Author Archive


30
NOV

Nathan Shaw says:
DA21 & Dorset Energized Release Winter 2012 Renewable Energy Newsletter


Category: Climate Change, Dorset Energized News, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living
Tags:


A special edition newsletter called TwentyOne, focusing on the latest Renewable Energy projects in Dorset, has just been released.

A joint effort between da21 and Dorset Energized has produced an exciting publication showcasing how people and communities are taking current energy problems into their own hands. So why not see what’s happening near you!

You can download the newsletter here: http://www.sustainabledorset.org.uk/sites/sustainabledorset.org.uk/files/Winter%202012_0.pdf

We appreciate any feedback on the newsletter, info on any more projects in the pipeline and any other news that can be used for further publications, so please leave your comments here!



23
NOV

Nathan Shaw says:
The Energy Bill: Is the future green?


Category: Climate Change, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy
Tags: , , , ,


After weeks of delays and political bickering, you could be forgiven to thinking that ‘the greenest government ever’ were taking the time to produce an Energy Bill that delivered clear energy policies whilst concentrating on lowering carbon emissions. But what was the outcome?

No 2030 decarbonisation target has been announced:

After months of attempts from the coalition to agree on this topic, a decision was made to delay any target until at least 2016. This opens the door to a ‘dash for gas’ favoured by George Osborne, and it was quietly announced that a Gas Generation Strategy will be released next month. According to the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC), following this strategy will put our legally binding carbon budgets at risk increasing the chance of large scale fines.

Another problem arises from this short term solution to a long term problem. If a decarbonisation target was introduced in 2016, then newly built gas plants would need to be shut down early to ensure the target is reached. This would invoke a spike in gas prices and leave a hole in the energy mix – a substantial future problem that seems to have been side-lined.

This announcement also seemingly ignores the 50 companies, including Microsoft and Marks & Spencer, who signed a letter to George Osborne stating that they needed to see a decarbonisation target as a sign of commitment and stability from the government before investing in the UK.

Renewable Energy projects receive large subsidy boost:

In what was widely believed to be the product of a compromise on the decarbonisation target, significant funding has been cemented for investment in renewables, nuclear and carbon capture and storage – with the aim of a 30% contribution to the energy mix by 2020.

At least £7.6 bn a year will be available come 2020, to aid development through so-called contract for difference (CfD) incentives, a government initiative aimed at producing low carbon electricity projects. This will provide some consolation and certainty to investors that were hoping to see a decarbonisation target.

It will lead to further increases in energy bills, but these will largely be offset by efficiency gains. A strong, short-term investment now means we will reap the financial benefits in the long run.

Introduction of a capacity market:

This mechanism will provide additional payments to thermal plants that agree to supply back-up power as the UK becomes more reliant on intermittent energy sources. This is due to start in the winter of 2018-2019.

In conclusion, it feels like we are walking what is a 100m sprint. No decarbonisation targets mean there is a free rein on emissions over the next 4 years at least. With the gas strategy, the government have shied away from making tough decisions now which will benefit the country in the long run. Eventually every country will be reliant on renewables, so why not switch now and become a leading player? Yes, the clear intent from the government to invest in renewables is a major step forward but it might be some time before we see the benefits.

So is the future green? Let’s say its light green…

For something more inspiring and to take action TODAY, check out Dorset Energized’s web pages on choosing renewable energyswitching to a renewable energy supplier and some of our tips on Energy Efficiency.



26
SEP

Nathan Shaw says:
Climate Change Myth-Busting!


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


The discussion of how a single person can have an effect on the global problem of climate change can often reach boiling point. I am a firm believer in every-little-helps, and would like to see the powerful force of 60 million UK citizens working together. Most people are probably aware of how they can reduce their electricity and heating consumption, without massively altering their lifestyles and here I will bust 3 of the most common myths that could stop people from achieving a reduction (and thus losing out on money!)

1) ‘switching a light off uses more power than leaving it on’
Switching a light on does use a large amount of energy, but only for a very short period of time (think the time it takes for Usain Bolt to run 1m). In fact, leaving a light off for 5 seconds saves the energy taken to switch a light on. So have a light off for more than 5 seconds, and you will be saving electricity. The same goes for appliances that would normally be left on standby – you can save a lot of electricity by switching them off.

2) ‘washing up vs. dishwashers’
If a dishwasher is only used once a week (for everything) then it is probably not doing too much harm. However, if it starts to be used 2-3 times a week, plus separate hand washing for saucepans and the soaking of dishwasher items, then it starts to add up. You are looking at 3 times as much electricity and hot water, plus the extra money in purchasing tablets, for dishwashing over hand washing (throughout one week) – plus the job of emptying the dishwasher still remains.

3) ‘replacing a non-energy efficient light bulb before it dies is a waste of energy’
You would think this is the case, but with the efficiency of modern light bulbs and the production methods used, it is much better to replace an old light bulb as soon as possible. Plus, there are now ample facilities for recycling old light bulbs.

If anyone else knows of any more popular misconceptions within the home, then please let us know!


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14
SEP

Nathan Shaw says:
Electric Car Movement Picks Up Speed!


Category: Electric Transport
Tags: , , , , ,


Not quite news from Dorset, but a bit further north the electric car movement has picked up some speed (apologies).

On Monday, Michael Eavis, of Glastonbury fame, was seen plugging his Nissan LEAF [leased from Dorset Energized partners FJ Chalke in Wincanton] into Bristol’s first free green public electric vehicle charger.

Solar Sense installed the point and has confirmed it is for use 24 hours a day and, on top of this, they have just invested in a fleet of electric cars. If the demand is high enough, then hopefully more will be implemented within the Bristol area.

Also, British Gas last week announced a new 6 month scheme with POLAR, through which the companies will install 1500 free charge points for people living in London, Milton Keynes and the Midlands as well as providing electric car owners with a free home charger and installation.

In Wales, Zero Carbon World, in association with Good Energy, have just installed 2 electric charging pumps at the Centre of Alternative Technology, with plans for more to hopefully increase the potential of electric transport across the border.

Finally, the Department of Transport has published figures showing that 473 new electric cars were purchased between April and May 2012 – double the figure for the same period last year. This can attributed to the plug-in grant scheme offering buyers £5000 of the 10 electric car models.

It seems that the issue of what comes first: the electric car or charging point is beginning to be solved. Hopefully this can increase demand, reduce cost and bring the relevant infrastructure to areas away from the major cities, places like Dorset. Of course, this all means very little if the electricity is not coming from renewable sources but action to create a sustainable transport network is being taken, and sometimes action creates change.



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