Archive for ‘Green Electricity’


20
MAY

Vince Adams says:
Gaia Vince, Anthropocene & more


Category: Energy Efficiency, Green Electricity, Solar Energy, Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,


Gaia Vince, Anthropocene & more

An American friend of mine suggested I read Gaia Vince and her latest book Anthropocene a journey through our Planet. I’m normally into spy thrillers and the like so getting into something substantial like this is quite a challenge if like me you read at bedtime and the eyes close ever more quickly.

So I got started and the first chapter was all about the high villages of Nepal and the problems that they are experiencing. Pollution , lack of water, lack of education and modern technology. Frankly the sheer physicality of the lives people in Nepal are leading and their resilience was inspiring within only a few paragraphs.

Then the earthquake struck and thousands of deaths, people made homeless, lack of food and water etc etc

My adventure into Gaia’s book was warning of the dangers. If you dry out the Mountains, lose the Glaciers the earth becomes unstable. Soon the tectonic plates begin to re-act and the inevitable result is earthquakes and many of them.

Today people are living outside because daily quakes are happening and the people are afraid to go inside even if their homes have survived.

You could despair, wring your hands and send off another cheque to Oxfam or invest in a copy of Gaia’s book. It will inspire you with what individual people are doing. One man is creating Glaciers to replace the ones lost by global warming and its effects. Another group are creating internet networks almost out of tin cans. Renewable energy is being developed but they must be careful not to overuse Hydro as water is such a scarce commodity. Parallel this with Chile and its plan to destroy parts of the wilderness in Patagonia with huge hydro schemes to fuel growth thousands of miles away in its cities. This for a country that has huge seaboard boundaries that could create networks of on-shore wind turbines, tidal and wave power projects and save Patagonia.

Anyway I hope I have given you a starter for ten and a reason to buy the book.

If you want to know more from the people of Nepal whats happening on the ground take this link to:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.846010735435291.1073741904.177160615653643&type=1

Of this I shall write more very soon but here`s another thumbnail from the US.

My friend sent me the following latest report from the USA which in part is positive in part what we expect. But with knowledge and communication we can better tackle the future together.

” Although our leaders here in the US are far behind other leaders around the world there is a lot of activity. Solar installations on homes and businesses as well as major power plants are rapidly on the rise, wind farms have proven to be especially profitable and are become common in most US states and our rapid development of natural gas has at least made a dent in the coal fired power plants (I like to see the natural gas become a thing of the past as well but that seems unlikely in the near future). Unfortunately fracking for oil has been so successful that gasoline prices have dropped and Americans with very short memories have begun buying SUV’s again at a record pace. I wonder if the oil companies have offered lower gas prices because hybrids and EV’s were starting to catch hold of the public. Gas has started to rise again and will likely pass $4 a US gallon this summer. The new SUV owners will wail and complain that the President is to blame while oil companies will for the nth year in a row see record profits. So it goes”


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Keith Wheaton-Green comments:
    "We need to recognize that hydropower doesn’t use water. Its not consumptive. It merely extracts some energy as the water falls back to the sea "
    May 22, 2015 a 9:14 am


29
APR

Guest Energizer says:
Renewable Energy Marketplace 2015


Category: Electric Transport, Green Electricity, Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,


Renewable Energy Marketplace 2015

As the Environment and Community Services Apprentice for North Dorset District Council. The Renewable Energy Marketplace 2015 provided me with an excellent opportunity to find out more about local companies as well those further afield who shared my general philosophy and interest in renewables with a view to identifying possible future employment opportunities. I was grateful to Vince Adams, co-founder of Energise Stur Valley who very kindly sponsored my attendance as well as providing transport to the event in his electric car, so minimising our impact on the environment. I was extremely fortunate that following an initial discussion, a local renewable energy company offered me a post as administrator. Although extremely flattered I indicated that I wish to complete my apprenticeship at North Dorset prior to securing further employment within the industry.

The event hosted a good range of companies including installers, facilitators and informers. At the start there was a stimulating debate between the local (to Exeter) leaders of the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and The Green Party. They took questions from attendees and there were clearly many differences in opinion. Diana Moore representing The Green Party made clear her disagreement with the views put forward by Neil Parish representing the Conservatives. The debate has not affected who I plan to vote for in the upcoming elections, although it has encouraged me to undertake further research into the finer details of each party’s policies.

The stalls were well grouped in terms of subject matter and the stall holders were all very approachable, knowledgeable and keen to promote their organisations. The arts and communities section was of particular interest and through discussion I met a fellow attendee who is considering putting on an Eco Fashion Show in Dorchester, so I may get involved in this as I enjoy textiles and fashion. There were various seminars including one on arts and energy which discussed Whitby the Musical, a performance which uses the opportunity of using musical theatre to portray a positive image of the renewable energy industry. It would be the first of its kind and a brilliant way of getting local communities on board with a renewable energy scheme and raising awareness amongst young people.

Outside the exhibition area there were several electric and hybrid cars, which in addition to my conversation with Vince travelling to and from the event, persuaded me that they offered a viable future mode of transport, particularly now that charging points are more widely available including at service stations. The choice of cars available on the current market is varied ranging from a little run-around such as the Toyota Yaris Hybrid to the larger BMW i8. Some of the cars could be test driven which was a great way to attract future customers and raising interest in them.

The Renewable Energy Bake Off was quite a success and there were some very decorative cupcakes with wind turbines, solar panels and other renewables iced on which someone had carefully crafted. The cakes were delicious and particularly welcome given there was little else on offer in terms of food at the event. Next time, I would suggest having a greater range of stalls providing local produce.

In terms of attendees it appeared only to attract those already involved in the renewables market in some way, rather than wider members of the public. I feel it would have been beneficial and more attractive to wider audiences if admission had been free rather than £18 entry plus £54 if wishing to attend a conference.

Overall the event was a success with Westpoint in Exeter buzzing with environmental enthusiasts and companies. There were many interesting organisations and individuals available and it was an ideal opportunity to network. I hope to attend again in the future.

This is a first posting to our site by Kathryn Flint



27
APR

John Olver says:
Tesla Tour of America’s Southwest


Category: Electric Transport, Green Electricity, Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,


Tesla Tour of America’s Southwest

Roger Manley bought his Tesla Model S about six months ago and has put quite a few miles on it since then. He and his wife and son are adding a lot more miles while touring America’s National Parks in Arizona and Utah. I’ll let Roger tell the tale.

Hi John, I’m sitting in my Tesla charging at the Buckeye supercharger. I am meeting Carolann at airport at 3 PM this afternoon. We’re staying in Scottsdale for the week. My son Brian is flying into Flagstaff next Saturday and we are driving a loop around southern Utah to see the national parks. I left yesterday and stayed Needles last night. I’ve driven seven hundred and 20 miles to the Buckeye charging station. I didn’t have to wait anywhere except for Barstow because there is a lot of traffic going to Las Vegas for some major convention. Thought I’d let you know that I’m taking the Tesla on the trip! The Tesla is working perfectly and getting the mileage that I expected based on evtripplanner.com.

The goal of this trip was to try out the Tesla on a long drive, using supercharger capability where possible and a few RV parks along the way. The first leg of the trip was driving from Monterey to Phoenix. The second leg from Phoenix through Southern Utah with stops in Monument Valley, and then four National Parks including Arches, Canyon Lands, Bryce Canyon, and Zion. I also planned the entire trip on Evtripplanner.com. This allowed me to select the route with energy usage estimates for the various charging legs. Overall, I found this tool to be fairly accurate and would recommend it highly. In addition the 6.2 release from Tesla was received the week before I left and it promised “the end of range anxiety” with its new trip planner software. However, it is a beta version currently. It worked fine until I got to the first stop and then I couldn’t get it to recognize my second planned stop at Mojave. There weren’t a lot of directions on usage so maybe it was pilot error on my part. After I finally got it to cancel, I went back to using the Energy Usage App showing the Trip Leg planned in Navigation which estimates battery usage at the finish point. I find that works really well and matches closely to Evtripplanner estimates. I’m sure the new software will get better with the next OTA release.

The first day my goal was to drive from Monterey to Needles. Initially I had planned to drive through Los Angeles and Palm Springs, but found the Coachella Music Festival was going on at that time and there wasn’t a place to sleep within a 100 miles of the Indio Supercharger. So with the Mojave Supercharger just opening I decided to go north and stay out of the traffic. My first stop was Harris Ranch in Coalinga after a beautiful drive over highway 198 from just south of King City. It was 127 miles. I used 40.4 kWh at 318 W/m with 44% battery left. I was a bit surprised that I used 144 rated miles. But, I figured out it was 46 degrees that morning which probably increased energy usage slightly.

Harris Ranch is a huge beef “CAFO” with restaurant and Inn. There were 8 superchargers and space when I arrived, but within a few minutes all were full. Most of the time I was charging at 87 to 120 amps. I believe this is one of the original superchargers and isn’t as fast as the new ones which are much more powerful. Next stop was the Mojave Supercharger. Actual mileage was 164 and rate miles used was 185. I used 51.5 kWh at 315 W/m. Arrived at Mojave with 57 rated miles left. The rated miles are higher on this leg because of the approximate 3000 foot climb up the mountains out of Bakersfield. The Mojave Supercharger is brand new and charges very fast. It is located in a small shopping center next to a cafe that serves Mexican food, a grocery store, and a few other various shops. Third stop of the day was in Barstow, only 73 miles from Mojave, but I wanted to top off for the longer drive to Needles. Barstow was very busy on this Friday afternoon. All eight superchargers were full and I had to wait about 10 minutes for an open stall. Barstow is a huge freeway crossroads with lots of traffic from L.A. to Las Vegas. Apparently there were some big conventions in Vegas that weekend. There were several new P85D’s there and that was the first time I had seen one. The Barstow Supercharger has a solar platform over 4 of the charging stalls that also provides shade. I used 76 rated miles, 20.7 kWh at 284 W/m.

I left Barstow and set out to Needles, my last stop of the day. I arrived around 6:15 pm after starting the day at 7am. The last leg was 149 miles and I used 152 rated miles. I used 43 kWh at 288 W/mile. I arrived at Needles with 35% battery left. Needles has 4 superchargers at a Shell station and I was the only one charging there. It was right next to the Rio Del Sol Motel where I stayed that night. Total mileage that day was 515 miles. I made 3 charging stops that day which added about 2 hours and 45 minutes. I actually enjoyed having an hour off every couple hours so I could eat or stretch. I charged in Needles for about 45 minutes that evening. One other note, the first leg of the drive was cool under 50 degrees so I had the air conditioning off and just used the fan. The rest of the day had warmed up, mostly high 70’s to low 80’s and I used the air conditioner the whole way and still achieved the efficiencies as listed above. I was pretty happy that the EPA numbers for the car were pretty accurate and Evtripplanner was a great tool.

The next morning I was and on the road to Phoenix via the Quartzsite and Buckeye supercharger stops. The first leg to Quartzsite was straight south from Needles about 100 miles. I saw about 4 cars the entire way and desert landscape was beautiful. Arrived in Quartzsite at 8:30am after driving 105 miles. I used 110 rated miles, 32.1 kWh at 303 W/m and 45% battery left. There were 6 superchargers there and I was the only one charging. The last leg to the Buckeye Supercharger was 101 miles. I arrived at 11am, using 119 rate miles, 34 kWh, and 336 W/mile. The speed limit was 75 and I ran at 77 mph the whole way. I arrived with 42% battery left. It was 79 degrees. Each of the superchargers is located with restaurants or shopping near by, some better than others. I made one stop each day at a Rest Stop on the side of the road. California and Arizona have quite a few along the way.

From Buckeye I drove about 30 miles to the Phoenix Airport to pick up my wife and then off to the Westin Kierland Villas where we are spending this week. The total trip was 763 miles. I stopped at 6 superchargers along the way. I may not have needed to stop in Barstow, but I didn’t want to take a chance since this was my first voyage out in the Starship Teslaprise, yes, that is what I named my car. The Tesla ran perfectly the whole way. For the most part it was uneventful and I saw some beautiful scenery and learned a lot how the car really operates on the open road. Everyone should take a trip in a Tesla! On Saturday I will pick up my son in Flagstaff and be off to Utah. More to come.

Roger’s son and Starship Teslaprise at the Blanding, Utah charging station

Roger’s son and Starship Teslaprise at the Blanding, Utah charging station

Oh, in Phoenix I had the Tesla washed and detailed to remove all the bug art! Blink Network has charging stations all around the area. They are only 25amps and charge at 15 mph at a cost of about $3 per hour!! No wonder they all show available. I talked with the Tesla Sales Center at Scottsdale Fashion Mall and they let me use their HPWC at 80amps. This bye the way, was the spot I took my first test drive last year before ordering the car.

Blanding, Utah Tesla station, 44 panels @ 230 watts each

Blanding, Utah Tesla station, 44 panels @ 230 watts each

Stayed in Monument Valley last night and added 50 miles of charge at Gouldings Lodge RV Park via NEMA 14-50. Monument Valley was awesome and took tour this morning. In Moab now to see Arches and Canyonlands over next two days, then on to Bryce an Zion!

More to come….



02
MAR

John Olver says:
Will.i.am, Joanna Lumley and the Future


Category: Electric Transport, Green Electricity, Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,


Will.i.am, Joanna Lumley and the Future

Several months ago British journalist Joanna Lumely recorded a four day interview with Will.i.am, formerly of the Black Eyed Peas. Much of the interview was done while Will drove Joanna around to several Los Angeles locations that were of importance in his life. Will drives a Tesla Model S as do many other California celebrities. In many ways Will’s life and the interview itself provide a clear image of the near term future.

First of all the interview was not filmed, it was recorded digitally. It could very well have been recorded using a smart phone but was probably done using a digital device that could easily fit in someone’s carry-on luggage. Compared to similar efforts just 20 years ago this ability is almost magic.

One feature of the interview focused on Will and Joanna in Will’s recording studio while he created a song. The process by which Will composed, recorded, edited and mastered a complete song in just four hours would have mystified studio engineers from just a few decades ago.

Technology is evolving at an ever increasing pace. Wrist watches are soon to be on the market that will provide most of the functionality of today’s smart phones.Glasses can now serve as full motion high definition video cameras. How long before phones become implants? The point is that what we see as cutting edge now will be old news in just a few months and the pace is quickening.

That brings us to Will.i.am’s Model S and EV’s in general.

Will.i.am with his Model S

Will.i.am with his Model S

There are still many people who insist that the technology for practical, affordable EV’s just doesn’t exist. Not enough range, batteries are too expensive, charging time is too long….. The list goes on. These naysayers can be countered with sound arguments. Most major auto manufacturers already produce hybrid vehicles, sort of half EV’s and consumers really like the better gas mileage. Most major manufacturers are working on delivering plug-in EV’s within the next few years and the auto industry has lots of money and employs lots of great engineers. Does anyone really believe battery range won’t be extended, charging times reduced and costs brought down when major corporations are throwing money and expertise at the problem?

This one interview that Joanna did for the BBC provides a very good lesson about the pace of technology as well as a peek at the future. Are practical, affordable EV’s a part of our near term future? Without a doubt.

Here a link to the interview – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOJUv1Kh47E


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • vince adams comments:
    "Thanks to John for his coverage of the Joanna Lumley – Will-I.am documentary. John gives us an American eye view of the issues and I echo his thoughts about the future of electric transport. Once you have driven electric you never want to go back to the old technology, smell and rage of the petrol engine. Its yesterday as they say, electric is tomorrow. This weekend talk to Nissan or your favourite car deal about what the options are to test drive and see the future for yourself. "
    March 4, 2015 a 9:42 am


02
DEC

Lets Get Energized says:
NGPS win The ‘Renewable Energy Advocate Award’


Category: Dorset Energized News, Green Electricity, Solar Energy, Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living
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NGPS win The ‘Renewable Energy Advocate Award’

NGPS Limited puts Dorset firmly on Renewable Energy map with prestigious Award

The ‘Renewable Energy Advocate Award’ puts Dorset firmly on the map for quality solar installation. Nominated by leading industry solar inverter manufacturer, Enphase Energy UK, NGPS Limited of Poole in Dorset picked up the award for the South and South West at a prestigious event held at Birmingham’s NEC Arena.

The event was organized by one of the UKs most influential solar energy magazines, Solar Power Portal, and the awards ceremony was a celebration of the UK solar industry during their Solar Energy UK Exhibition at Birmingham’s NEC.

Enphase Energy UK pioneered a breakthrough in solar inverter technology with the introduction of the micro inverter. This meant an entire solar panel system would no longer be controlled by just one inverter, as each panel is able to host its own and be controlled individually. This has enabled a large degree of flexibility for shaded or dust prone roofs as the entire system is not compromised. The technology also enables the option of a split roof installation in the case of smaller roofs, and energy production is greatly enhanced as the panels can begin generating earlier in the day than a traditional system, and later into the evening.

NGPS is one of the largest installers of Enphase micro inverters in the South West and now installs the product as standard on their solar photovoltaic systems. Nick Good: “We were delighted to be one of just two companies in the South West to be nominated, and naturally pleased to be presented with an award. We work hard to provide our customers with the very best technology in the marketplace, as well as best practice in all aspects of our business. This has been our philosophy, and I would suggest the reason for our success for more than twenty years. It is rewarding for our efforts to be both recognized and commended by a leading manufacturer in the marketplace in which we operate.”

Using Enphase, both the customer and NGPS are able to see what the system is producing. Nick Good: “Any problems, albeit rare, and we would more than likely spot this before the customer. This is because Enphase enables remote monitoring, and our technical surveyors are also able to demonstrate the energy production of neighboring properties when a new customer is looking into the cost savings of a system for themselves. Enphase also adds the benefit of a 25 year warranty and enables even more homeowners to benefit from solar energy. It most certainly means better performance so our customer can reap a greater return on their investment and an even faster payback. And a happy customer makes the job even more rewarding for us as a business.”

Vince Adams – Lets Get Energized co-founder – says:

“Congratulations to Nick Good and his family run business NGPS for their amazing Renewable Energy Advocates Award earlier this month.

The award was connected to their ground breaking work with Enphase whose system ensures that solar panels high on grooves across the land really are in good working order and report on monthly generation at the solar location.

Nick was the very first accredited Solar Installer in the UK and he has built a reputation for giving sound advice, good value and extremely good service to his customers.

We at Dorset Energised and now Lets get Energized have been helped in every way by NGPS in our work to spread the good news that is renewable energy in all its forms.

We and NGPS will continue to ensure that every household eventually has solar or a renewable alternative to supports its energy requirements and the planets need for less carbon emission.”



22
OCT

Lets Get Energized says:
Dorset Energized expand to become Lets Get Energized for Big Energy Saving Week


Category: Dorset Energized News, Energy Efficiency, Green Electricity, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living, Sustainable Living
Tags:


This week 20th to 24th October 2014 people across Dorset and the UK are celebrating Big Energy Saving Week.

Energy bills are reported to be the top financial concern for households, so Big Energy Saving Week highlights positive, practical actions that will help homeowners take control of bills and save energy.

This week we are also very excited to announce that we have expanded our online green energy portal to be UK wide with a new name of Lets Get Energized…

letsgetenergized-team-dorset-web2

Photo: The group announced their expansion news to the Dorset Sustainable Community Energy Group at a meeting at the Dorford Centre in Dorchester on Tuesday 21st October

Lets Get Energized

Dorset Energized was initially founded by a small group of renewable energy enthusiasts who first met in 2011 at a meeting of the Dorset Energy Partnership’s Community Sustainable Energy Working Group who launched this website on the simple premise that everyone in Dorset, as individuals, households, businesses and communities, need to invest in renewable energy today and reduce our energy demand by becoming more energy efficient and sustainable.

It is very important to work at a local level when it comes to community energy generation, but since we launched our website in 2011 we have realised that much of the information here is relevant for all UK home owners and tenants, so this October we have expanded to become Lets Get Energized.

We hope to improve our site even further over the coming year and welcome your feedback and hope you will continue on the journey with us. You can also still meet our team at local events under the banner of Dorset Energized.

Vince Adams, Co-founder and Spokesperson for Dorset Energized / Lets Get Energized, says, “Dorset is a very beautiful county and contains such fabulous areas of outstanding natural beauty, supporting high biodiversity and many rare species. Living here helps us to understand how much more we need to work together with nature, rather than against it, to meet our local and UK renewable energy targets. Our aim is to continue to provide impartial advice and information, in a friendly format, and to support people connecting with renewable energy. We will continue to take part in local events and energy roadshows under Dorset Energized and we will always be very proud that it all started here in Dorset!”

Supporting The Simon King Wildlife Project

We are also very excited to welcome new blogger Holly Barber from The Simon King Wildlife Project who will be posting later this week. We want to continue to engage and enhance the fulfilment of everyone, to help reduce family’s energy costs today, whilst protecting the landscape, wildlife and the planet we all live on for future generations.

If you do 1 thing today: Switch to a green energy supplier

Lets Get Energized will continue to be an independent not-for-profit organisation and over the past year, the group has successfully teamed up with ethical energy companies including the UK’s only 100% renewable energy suppliers Good Energy and Ecotricity, both based in the South West, to offer UK wide users, special deals and incentives.

The key message is that if there is one thing we can all to today, whether we are renting or homeowners, single or with a large family, is to switch to a green energy supplier.

Many green energy tariffs are now also competitive in price to “the big six” and both Ecotricity and Good Energy have rapidly grown their customer base over the past year and continue to be rated top on Which? Customer satisfactions surveys. Ecotricty are also committed to investing in the UK’s Electric Highway while Good Energy are investing in several solar farm projects including here in Dorset.

Save Energy for Big Energy Saving Week

For Big Energy Saving Week, we are also asking that you use less energy at home by taking just one simple step, such as:

  • Turning your room heating thermostat down by just 1 degree – which could save you around £65 per year and 260kg of carbon.
  • Insulating your loft to massively reduce the heat loss from your home - it may seem a bit boring, but homeowners could save £200 per year if they insulated.

There are lots more energy saving tips under our Energy Efficiency pages.

We would also like to hear local stories from throughout the UK, and what one thing you pledge to do this week to save energy (just send your Comments below!).

Anna Celeste Watson, Web Designer and Manager, says, “It has been fantastic to get such positive feedback about the website over the last 3 years with people saying they love its colourful eye-catching design and illustrations, and that they often visit the site to find out anything to do with renewable energy and keep up to date with the latest energy news. What we would love now is for more people to send in their stories and comments via the blog about using solar energy, renewable heat, electric cars and their energy saving and sustainable living tips so we can build more of an online community to inspire everyone to engage with the wonderful world of sustainable energy and show how it really makes you feel energized!”

So, what are you waiting for? Its time to get energized and join the renewable energy revolution!
Start now and explore your energy options here.



18
JUL

Vince Adams says:
1000 FREE miles with Ecotricity Green Electricity + Car Tariff


Category: Electric Transport, Green Electricity
Tags: , ,


ecotricity-electric-highway

I recently changed energy supply to Ecotricity and was surprised yet delighted to be given 1000 free miles for my Nissan LEAF electric car. This equates to nearly 15% of my annual mileage so is an enormous help.

Equally I have recently used Ecotricity charging points at IKEA in Southampton and at a number of M3, M5 service stations. The points have all worked really well and are free at the point of use, once again reducing my energy costs for travelling.

Late last week I had to travel up to Lincolnshire a round trip of 500 miles and in the short time I had, this meant going by my LEAF would be very hard. So I talked to my local Nissan dealers F J Chalke in Wincanton, and without any fuss they offered me the use of a courtesy (non-electric) car. My only comments was how much I missed my LEAF! My first trip to the filling station took my breath away – £79.00 to fill up with diesel and although the car was pretty economical I still had another trip to make to the garage to top up.

So for cost, comfort and everything to do with green energy, I just couldn’t wait to get back behind the wheel of my LEAF!

Ecotricity are doing so much to improve the Electric Highway, that the next long trip I make, I shall give myself a little more time so I can take my LEAF.

Ecotricity Green Electricity + Car Tariff

If you own an electric car, you too can switch to Ecotricity’s Green Electricity + Car tariff and get the equivalent of 1,000 free miles of electricity each year.

For an electric vehicle to run emission free, one vital piece of the jigsaw is often overlooked – where your electricity comes from. Ecotricity think electric cars – powered by green energy – are the answer.

The main benefits for electric car drivers:

  • Green Electricity + Car customers will enjoy the equivalent of 1,000 free miles of electricity each year
  • Ecotricity’s Price Promise means that for many they are cheaper than the in-region standard electricity tariff of the Big Five
  • Get free membership to Ecotricity’s Electric Highway to charge when you’re away from home
  • Ecotricity have frozen their prices until at least April 2014
  • Ecotricity’s customer service is the best in the business – they have topped the 2014 Which? Energy Consumer Satisfaction Survey.

For more information or if you need help checking that your car is eligible, visit www.ecotricity.co.uk/for-the-road/green-electricity-car or call Ecotricity (and quote ‘Dorset Energized’) on 08000 302 302.



13
JUN

Guest Energizer says:
Samsoe – An Energy Island


Category: Biomass Energy, Combined Heat & Power, Energy Efficiency, Green Electricity, Solar Energy, Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living, Wind Power
Tags: , , , , , ,


Samsoe – An Energy Island

INTRO: Here is an article by Arthur Blue, a new contributor to our Blog, about an island in Denmark. Arthur is based in Argyll, but the article is highly relevant to Dorset which is also of course rural, with remote areas, and the potential to produce much of its own energy.

So to the article:

An Energy Island

I was in Denmark recently, enjoying herring on rye bread, blethering with old friends, and brushing up my rusty Danish.

Economists of the Anglo-American persuasion are convinced that the Danish economy is far too heavily loaded with taxes and welfare systems to take off and fly, but fly it does and the evidence is in front of your eyes in Copenhagen, where the amount of new investment, both public and private, is impressive, as are the famous open sandwiches.

Yes … a decent one costs about Dkr 100 ( £12.50 ) , but it’s enough for a good meal on its own. But to avoid both cultural and culinary overload we decided to have a long weekend on the island of Samsoe, famous for its early potatoes … in late May these were selling for very high prices in the capital … and for being self-sufficient in electrical power and domestic heating. It’s an island slightly larger than Bute, with around 4,00 permanent inhabitants, with large numbers of visitors during the season, mostly staying in summer houses well hidden amongst the trees.

The background to this is that in the latter half of the last century Samsoe, together with other small islands and remoter areas, was falling behind in development, what with high transport costs, falling population, difficulties for small concerns trying to compete in the larger market, and loss of young people, once they had qualified, to the mainland. It’s all very familiar. Denmark has the usual assistance programmes, but the trends continued. However in 1997 the Ministry of Energy announced a competition …. which local area or island could present the most realistic plan for a transition to 100% self-sufficiency in renewable energy. Small easily-defined communities were chosen since the social effects could thus be more readily monitored. Four islands and a peninsula entered the competition, and Samsoe won, with the objective being to highlight renewable energy and study how high a percentage could be achieved using available technology and ( almost ) without extraordinary grants.

Bearing in mind that most of Samsoe’s electricity comes from wind, the first thing to strike me was that the views are not dominated by turbines, for though you can usually see one or two in the distance if you look really hard, you do have to look for them. There is a large offshore array which exports power to the mainland and which offsets the island’s CO2 emissions from vehicle fuel, this isn’t particularly visible from inland, though the ferry passes close by, and in any case no-one complains about it since it also provides an income for the local energy company. As with other things who owns them affects the way you see them.

Local electrical demand is mostly covered by 11 1-MW ( medium-sized ) turbines across 3 clusters, plus a number of small privately-owned units, and there is an interconnector with Jutland through which power can go both ways, if required.

Demand management … smoothing the peaks …. has been the subject of much thought and consultation, and it’s considered that there is still a great deal to be won in that direction, both on Samsoe and elsewhere. Domestic heating on the island, like many places in Denmark, is based on district heating plants, since its only with industrial-type technology that you can achieve satisfactory combustion when burning waste or biomass. Planners can require the use of district heating for new buildings in urban areas, but in the case of older existing buildings the owners have to be persuaded to convert and there are various grants for this, including special arrangements for pensioners. District heating is not suitable for isolated houses either, and on Samsoe these have their own heating. Around 50% of the isolated year-round houses on the island have now converted to some form of RE, using straw or biomass and solar water panels. On the summer-house front RE is low, though a number have installed air-to-air heat pumps A programme of thorough insulation was of course carried out as an essential first step in all this, for which there was a very good take-up. One old lady in Nordby could only afford to replace her windows one at a time, but she managed it, over about ten years.

There are 5 village-based district heating systems on the island, mostly fuelled by biomass ( waste straw and wood chips ). One of the plants has a substantial input from solar water panels, and since the heat is transmitted by water surplus electrical power can easily go into the systems if necessary. Another plant also takes waste heat from a jam factory, and a proposal to use waste heat from the ferry, which could have supplied about 30% of demand at the port, fell through not because it was technically difficult … it wasn’t … but because the ferry service being tendered out there is no guarantee that a future operator would be interested in co-operating. To get everything going it was decided by NRGi ( the island energy company ) that a very low registration fee of Dkr 80 ( £10 ) would be charged for those who signed up before the plants were built. This model is an exception to normal practice since in Denmark those who wish to join an existing district heating scheme can find themselves paying around Dkr 36.000 ( £ 4,000 ). A consequence of the cheap registration is of course slightly higher heating prices, since the payments also have to cover repayment of the initial investment, however if you’re starting from scratch a high take-up significantly reduces distribution costs. In addition some of the larger farmers make their own tractor fuel from rape, the oilseed cake being a useful cattle feed, and the straw going into their heating plant, these, like most Samsinger, are highly practical people, who wear overalls rather than rainbow-coloured jumpers, and who think that it makes economic as well as environmental sense to go renewable. However plans to go further and use more local oil cake to replace imported fodder, and sell the oil, have faltered on account of the government’s fuel taxation policy And an Energy Academy has been set up on the island, using the expertise acquired with the local project. The Academy is the headquarters of Samsoe’s energy and development organisations, with 11 full-time jobs in energy education and world-wide consultancy, one of their current projects being on Mull.

The above is where Samsoe has got to after about fifteen years, but it wasn’t all easy. Mikael Larsen, who heads the Energy Academy, says that the technology is the easy bit, and the bigger the easier, since all you have to do is sell a feasible scheme to one or other of the big players who then bring everything in ( and take most of the profits out again, though a small local share can still be very useful ) And big schemes are usually very high-tech, and well beyond local capabilities. Thus with the Samsoe offshore array. The local projects, on the other hand, are much more low-tech, can use local firms for more of the work, and have a much better social pay-off. The hardest part of the project is not the design and building, or the financing, but persuading people that it is indeed feasible, and obtaining workable consensus on it. There are always those who for various reasons don’t wish to be involved, or are too old or too crabbed to be bothered. Many of the holiday visitors, though they contribute very usefully to the island economy, aren’t particularly interested in going over to electric cars, and the summer houses, being spread out, don’t lend themselves to district heating. So the political side … though not party-political … was by far the biggest challenge. It always is. An ocean of coffee and a mountain of cake was needed to get the plan rolling, and doubtless a fair quantity of the golden brew which comes in green bottles.

So did anything go wrong during all this ? Yes indeed. The ferry heat project fell through, as did another which proposed to use waste heat from the island slaughterhouse, when the latter closed a few years into the project. A methane project is still on the back burner.

And the three electric cars which were given to the district nurses were an absolute disaster owing to unexpected call-outs, unpredictable driving patterns, and the nurses forgetting to recharge the things after a busy day. But the electric car used by the Energy Academy apparently can get to Copenhagen, over 100 miles away, quite easily given a quick top-up at some intermediate coffee stop. In several years use that vehicle has had only one failure … a broken wire. But you learn from the failures, sometimes more than from the successes. So the project rolls on, with one aim being to fuel the ferry with locally-produced biogas ( a ferry has room for quite a big tank ), and possibly the production of hydrogen for vehicular use, as vehicle fuel is now the largest energy import to the island. Local electric car use could also be greatly expanded. It’s all well worth a closer look. You can have a very good cycling holiday on Samsoe, too, while you’re looking.

( Further information is available on the web, in English, at www.energiakademiet.dk also, since Samsoe is by no means the only island to have gone down the renewable road, at www.europenreislands.net which is one of the EU’s development arms. )



09
OCT

Vince Adams says:
Respect Organics “Riding on Sunshine” with Good Energy!


Category: Electric Transport, Green Electricity, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Sustainable Living
Tags:


vince-e-bike  vince-dorset-solar-1  ro1s

Some time ago, as Managing Director of my family business Respect Organics – which is based in Shaftesbury and very proud to be the UK’s leading organic cake producers – I became interested in renewable energy. Its closeness to Organic Food and The Landscape made it attractive partners for both Respect Organics and our Art Gallery, hence why we helped to found www.letsgetenergized.co.uk.

My wife Lin and I aren’t green revolutionaries, but as a family we’ve always simply loved nature and the countryside. As someone who always looks to the future I embraced the concept of ‘future proofing’ and so was the first in our home village of Sturminster Newton (and probably for miles around) to cover our roof in solar panels and buy a lime green Smart car. I also help with the local Sturminster Transition Town project, and appreciate just how complicated all the green issues are. In all honesty the Respect Organics cakes are organic because that way they simply ‘are what they are’, no compromise. What it always comes down to in the end is taste and good value. (And you should see us demolish a ginger cake!). So we helped set up Dorset Energized to share our passion and help inspire Dorset people to get energized with renewable energy!

From that point it was a small step to find and change to a green energy supplier who supply electricity from completely renewable sources…

Good Energy fitted that bill with their overwhelming commitment to renewables and so we changed supply in our bakery, offices and at home. We were meet with caring real people who were contactable and approachable. It felt like a time long overdue and its been a great experience having them as our supplier.

I now also have a Nissan LEAF 100% electric car supplied by FJ Chalkes which I love and on good days I charge it using our solar panels at home fitted by NGPS Renewables – read more about that here. My wife Lin calls it “Riding on sunshine” and frankly that’s how it feels! Plus my electric bicycle also makes for a smooth effortless ride. Controls allow me to use differing levels of power and at the lower the e-bike has an average range of 50 miles!

We are thrilled to have also teamed up with them so we can provide an exclusive offer to Dorset Energized users to help you make the switch to green energy too – so if you switch to Good Energy, quote ‘Dorset Energized’ and they’ll give you an amazing £50 off your first bill so you can start saving money straight away! Click here to switch to Good Energy today – we think you will be as happy as we are!



04
OCT

Lets Get Energized says:
Good Energy for Fair Ground Fairtrade in Dorset


Category: Green Electricity
Tags:


We love hearing stories of Dorset businesses embracing renewable energy!

Green energy supplier Good Energy’s business customer Fair Ground have been bringing fairtrade products to Wimborne in Dorset since 1995. Margaret Pearce of Fair Ground welcomes Good Energy’s work on solar in our county.

Margaret says, “To me solar energy, like fairtrade, is a win-win situation. It’s good for the farmer, good for the consumer and importantly, it’s good for the environment too. One of my favourite products that we stock is Traidcraft Sweet Justice honey from Chile. The traders we buy it from know it is essential to care for our environment so that their bees can thrive. I think it’s great that solar farms can improve the habitat of our bees here in the UK.”

Fair Ground sells a variety of products at www.wimbornefairtradeshop.co.uk, from gifts and baby clothes to coffee and honey, all of which are fairly traded.

Businesses can save up to £90 of your first bill if you switch to Good Energy and quote ‘Dorset Energized’ and home users can save £50 off your first bill – so you can start saving money straight away!

Click here to switch to Good Energy today for your home or business >>



07
AUG

Anna Celeste Watson says:
I’ve Switched to Good Energy for ‘Feel Good Energy’!


Category: Climate Change, Dorset Energized News, Green Electricity, Green Electricity & Gas
Tags: , , , , , ,


I was very excited to hear of Good Energy’s latest news that they have reduced their gas prices for dual fuel customers, as I’ve been planning to switch to them ever since I started working on the Dorset Energized website, but was a bit worried it would cost more, when we’re trying our best to reduce our household costs wherever we can! But…. with this latest offer there really seemed no excuse to put it off any further and having checked on their website for our actual energy use today, it looks like they will cost exactly the same as our current provider BUT now we can also have ‘feel good energy’ and a clear conscious, so I can’t wait to know that all the energy running through our home and office comes from the greenest energy provider in the UK!

Good Energy say that they “like to keep our prices simple, stable and fair. Our domestic electricity prices have been frozen since April 2009 and we are reducing our dual fuel gas prices on 1st August 2012 – they will go down by 5% for the average dual fuel customer.”

That means they tend to cost about the same as the Big Six’s standard dual fuel tariffs.
Check out their prices for yourself here: http://www.goodenergy.co.uk/switch/our-prices.

To be honest, even if it does work out more expensive, it should be minimal and it’s just one of those things I feel that I should do anyway as just “the right thing to do”, as I don’t have a car (can’t drive and don’t really want to!) and as we are renting so can’t invest in any other forms of renewable energy at the moment (apart from insulating the roof to reduce our energy wastage and hopefully reduce our energy bills – that’s our next step so I will let you know what our landlord says!!!)…

Good Energy’s electricity is 100% renewable and with your help they can build more new sources of renewable energy production, like their wind farm in Delabole, Cornwall, and continue to support a growing community of over 40,000 independent generators across Britain with their industry-leading Feed-in Tariff service. I’m going to be on their Gas+ tariff as buying gas from Good Energy isn’t like buying gas from anyone else, because they’ll use some of my bill to reward people who generate their own renewable heat. So quite simply, it’s only with Good Energy that you’ll help the UK reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and get a gas supply.

Plus, because I was referred from the Dorset Energized website I’ll get £25 off my first bill as a bonus!

So, if you do 1 thing today…  join me and switch to Good Energy and get £25 off your first bill too – find out more on our webpage here: http://www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/energy/switch-energy-suppliers/.

(By the way, the woman in the illustration on that very webpage is actually of me at my desk, just with blonde hair, so I really did have no excuse but to switch myself, and now at last… I have!)


4Comments | Post your own comment

  • Anna comments:
    "Good News from Good Energy! We’ve just been informed today that everything has now transferred so our home and offices are powered by 100% renewable electricity and we are further supporting Good Energy’s investment in renewables by being on their Gas+ too, which means we’ll get money off as a dual fuel customer! PLUS looking forward to getting £25 of our first bill which will at least go towards the £50 fine Scottish Power are charging us for breaking the contract (but of course no one ever reads the small print!!!). "
    September 14, 2012 a 3:15 pm

  • Theresa comments:
    "I have been a customer of Good Energy for so many years now I can’t remember – at least 10. I was introduced to the idea by eco-friendly friends of mine, and even though I was a single parent, I was happy to pay a little bit extra to make sure my electricity was being sourced from renewables. I have since moved house and Good Energy made that very easy for me. I have also had solar PV panels installed and have had no problems getting the Feed in Tariff paid – unlike customers of other suppliers, I hear! I have not had to contact Good Energy very often, but each time I have it has been like chatting with a friend. They are a great organisation and I would recommend them to anyone. "
    August 8, 2012 a 11:24 am

  • George comments:
    "I’m in the same situation as you – I’m renting my current home and therefore can’t invest in solar panels or other large-scale renewables projects. Good Energy does look like the perfect solution for people in our situation, as it enables us to get 100% green energy even if we’re not generating it ourselves. Well, you can’t have everything! :-) Although when I buy a home within the next couple of years, I will go a step further and have solar panels installed. "
    August 7, 2012 a 9:39 pm

  • Vince Adams comments:
    "These guys do what it says on the tin, they offer a fair constant deal, total commitment to renewables and really any extra cost is negligible. For me, it’s something simple that almost makes you feel good about paying your bills! "
    August 7, 2012 a 4:16 pm


18
MAY

Anna Celeste Watson says:
New Eco Holiday Cottage in Wool, Dorset


Category: Biomass Energy, Eco Homes DIY & Tourism, Energy Efficiency, Green Electricity, Solar Energy, Sustainable Living
Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Fresh from the excitement of launching the Dorset Energized website, I am also very excited about another renewable energy website I have just created for the new Railway Eco Cottage in Dorset…

Catherine Fisher from Swanage (who now lives in Scotland but frequently visits Dorset) has lovingly renovated her old family terraced cottage in Wool, in an eco-conscious way, and I am very impressed by her commitment to making it as green as possible simply because she feels it is the right thing to do!

Here’s how she has made this 100 year old end of terrace into a practical, contemporary and beautifully presented eco-home:

SOLAR THERMAL PANELS on the roof heat all the water, of which there is always an abundant supply (but of course she encourages her guests to be mindful of their water usage).

All appliances are electric (no gas) and powered by Good Energy’s 100% RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY upon Dorset Energized’s recommendation (and she respectfully asks visitors to be mindful of their energy usage and to switch off appliances and lights when not in use).

UNDERFLOOR HEATING is more energy efficient. The WOODEN FLOORS are also an eco-friendly product designed to retain heat and are also very hardwearing so shouldn’t need to be replaced.

A WOODBURNER is more energy efficient and uses carefully sourced wood logs as fuel.

ENERGY EFFICIENT LIGHTBULBS are used on all light fittings throughout the whole cottage.

The kitchen table was made from RECLAIMED WOOD and both beds and mattresses made from SUSTAINABLE SOURCES.

ECOVER products are provided for her guests convenience and the cleaners Dust & Shine also use ECO-FRIENDLY products. There is deliberately no tumble dryer to encourage guests to use the WASHING LINE to save energy.

She encourages her guests to take advantage of PUBLIC TRANSPORT especially with Wool train station situated next door, or to explore Dorset by walking or cycling. Guests can keep their bikes in the undercover porch or shed but she is also currently building a special area just for bikes.

The garden shed has a WOOD STORAGE area and she makes RECYCLING and COMPOSTING easy with specially fitted bins in the kitchen cupboard doors.

Even during the renovation, Catherine was very careful not to waste any materials that could be RECYCLED and used ECO-FRIENDLY PAINTS.

The cottage is a perfect base to explore Dorset for anyone who loves simple holidays and nature, especially with it being right by the River Frome, and is ideal for eco-conscious travellers.

Catherine would be delighted to offer you advice on your own eco home renovations, or installing solar thermal panels or woodburners – email her on info@railwayecocottagedorset.co.uk

Check out the website for photos and more inspiration, and make sure you recommend your friends! www.railwayecocottagedorset.co.uk



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