Energy Efficiency

Negotiations over Britain’s exit from the EU got underway in earnest this week, but that doesn’t mean that the U.K. is withdrawing from other EU business. Far from it. It has emerged that British ministers and officials lobbied hard against a European Commission plan on energy efficiency, even though the rules might never apply to the U.K. assuming it leaves the EU as planned in March 2019. Britain opposed a compromise deal on future EU energy efficiency rules during a long and difficult meeting of EU energy ministers last month, pushing the Commission to water down its proposals. Richard Harrington, a junior minister at the U.K.’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, told the Energy Council meeting in June that the U.K. was “disappointed” with Brussels’ proposal to boost the target to 30 percent. He said the British government “cannot support” the proposed compromise on energy efficiency because “we do not believe it strikes the right balance to provide sufficient flexibility to reach our ambitions.” The energy efficiency rules are part of a wider package of proposals meant to accelerate the EU’s transition to clean energy, and while the European Commission is pushing for an inter-institutional deal on all eight parts of the package by the end of 2018, officials doubt that is realistic. The move to block strong energy efficiency rules is creating “a lot of bad feelings” among other EU countries, especially since Britain “will need all the friends it can get” after Brexit, said Jonathan Gaventa, director at think tank E3G.

Politico 18th July 2017 read more »

Posted: 21 July 2017

Energy Efficiency

Homebuyers could take out bigger mortgages if the energy ratings of properties were factored into the lending criteria of banks and building societies, government-funded research has found. Although estate agents are legally bound to display energy performance certificates (EPCs) in property listings, few buying decisions hinge on energy bill costs and the efficiency of a home is not considered in affordability calculations by lenders. However, if the A-G rating of the EPC was part of the calculation it would allow people to borrow £4,000 more in many cases and up to £11,500 in extreme ones, according to analysis by the Nationwide Building Society, Arup and building groups. Even if buyers did not borrow the extra money, they would be attracted by the “perception of value” implied by the higher limits, the research said. Well-insulated homes would eventually sell more quickly and command a modest price premium. The idea is the latest in a string of mooted incentives to encourage people to insulate their homes and nudge buyers towards greener properties, such as a discount on stamp duty for energy efficient homes.

Guardian 18th July 2017 read more »

Solar Power Portal 18th July 2017 read more »

Posted: 19 July 2017

Smart Meters

“Smart meters are here — and they put you in control,” reads one of the emails energy companies are bombarding customers with as they battle to roll out the digital devices. But as energy suppliers work towards a government target to offer every home in Britain a smart meter by 2020, people in the industry warn the £11bn infrastructure delivery programme is increasingly shrouded in complexity, while costs are mounting. Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of French-owned power company EDF Energy has called for the UK government, the regulator and suppliers to “take stock” of the problems.

FT 16th July 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 July 2017

Energy Efficiency

A collaboration of 28 UK property owners, including Land Securities, Canary Wharf Group and the Crown Estate, has improved the energy efficiency of its built environment portfolio by 25% since 2011, amassing £16m in savings as a result.

Edie 6th July 2017 read more »

Posted: 7 July 2017

Energy Efficiency

Members of the Better Buildings Partnership, a collaboration of the UK’s 28 leading property owners, have improved their portfolio energy efficiency by an impressive 25%, accruing £16 million in energy savings and reducing consumption by a total 145 GWH since 2011.

BBP 5th July 2017 read more »

While paying lip service to the Paris Agreement, the European Union has let a minority of countries slash its energy efficiency targets by 90 per cent on the grounds that even modest targets are too expensive. The EU’s commitment to tackling climate change and fuel poverty is now seriously in doubt. At a meeting of the Energy Council of EU energy ministers on 26 June, where several energy efficiency policies were discussed, agreement on the energy saving target from 2020 to 2030 was hard to achieve, and reaching consensus came at great cost to the level of ambition. Currently the energy saving target is a non-binding one of 20 per cent by 2020, compared to baseline projections. A legally binding target of achieving 30 per cent energy use reduction by 2030 had been on the table. Originally the European Parliament was calling for a 40 per cent target because the EU is already on track to achieve 24 per cent savings by 2030, and deeper savings are easily available and cost-effective. Earlier this year there was wide expectation that the final compromise might be between 30 per cent and 40 per cent. But at the meeting, some countries demanded that the target should be only voluntary – and other countries demanded that it should be as low as 27 per cent. Observers Jan Rosenow and Richard Cowart calculate that together this will reduce the actual energy savings mandate in the EED from an effective level of 443 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) a year to just 52 Mtoe – a reduction of almost 90 per cent. The rogue countries that argued for this result were the UK, which allied itself with eastern states Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia and Romania. The WWF said these countries “could not even support the final weak deal” The British negotiator was Conservative MP Richard Harrington. Where other countries sent their secretaries of state for energy, Britain sent an under-secretary from the business, energy and industrial strategy department, who had only been appointed a week earlier.

The Fifth State 5th July 2017 read more »

Posted: 6 July 2017

Energy Efficiency

SIG, the biggest supplier of insulation in Europe, had been brought low by a combination of weakening consumer confidence and self-inflicted problems, culminating in November’s profit warning. Analysts point to an array of issues: trying to play hardball with suppliers such as cement giant Lafarge, and failing miserably; a loose and federated management structure that Mitchell inherited; and trying to roll out too many initiatives at once. The chill that has blown through the construction market since the Brexit vote only added to its woes.

Times 2nd July 2017 read more »

Posted: 2 July 2017

Energy Efficiency

Sainsbury’s has become the first supermarket in the UK to make a commitment to switch to 100% LED lighting by 2020.

Edie 26th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 29 June 2017

Smart Meters

Energy suppliers face rising costs for putting smart meters in millions of homes, adding pressure on firms to raise household bills further next year. Fitting the meters, which automate readings and must be installed in every home and small business by the end of 2020, costs suppliers about £100 per household today. But that will jump by nearly a third to £130 in 2018 as companies spend more time and money trying to contact harder-to-reach customers, according to one of the big six suppliers. However, the entire cost is not expected to be passed on to consumers. When five of the big six did increase their tariffs in the first four months, several blamed smart meters. ScottishPower said smart meters accounted for £10 of the £86 bill increase for millions of its customers. A source at one energy supplier, who did not want to be named, said the higher cost related to smart meters was due to “customer apathy, concerns and the difficulty in getting people to agree to have a meter fitted”. Staff were having to contact more people, more times, to achieve successful installs, they said. Householders typically need to take a day off to be at home over a four-hour period for an engineer to swap in a smart gas and electricity meter.

Guardian 26th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 27 June 2017

Energy Efficiency

EU ministers on Monday reached a compromise on energy saving targets after 2021, taking a first hurdle toward implementing the Paris Agreement on lowering carbon emissions and limiting the worst effects of a warming planet. The European Union vowed to take over international leadership on climate after United States President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the Paris Agreement earlier this month.

Reuters 26th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 27 June 2017

Smart Meters

Concerns over cybersecurity are undermining the nationwide introduction of smart meters, with more than one in five people saying they do not want one. Almost six million homes would reject the devices despite government promises that they would cut energy bills, according to a survey of attitudes to Britain’s biggest infrastructure project in a generation. More than half of those who oppose smart meters said that their principal concern was data protection. The government has promised that every home in Britain would be offered a smart meter by 2020. The devices are connected to the internet and track energy usage in real time, allowing customers to better understand their consumption patterns. They would eventually cut the time it takes to switch supplier from six weeks to less than a day and eliminate estimated bills, which can result in overpayments. The stored data should allow suppliers and comparison websites instantly to find the cheapest tariff for each household, which is likely to result in a huge increase in switching and competition in the energy market. Installation costs, estimated at between £200 and £300 a household, will be incorporated into future bills. Concerns have been raised, however, over whether hackers would be able to access the devices. Last year it emerged that GCHQ had been drafted in to the design process amid concerns that loopholes in the encryption technology could leave the entire energy grid at the mercy of terrorists or foreign powers.

Times 26th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 26 June 2017