idea for generating renewable energy was photovoltaic panels on industrial and agricultural buildings, with 93% of those questioned in favour. These are frequently very suitable for PV owing to their large roof areas that are not overshadowed, as long as they face south.

Also extremely popular was the idea of putting PV panels on the roofs of public buildings, such as schools, with 90% in favour. Again, these buildings tend to have large, accessible roof areas. PV panels at ground level were far less popular, with only 52% in favour, it being often remarked that it is better to grow food in fields where possible.

The latest large wind turbines are by far the most efficient way to generate electricity in our climate. However, they do have a significant impact on the landscape, and not everyone considers them things of beauty. This was reflected in the survey, with 48% in favour of the large wind turbines and 59% in favour of the smaller 20-metre-high models.

Both hydropower and anaerobic digesters were highly popular, both with 86% in favour. Anaerobic digesters can be a good option on farms producing animal waste, such as indoor poultry and pig units. They can also use collected food waste from catering outlets and food processing businesses.

Finally, 65% of those questioned thought that it was a good idea to set up community investment funds, whereby local people can invest in local renewable energy projects with a relatively small investment, thereby keeping the income generated within the community. We have taken this on board, and are looking into how this can be done.

The survey gave a fascinating insight into what North Dorset people really think about renewable energy, and we plan to repeat it in the future to see how views change as renewable energy projects come into production. Watch this space!

There is still just about time to get new PV projects installed before the Feed in Tariff goes down in October 2012 – find out more on our webpage: http://www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/energy/solar-energy


3Comments | Post your own comment

  • Caz comments:
    "Dont think the locals would complain if you put quiet, low PV panels in the Milborne area.
    What I want to know is if this is a survey of North Dorset residents where and how was it carried out because as a North Dorset resident no one has asked me to fill out a survey? And how many surveys were returned as unless you had a return rate of 75% of North Dorset residents it’s not a true reflection of the area! This site needs to clarify the data it uses! Otherwise its just a sales pitch. May be trading standards should look in to it! "

    October 13, 2012 a 11:19 am

  • Richard Howman comments:
    "Regarding the “Survey” of North Dorset Residents to which Ms Pillar refers, can she, in the interests of transparency, please advise:- a. The total sample size
    b. The sampling methodology (Nb ‘Internet’ is not a valid sampling technique)
    c. The sample demographic Thank you
    Richard Howman "

    October 12, 2012 a 6:39 pm

  • HJL comments:
    "There is no doubt that sources of renewable energy should be a primary consideration for all. But lessons should be learned about the impact of wind turbine sites from those areas with insight and knowledge. A review of the literature (and Court settlements) reveals that dwellings DO suffer noise disturbance (planning councils in Scotland are advised not to grant planning permission within 2 km of residential dwellings), ‘flicker’ causes distraction to drivers on nearby roads and tourism is detrimentally affected. These three issues convince me that the proposed Milborne Wind Farm (sited close to dwellings, adjacent to A35 and in an area where many residents run B&B businesses) must be strongly opposed. "
    October 2, 2012 a 9:05 pm


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