Author Archive


13
AUG

Theresa McManus says:
New website launched to ‘Keep On Track’ of the EU’s 2020 Renewable Energy Objectives


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


A new website has been launched called www.keepontrack.eu. The ‘Keep on track’ project is coordinated by the European Renewable Energy Council, and it monitors the progress made by EU member states in the implementation of renewable energy legislation to achieve the 2020 objectives in obtaining 20% of its final energy consumption from renewables.

Sadly, Britain is showing as red, for NOT being on track to achieve our objectives, in comparison to most of our EU neighbours.

The website states that ‘Growth rates in the electricity and heat sectors would be sufficient to reach the 2020 target’ www.keepontrack.eu/keeping-track/united-kingdom/

Every individual reading this, including YOU, can contribute by investing in renewable energy now before it is too late. The most simple thing you can do TODAY is make the switch to a renewable electricity supplier. We recommend Good Energy because they are the only UK supplier that uses 100%  renewable electricity. For many customers, including myself, their Good Energy bill costs the same as a non eco-friendly supplier. They are also currently offering £50 off your first bill when you quote ‘Dorset Energized’ to help you make the switch!

Switch to renewable energy suppliers at:
www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/energy/switch-energy-suppliers
and remember there’s loads more info here on our site on Renewable Heat and other energy options too: www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/energy



24
JUL

Theresa McManus says:
Big six energy companies turn their backs on renewables – vote as a green consumer and switch to Good Energy!


Category: Climate Change, Green Electricity & Gas, Renewable Energy
Tags:


Recent developments – subsidies for nuclear, the dash for shale gas, lack of certainty for investors about government policy regarding renewables, and the absence of a communications campaign to drive low carbon living – all point to a lack of commitment to the green agenda and the undermining of the Climate Change Act 2008. Is the UK government allowing big business to drive policy?

Here we see the big six energy companies turning their backs on renewables: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jul/23/big-six-energy-companies-green-tariffs?utm_source=Daily+Carbon+Briefing&utm_campaign=d25773c7a5-DAILY_BRIEFING&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_876aab4fd7-d25773c7a5-303422297

If you haven’t already become a Good Energy customer (the UK’s only 100% renewable electricity supplier) then join me and use your vote as a green consumer and switch now!
Find out how to switch to a truly green supplier here: www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/energy/switch-energy-suppliers



12
JUL

Theresa McManus says:
A Moral Economy: Micro / Community Renewable Generation


Category: Community Energy, Renewable Energy
Tags:


This really interesting article called ‘Can Germany afford its ‘energy bender’ shift to green power?’ by Matt McGrath, Environment correspondent for BBC News, gives a glimpse into what an expansion of micro / community renewable generation could look like if it was whole-heartedly supported by our government here in the UK.

It also highlights some of the difficulties of the transition from big-business profit-focussed generation. I really like the idea of the ‘moral economy’!

Read the article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23127175



20
JUN

Theresa McManus says:
Alaska Wind Farm in Dorset – Challenge thrown out


Category: Dorset Energized News, Wind Power
Tags:


A legal challenge against a four-turbine wind farm near Wareham, on the edge of a Dorset area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), was rejected by a High Court judge last week, following a nine-day public inquiry, as reported by Michael Donnelly in Planning Resource (www.planningresource.co.uk).

According to Donnelly, as well as rejecting all complaints and upholding the planning permission, the judge also noted that the government’s National Planning Policy Framework generally favours renewable energy developments and requires local authorities to promote energy generation from renewable and low carbon sources.

Excellent news for Dorset as we desperately need more on-shore wind turbines to help people realise that they aren’t as bad as the scaremongerers amongst us would like you to believe. It is also good news for all the people involved in investing in, and setting up and running wind turbines, so that provided a planning application ticks all the right boxes, it will be approved, even if it has to go to appeal. And lastly it is good news for everyone, as much much more of the energy we use needs to come from sustainable renewables rather than fossil fuels in order to protect our futures.

For the full article go to: http://www.planningresource.co.uk/Development_Control/login/1186197.

For more information on  Wind Power check out our page here: www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/energy/wind-power.



18
APR

Theresa McManus says:
National Trust to generate half of its power from renewable sources by 2020


Category: Climate Change, Fracking, Renewable Energy
Tags:


This is really great news! According to the BBC News today, the National Trust has revealed a plan to generate half of its power from renewable sources by 2020.

A respected organisation demonstrating the kind of leadership that the urgency of climate change demands. And doubly super that it is an organisation people closely associate with conservation. They clearly realise that climate change presents an incredible threat to our natural and built heritage.

We have already seen over the last 12 months in Dorset the number of coastal landslips massively increase because of our increasingly stormy weather, and the amount of flooding increase. Weather extremes, rising temperatures, and migrating diseases (for plants and animals) will all affect our natural landscape, as will fracking and shale gas extraction if we don’t reduce our demand for fossil fuels…

Read more: www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22189743.

For more information on your renewable energy options at home and here in Dorset visit: www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/energy.



11
APR

Theresa McManus says:
70% of UK public want action on climate change


Category: Climate Change
Tags:


An interesting article has been published by Carbon Brief who report on the latest developments in climate science, and fact-checks stories about climate and energy online and in the press. They are funded by the European Climate Foundation, whose objective is to reduce emissions.

Carbon Brief published the results of polling on energy and climate change issues, over the Easter bank holiday.

According to their results, 69% of UK adults believe scientists and meteorologists are trustworthy sources of accurate information about climate science. Politicians fare rather worse, polling at just 7%  – in joint last place with blogs and social media.

The poll also reveals that 89% believe climate change is happening, though there appears to be a split over whether people think it’s caused by humans or not. Interestingly, this split was not echoed in whether people want to see action to tackle climate change, though. Nearly 70% said they want the government to act to avoid warming.

Polling expert Leo Barasi writes that the results show ‘belief’ in climate change really doesn’t mean that much – people tend to trust climate scientists and want to see action on climate change, and doubts about whether climate change is happening aren’t rising.

For more information and articles visit www.carbonbrief.org.



10
APR

Theresa McManus says:
Germany leading the way in clean energy to empower the people


Category: Biomass Energy, Renewable Energy
Tags:


With my work for DEAC (Dorset Energy Advice Centre) I have come across this very interesting extract from The Power Book, published by the Local Government Information Unit in September 2012, that I wanted to make available to Dorset Energized users…

Allies in Energiewende by Alan Simpson

WHILE Britain’s ‘radical’ energy thinking gets no further than ‘community buying schemes’, wrapped around the old ‘rigged’ market, Germany has been changing the nature of the market itself.

German towns, cities and regions (of different sizes and persuasions) are now seeking to bring electricity distribution grids into social ownership. This runs from small districts right up to the current initiative in Berlin, where the City is seeking to buy its power distribution network back from the utility, Vattenfall. What the Germans have understood (and we have not) is that transforming the energy market has far more to do with power – democratic power – than with electricity.

A different energy future
The Germans have opened the door on a different way of thinking about energy futures and energy security. In promoting a more open, competitive energy market, successive German governments have also become less afraid to take on the vested interests of their big power companies.

This profound change in energy thinking is at the core of all the practical changes in German energy policy. Break the umbilical link between the power station and the light switch in your home, and it becomes easier to explore the different elements that will make up tomorrow’s energy systems; selling demand reduction rather than increased consumption, using smart technologies that deliver more but use less, and extending community ownership of energy generation and distribution networks.

Empowering the people
Since 1990, German citizens have had a legal right to be producers and suppliers of electricity to their grid system. Two-way meters are a given, not an experiment. German households expect to know how much energy they produce as well as how much they consume. While Britain still plods through a tortuous debate about ‘trials’ of two way meters, the Germans have been using them to transform energy politics. The right to generate became the power to transform. It also provided the platform for constructing a more open, democratic and sustainable energy market.

Germany’s big step-change came in the early 2000s, when the government introduced a system of preferential Feed-in-Tariffs (FITs). These tariffs paid people more for the ‘clean’ energy they produced than the cost of energy they consumed from the grid. In all cases, FITs payment rates decline over time. Ultimately, each technology must ‘wash its own face’ economically; becoming market competitive or being displaced by something that is.

On anyone’s terms, Germany’s renewable energy programme has been astonishing.
The graph above only paints a partial picture. It does not show how, in less than a decade, Germany’s FITs programme has:

  • delivered over 400,000 new jobs
  • transformed an energy sector, that once had only four major suppliers, into one with over two million contributors
  • brought in over €30 billion of private investment a year
  • delivered lower German power prices than they had five years ago, and
  • operated without public subsidy.

Started under the Social Democratic Party/Green administration and continued by Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, this is not a bad decade’s work, even by German standards. But the most telling statistics are in the ownership pattern of the renewable energy investment.

Over 50% of Germany’s renewable energy generation is owned by households, communities and farmers. Energy utilities own less than 13% of the new generating capacity.

The energy war zone
Energy transformation is still a war zone, even in Germany, and not mainly because of climate sceptics. As in the UK, old power empires refuse to die easily. A fierce battle is being waged by ‘old energy’ to sabotage today’s transformations. Britain may have led the last two energy revolutions – from wood to coal, and from coal to oil – but the same vested interests keep us locked at the margins of the current energy revolution. In Germany, energy companies tried to block policy changes by dragging the government through the European courts; saying that new policies were anti-competitive or market distorting. The energy companies lost. In the UK, ‘old energy’ opted (more successfully) for the colonisation of Whitehall. The outcome can be seen in the shambles of the Draft Energy Bill. Its framework would leave Britain with an even more closed energy market, saddle customers with ever spiralling energy bills, introduce a new £5 billion a year nuclear subsidy, and ensure that successive governments could not meet current UK climate targets. It is an agenda for ‘dead-end’ Britain.
As the Germans discovered, the way to become a leader in tomorrow’s energy revolution lies as much in the empowerment of citizens as in the shift into particular technologies. Germany simply put the interests of citizens before those of corporations.

Within the last decade Germany has installed over 60GW of renewable energy capacity; the same as the UK’s current daily energy consumption. Last year alone they installed 7GW; more than the UK installed in over a decade. German power prices are lower today than they were five years ago and the country remains a net exporter of electricity. We are a million miles adrift. Britain may be at the bottom of today’s EU’s ‘renewable energy’ league, but this was where Germany started from too. They went from the bottom to the top in less than a decade. All it took was ‘vision’ and ‘leadership’.

Allies in ‘Energiewende’
Germany is still at the beginning of its ‘Energiewende’ programme – their energy transformation plan. By 2020, Germany intends to generate 35% of its power needs from renewables and to reduce energy consumption by 20%.

But the beauty of Energiewende is in its ability to weave the interests of industry, local communities and environmental groups, into a unified consensus for radical change. The result has been massive public involvement in German energy policy, along with a sense of social ownership of the transformation. In no small measure, this has been built on the ability of Feed-in-Tariffs to drive down power prices; something the UK Treasury seems intellectually incapable of grasping.

Breaking the energy cartel
Britain’s energy market reform debate has not managed to escape the dead hand of Treasury insistence that FITs have to be treated as (capped) public expenditure. The Germans refused to accept such nonsense. From the start, German FITs have been treated as independent elements in energy sector accounting. What then made the difference is Germany’s decision to give priority grid access for all renewables. German solar and wind energy are the first power sources fed in to the energy system. It leaves incumbent power providers to alter their energy mix and output to ensure a balance between power demand and supply.

German utilities no longer control energy supply (and energy prices). Renewable energy drives down peak electricity demand and now supplies anything from 30% to 100% of German electricity needs. This has driven the fall in German power prices.

It may have angered ‘big energy’ but this has been seized on by the country’s big industrial/ technology companies. Bosch, Infineon, Siemens, VW, BMW and others, have become the leading edge of the new energy revolution.
Innovation and invention are at the core of the energy efficiency and ‘grid balancing’ mechanisms that tomorrow’s energy systems will revolve around.

Germany has grasped (before most others) that the ‘iPad generation’ will see smart technologies driving huge increases in energy capacity, on the back of huge reductions in power consumption. It will also deliver innovative ways of storing electricity as well as using it. This will define a completely different landscape of energy thinking. The game is being taken away from the power companies, and the power companies hate it.

A different economics
So, how does Britain get into the game? It is hard to find common ground between what passes for an energy debate in the UK and the deliberations that have been taking place elsewhere. What the UK defines as unaffordable, Germany sees as pivotal. What we count as a cost, the German’s recalculate as a gain. Where the Coalition produces ‘reforms’ that would lock Britain into an (increasingly unaffordable) past, Germany presses towards a more sustainable future.

In achieving a 40% carbon reduction target, by 2020, Germany expects to:

  • create 500,000 new jobs
  • save €22 billion in avoided fossil fuel import costs (rising to €38 billion by 2030)
  • boost GDP by €20 billion per year
  • make German national debt €180 billion lower (by 2030) than it would have been without their climate protection measures, and
  • deliver a surplus of 34 euro cents on every tonne of carbon saved.

It would be easy to conclude that the trouble with ‘those bloody Germans’ is that they are just bloody good. But then, we could be too.

In Germany, it began with a willingness to think beyond yesterday’s energy agenda and yesterday’s energy interests. Energiewende is based on a different understanding of tomorrow’s energy systems, their use and their ownership. This is where Britain must be too.

A step-change is needed in Britain’s energy thinking. Learning some of the lessons from Germany would be helpful. But what we really need is a different vision for a new energy future.

Extracted from The Power Book, published by the Local Government Information Unit, September 2012

Alan Simpson was Labour MP for Nottingham South from 1992 – 2010. After advising Ministers on renewable energy policy, he left Parliament to concentrate on energy and environment policies. He and his family live in an eco-house they converted in the middle of Nottingham. He is a net supplier of electricity to the grid.
For more information contact: alan@alansimpson.org


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • AmberGreen Heating comments:
    "The UK can definitely learn from Germany when it comes to embracing renewable energy. The problem with the UK is that there are government incentives for those who use renewable energy but they aren’t widely known by the public. "
    January 13, 2014 a 3:09 pm


02
APR

Theresa McManus says:
Cold Man of Europe: UK suffers worst fuel poverty in western Europe


Category: Fuel Poverty & Security
Tags:


According to the Carbon Action Network, new research released this week shows the UK suffers the worst fuel poverty in western Europe and comes bottom of a fuel poverty league table for western Europe.

The press release on the Report from the Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) and the Energy Bill Revolution campaign, states:

Woeful levels of insulation in this country’s homes are sending energy bills through the roof for people in the UK, according to the figures from the Association for the Conservation for Energy and the Energy Bill Revolution campaign.

Although most other European countries face higher energy prices than those of the UK, better quality home insulation means our European neighbours pay less to heat their homes.

The heat leaking from the UK’s homes is condemning over five million households to fuel poverty this winter, and this number is predicted to rise to eight million within the next four years.

The ranking table giving the estimated share of households in energy poverty is as follows:

1 Netherlands 8.1%
2 Belgium 8.9%
3 Sweden 11.2%
4 Austria 11.9%
5 Slovenia 12.0%
6 Denmark 12.4%
7 Germany 12.6%
8 Finland 13.0%
9 Ireland 13.5%
10 Luxembourg 13.6%
11 Czech Republic 14.5%
12 France 16.2%
13 UK 19.2%

To read more and download the full report visit: www.energybillrevolution.org



06
MAR

Theresa McManus says:
The Story of Stuff Movie


Category: Climate Change, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy Film/Video, Sustainable Living
Tags:


You must watch this great video on The Story of Stuff! From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.

Be inspired to modify your general consumption by watching The Story of Stuff video below and for even more videos visit: www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all.

We’ve also recently updated our own Dorset Energized website with our own energy saving and sustainability tips too.
Check out our updated Energy Efficiency section and our Sustainable Living pages for tips on; Home, Travel, Food, Waste and Water.



31
JAN

Theresa McManus says:
Green Deal or No Green Deal


Category: Climate Change, Dorset Energized News, Energy Efficiency, Green Deal, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy
Tags:


You may have heard on the news about Green Deal – a new scheme for funding a wide range of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in order to encourage take up of these measures across the UK. Alongside the Green Deal there is the Energy Company Obligation, (ECO), which will be providing grant funding where market-driven measures won’t easily work.

Green Deal
The government launched the Green Deal in October 2012, and launched it again on Monday of this week as the finance for this scheme is now officially available. The Green Deal is a loan for one or many measures where the cost of the loan repayment is LESS THAN the amount of money saved on the energy bills, so not only is there no up front cost, there should be no ongoing costs. Furthermore, this loan is linked to the property not the person, so when someone sells their home, the new owner will take on the residue of the loan as they will also be receiving the benefits of the measures installed.

The process for arranging a Green Deal loan is new, and doubtless there will be a few teething problems. It starts with arranging for a Green Deal Assessment, which is carried out by either a Greed Deal Assessor or by a chartered surveyor or by someone whose assessment is reviewed and signed off by a chartered surveyor. This assessment looks at the energy demand of the property, and at the heating system, and at how the property is used. All properties currently have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which was produced by a Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA). A Green Deal Assessment is mostly the same but with some extra bits tagged on. To help provide customer confidence, Green Deal Assessors must be accredited. The report produced as a result of the assessment will identify a range of possible measures that could help improve the energy efficiency of the property and/or could provide renewable energy generation. The sum of money saved from implementing all of these measures over their individual lifetimes must work out less than the loan repayments for them to be eligible for the Green Deal loan.

The customer can take the Green Deal Assessment Report and go to ANY Green Deal Provider in order to continue. It is a bit like taking your prescription from your optician to any store to buy frames/lenses.
A Green Deal Provider will look at the Green Deal Assessment Report and discuss with the customer what their options are. The customer may not want to progress all of it or may also want extra bits done that wouldn’t be covered by the Green Deal. The Green Deal Provider will have access to a source of Green Deal funding, although approval is subject to a credit check. A Green Deal Plan for implementing one or a number of measures is then developed and agreed by both parties with a suitable cooling off period.

The Green Deal Provider will arrange for the measures to be installed. Once the installation is complete, then the loan repayments will be added to the electricity bill for the customer. (The reason it is added to the electricity bill is that not everyone is on gas.)

More information on the Green Deal can be found on the DEAC website including a PDF we have produced: www.deac.co.uk/Green-deal

To find a Green Deal Assessor or a Green Deal Provider near you, have a look at: http://www.greendealorb.co.uk

ECO
ECO grant funding replaces the old CERT grants, and is supposed to be available now, but some of the details may still require clarification by Ofgem. Ofgem has provided each of the big energy suppliers with targets to reach for funding energy efficiency projects for vulnerable people, and for people in particular areas, and for people with particularly hard to treat homes. The funding can be applied for directly to the supplier, through a broker, or for Green Deal Providers, through a new online auctioning system.

ECO is divided into 3 funding streams:

1. Carbon Saving Communities Obligation (CSCO)
This provides insulation measures to households in specified areas of low income. It also makes sure that 15% of each supplier’s obligation is used to upgrade more hard-to-reach low-income households in rural areas.

2. Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO – formerly Affordable Warmth Obligation)
This provides heating and insulation measures to consumers living in private tenure properties that receive particular means-tested benefits. This obligation supports low-income consumers that are vulnerable to the impact of living in cold homes, including the elderly, disabled and families.

3. Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (CERO – formerly Carbon Saving Obligation)
This covers the installation of measures like solid wall and hard-to-treat cavity wall insulation, which ordinarily can’t be financed solely through the Green Deal.

The official source of advice on the Green Deal and ECO is the Energy Savings Trust at: http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Take-action/Find-a-grant/Green-Deal-and-ECO

For Dorset advice on Green Deal, ECO and other local grants, contact myself or my colleagues at DEAC on 0800 975 0166 or at: info@deac.co.uk



20
DEC

Theresa McManus says:
Renewables keep household fuel bills lower than gas


Category: Climate Change, Fuel Poverty & Security, Green Electricity & Gas, Renewable Energy, Renewable Heat Energy
Tags: , , , ,


Here’s some warming news for Winter!

RenewableUK, the trade and professional body representing the wind, wave and tidal energy industries, has welcomed a report last week by the Committee on Climate Change which shows that generating energy from renewable sources will keep British household fuel bills lower than relying on expensive fossil fuels such as gas.

The CCC’s report highlights the fact that increases in gas prices drove household bills up by 62% between 2004 and 2011. In comparison, support for the entire spectrum of low-carbon technologies, including renewables, led to an increase of less than 10% over the same period.

Looking ahead, the Committee warns of the risks of focussing investment on unabated gas-fired generation, which it says could push household bills £600 higher in 2050 compared to relying on low-carbon sources of electricity.

The Committee also states that support for the entire range of low-carbon technologies will increase domestic bills by around £100 by 2020 (a 10% increase on the 2011 bill) – far lower than figures quoted in some media reports.

Maria McCaffery, RenewableUK Chief Executive, said:
“This report proves that the pound in your pocket is safer with renewables, rather than with gas. We know how much renewables cost, but gas has proved to be an extraordinarily volatile commodity. We must loosen its grip, for the sake of all of us hard-pressed bill payers, by switching to a more affordable mix of renewable sources. The Committee on Climate Change’s authoritative report is warning against a dash for gas. The Chancellor should take note of their expert opinion, rather than being swayed by a small minority of less well-informed voices.”

The report came on the day that the Energy Secretary, Edward Davey, announced that shale gas would not contribute to the UK’s energy mix for some time to come, and that what he described as the “seismic risks” brought by shale would be subject to new controls.

Mr Davey said: “We are still in the very early stages of shale gas exploration in the UK and it is likely to develop slowly. It is essential that its development should not come at the expense of local communities or the environment”.

In the meantime I highly recommend you switch your electricity and gas supply to Good Energy’s 100% renewable energy today. I have been with them for at least 10 years now and they offer a very competitive tariff plus you can save £50 off your first bill by simple quoting ‘Dorset Energized’. Switch to Good Energy here: http://www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/energy/switch-energy-suppliers



12
DEC

Theresa McManus says:
Navitus Bay Wind Farm Proposals in Poole Bay Scaled Back


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


The BCC have reported that Navitus Bay Development Ltd has announced a “significant reduction” to its proposed wind park in Poole Bay, between Dorset and the Isle of Wight.

In my opinion, it is a sad day for our civilisation when the short-sighted and subjective conservative desires of the few outweigh the needs of the many.

How many of those vociferous few who have forced the plans for Navitus Bay to be scaled down have been taking action to reduce their energy demand so that we can do without these additional renewable resources?

For the full BBC article go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-20682124

To take positive steps to reduce your own energy demand, see the Dorset Energized page on Energy Efficiency here: www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/energy/energy-efficiency and for more information on Wind Power click here: www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/energy/wind-power


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Keith Wheaton-Green comments:
    "I agree the reduction in size is disappointing but at least there is still a project to be had; and hopefully the voices from the community will feel that they have been listened to and raise no further objections. "
    December 17, 2012 a 11:58 am


23
NOV

Theresa McManus says:
Dorset Energized’s First Reaction to the Energy Bill


Category: Climate Change, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Wind Power
Tags: , , ,


The Dorset Energized team have been waiting for the release of the Energy bill which is designed to encourage low carbon investment such as new windfarms.

We have been given that the Tories have been grappling with the lib dems and derailing all their plans for utopia from day 1 (remember proportional representation?). I guess it was only a matter of time before they put a spike in the wheel of their arch-enemies’ chariot – the world famous Climate Change Act introduced by Labour.

A few years ago I went to Whitehall with Tony Hamilton from Poole Agenda 21, where we were proposing that Climate Change is a planetary emergency that needs to be dealt with outside of party politics – a bit like the government during the last war. How visible does that emergency need to be before party idealogy can be put aside? Anyone notice the juxtaposition of news about the Energy Bill and the news about widespread flooding?

By deferring setting carbon targets, especially when those targets need to be front-end-loaded, just makes the overall aim of reducing our carbon emissions to 20% of what they were in 1990 so much more difficult to reach, especially when even the emissions the government have been reporting for the UK (which are not the whole picture) have shown a 20% increase since 1990.

All the more reason for people to start taking action by themselves!
We can all help to get the UK and the planet out of this mess.

Use less energy, use it more efficiently, and where you can generate renewable energy, and pester your MP to start taking your opinions on energy and climate change into account.

As a start, check out our pages on switching to a renewable energy supplier and some of our tips on Energy Efficiency.


2Comments | Post your own comment

  • vince adams comments:
    "I agree with Theresa’s comments its time for us to act if our Governments will not.
    Install renewables, don’t change to gas, turn to bio-mass etc
    Pester your local MP ask him what he thinks and ask him to come out publicly.
    Do everything to get this message out there and use this site to advise, help, offer hope for the future. "

    November 23, 2012 a 8:40 pm

  • Sophie comments:
    "There is a great link on the Greenpeace site I found which gives the lowdown on the Energy Bill in simple terms for people like me who find the whole thing baffling. http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/newsdesk/energy/analysis/energy-market-reform-six-things-you-need-know I switched to Good Energy this week through this site – so I can use my money personally to encourage low carbon investment. Can’t sit around waiting for the government to take action can we? "
    November 23, 2012 a 12:45 pm


12
NOV

Theresa McManus says:
FREE Fuel poverty awareness training in West Dorset 21st & 27th November 2012


Category: Energy Efficiency, Energy Events in Dorset, Fuel Poverty & Security, Sustainable Living
Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Dorset Energy Advice Centre are offering FREE fuel poverty awareness training for Community, Volunteer, Health and other home-visiting professionals and volunteers.

The training will cover:
• Definition of Fuel Poverty
• The Causes
• Health implications
• The help available

You will also receive resources, including a “fuel poverty checklist” to assist you in spotting those in fuel poverty. Each session lasts two hours and you only need to attend one session:

Session 1
Wednesday 21st November 9.30 – 11.30am, Room 1, the Bournemouth Learning Centre, Ensbury Avenue, BH10 4HG

Session 2
Tuesday 27th November 9.30 – 11.30am, Committee Room 3, County Hall, Dorchester, DT1 1XJ

Places are limited to a total of 25 on a first come first served basis, so please contact me, Theresa McManus, at DEAC to book your place now: info@deac.co.uk / 0800 975 0166.

This training is kindly funded by Bournemouth LINks.
A Local Involvement Network (LINk) is a network of local people and groups who have joined forces to improve health and social care services by listening to people like you. They’re independent of the local council and the NHS and exist throughout England. There’s a LINk local to where you live. Register with LINks today to have your say: http://www.makesachange.org.uk



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
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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.



10
OCT

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


Category: Renewable Energy
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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.



08
OCT

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


Category: Electric Transport
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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


08
AUG

Theresa McManus says:
Greenest Olympics Ever?


Category: Climate Change, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living
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There has already been a lot of praise for the achievements of the London Olympics in the field of sustainability, as well as for the amazing sportspeople taking part. A great deal of emphasis has been placed on these games being the greenest ever.

In the early planning stages in 2005, the organisers involved the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and BioRegional in determining the sustainability benchmark, defined in a report called Towards a One Planet Olympics. This has recently reviewed (see http://www.bioregional.com/files/publications/towards-a-one-planet-olympics-revisited.pdf) and on the whole a lot of good progress has been made. Whilst praising the Games green credentials, this report warned that organisers were likely to miss a target to deliver 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources. However, this disaster has now been averted as the Olympic Park now sports 7 vertical axis turbines, provided by British manufacture Quiet Revolution. They are each 18-metres tall with 8kW of capacity and can provide up to 7,500 kWh of power a year if average wind speeds reach seven metres per second.

The UN has also praised London’s Olympic achievements. Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), says the eco achievements of the London 2012 Games should act as an inspiration for following organisers: “London’s clean-up of an old industrial site; the restoration of flows and habitat on the River Lea; the greening of supply chains; the low energy linked with the design and construction of the stadium, including utilizing old gas pipes for the facility’s Olympic ring; and the use of temporary structures to reduce emissions are among the actions that can assist in inspiring the organizers of the Rio 2016 games and beyond” .

Meanwhile, some questions have been asked of the sustainability of some of the sponsors – notably EDF and BP, especially as The Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 (CSL), which oversees the provision of sustainability for London 2012, yet was not involved in selecting these partners. When EDF failed to deliver their low carbon torch, CSL made a point of embarrassing them in their latest report, ‘In sight of the finishing line.’  The report notes: “The promise of a low-carbon torch was made in 2007 so the excuse of “we ran out of time” is not acceptable”.

The big skeleton in the Olympic’s closet, however, is clothing. According to Kathy Marks, in the Independent on 14/4/2012, “Olympic-branded gear – to be worn by British athletes and Games volunteers – is being manufactured for Adidas in sweatshop conditions in Indonesia, making a mockery of claims by London 2012 organisers that this summer’s Games will be the most ethical ever”. She goes on to say that “the German company – which unveiled its Stella McCartney-designed kit for British athletes last month – hopes to make £100m from its Olympic lines, the mainly young, female factory employees work up to 65 hours (25 hours more than the standard working week), for desperately low pay. They also endure verbal and physical abuse, they allege, are forced to work overtime, and are punished for not reaching production targets. None of the nine factories pays its employees a living wage – about 20 per cent higher than the official minimum wage – one of the cornerstones of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) base code, an internationally recognised labour code adopted by the Olympics organising committee, Locog. Workers struggle to survive on pay as low as 5,000 rupiah (34p) an hour.”.

Please let us know what you think of the Olympic’s green credentials – they may well be the greenest ever so far, but are they any where near green enough?


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • vince adams comments:
    "Our wonderful Olympians are amazing Ambassador’s for sporting achievement of course but is anyone of them ready to be an Ambassador for Renewable Energy ??
    If anyone know’s or has contact with one of our local Dorset/South West members of team GB and they might be interested in helping DE to popularise its message amongst all the people of Dorset please do let us know
    info@dorsetenerzied.co.uk "

    August 16, 2012 a 11:38 am


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