SSE to give energy market a jolt….

SSE (Scottish & Southern Energy) is the parent company for Southern Electric, Scottish Hydro, SWALEC and Atlantic. And it would appear that they are attempting to give the energy market a shock by trying to make it easier for smaller companies to gain a foothold in their particularly competitive market.

SSE one of the biggest energy supplier’s in the UK is looking forward to auctioning off its entire electricity supply on the wholesale market. Industry experts are saying that this is going to change the way that the entire energy market operates.

This is the first time that one of the ‘Big Six’ energy companies has made such an announcement. SSE said they believe this should go a long way to helping other smaller companies move into the marketplace faster.

SSE said the initial plan is to sell about 25% of their power on the open market by November. However their larger goal is to be selling 100% of their energy on the market by the end of their financial year.

The question is: Will this really make much difference to the energy industry?

We’d love to get some opinion on this, so please feel free to leave your comments or get in touch.

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Climate change targets met

It’s always good to hear about energy saving initiatives that are actually making a difference, which is why it’s so encouraging to hear that the Climate Change Agreement (CCA) helped companies which use high levels of energy save 28.5 million tonnes of carbon last year.

The agreement was tax based, and offered high energy companies a 65% discount if they could meet set energy saving targets. Amongst the businesses successful in this initiative, it was companies in the spirits industry who were first to meet targets. I’ll toast to that!

Green power plants a realistic goal

Research at Tel Aviv University have found that green power plants could be around in the near future, with the technology behind hybrid cars leading the way.

Currently methods using highly expensive solar power (retained by turning sunlight into hot steam) would provide an opportunity for green fuel, but it’s production costs are too high compared to ordinary fuel. However, researchers at the university are working on other ways to create energy while reducing damage to the environment, by using a gas turbine which is powered by hot air instead of steam – a cheaper option.

Who knows, this discovery may point to a greener future if  it gets take up from leading energy companies. I know I would definitely be interested in a more environmentally form of fuel, even if it was a little more expensive than the costs we are experiencing now.

Many energy suppliers are now investigating the possibility of green energy, and with UK energy prices remaining high, the opportunity to lower the costs of energy production is likely to be welcomed when the technology is available.

What do you think about the possibility of ‘green power plants’?

News: fears over wind farm rejections

Here’s a BBC report we didn’t want to read – local councils are refusing planning for new wind turbine farms at an ‘alarming rate‘ according to “RenewableUK”, an industry body.

The organization has reported that approvals are at their lowest in five years, and were taking than usual to clear.

With wind energy rising above 10% of the UK’s total energy consumption this year, these reports are not encouraging – and at this rate are unlikely to keep the UK going in the right direction.

What do you think about this report on the approval processes required for wind farms.

Scotland’s new energy boom.

Granite could be the latest renewable feather in Scotland’s growing energy cap. It’s always been plentiful in Scotland and Aberdeen is internationally known as the ‘Granite City’.

However a new level of excitement is surrounding this grey rock as there are many who believe it could bring about a second energy boom and go a long way to further strengthening Scotland’s place on the energy map.

I know what your thinking…. How can a rock generate energy?

Well… about four miles straight down from the earths surface, the temperature rises by around 150°C. However, the interesting bit is that where there is granite rock, the temperature can rise by as much as 210°C. This is the temperature that can create hot springs, the likes of which have been used for bathing. But scientists now believe that these same “hot rocks” can provide a valuable source for electricity generation. Most importantly if this source was proven efficient it is yet another feasible renewable energy source for Scotland.

Estimates have shown that a demonstrative geothermal energy plant could be constructed somewhere between Aberdeen and Peterhead, and would generate approximately £750 million of investment in its first 10 years of operation.

However the whole project is relying on whether or not the subterranean granite can generate enough power to keep the plant running.

If not…we could always use another spa resort.

The ‘Green Deal’ could create 250,000 jobs

The governments plans to install energy saving measures in over 20.5 million houses within the next 20 years could help boost the economy as well as the environment – with the possibility of 250,000 construction job posts to be created.

The housing plans are part of the governments ‘Green Deal’ to reduce carbon emissions, and will be the biggest home renovation programme since World War 2, if it is to go ahead.

Energy company’s are also predicted to roll out their own Green Deal packages for homeowners, aimed at helping to reduce carbon emissions.

This change could help improve the environment across the board, and with the government involving this many homes it is bound to make an impact – as well as creating jobs in the meantime. Just another of the numerous reasons it’s good to be green. What do you think of the Green Deal’s home renovation strategy and the fact that it could create more construction jobs in a tough economy?

Scotland get £100m to spend on green energy

The Scottish government has been given an additional £100m to spend on renewable energy after a deal was put in place between Holyrood and Westminster.

Scotland has been granted permission to invest around half of the funds available in the UK’s fossil fuel levy on renewable energy sources such as wind farms.

However, while this money is of course a step in the right direction, things are apparently not as rosy as they seem, with Holyrood Finance Secretary John Swinney saying that the move is ‘long overdue’ and that “For too long Scotland’s money has been sitting unspent in an Ofgem account in London”.

Apparently the Scottish government have been submitting proposals to try to encourage the UK government to release the spending allowance, but all we can say is better late than never. Let the renewable energy spending commence!

Hopefully the government can use some of it to ensure renewable energy prices are affordable so it will be achievable for the majority of Scottish homes in future.

Here’s hoping this means wind farms and solar panels are cemented into Scotland’s future!

Highland wind farm is online

A new wind farm in the Scottish Highlands has finally been connected to the national grid, with the first two turbines now online and generating electricity. This is good news for SSE as it means they are beginning to see a return on what is expected to be a £100 million investment.

The wind farm will be home to 35 turbines in total that once complete will generate around 180GWh a year. At the moment 15 of the 35 wind towers have been erected and the full site is expected to be operational by the end of this financial year.

SSE’s Managing Director of Renewables Jim Smith said “As the UK’s leading generator of electricity from renewable sources, SSE is committed to helping increase the amount of renewable electricity generation in the UK, and the export of electricity at Gordonbush is a step towards achieving this.”


Scotland set for renewables push in 2012…

It looks set to be another booming year for renewables in Scotland, especially with the reputation as a welcome home for green energy investment starting to grow. In fact initial figures are showing that there is a pipeline of around £46 billion of investment for renewables in Scotland which should generate up to 17GW of renewable energy capacity.

Fergus Ewing – Scotland’s Energy minister has said he is “relentlessly positive” regarding 2012.

It is believed that such a large scale investment in renewable energy will not only create jobs throughout Scotland and further strengthen the renewable industry there but it will also put Scotland even further on its way to being able to create 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020.

In fact, figures showed that in the first quarter of 2011 Scotland had generated 94% of 2010’s entire output. Now that is a massive increase in generating power and the Scots are expecting at least the same again.

This relationship between Scotland and renewable energy has risen from the realization that Scotland is almost perfect for wind and wave energy generation. There is an abundance of rugged coastline and flat tree-less land and when you add that to a co-operative Government it almost becomes the perfect place to build a renewable energy industry.

How do you feel about Scotland being a hub of renewable activity?

Could the Olympics change your views on energy???

I read a fantastic article on the Business Green Industry Voice Blog today about how the London Olympics has the potential to make some permanent changes regarding Londoners approach to a more sustainable way of life. As it says in the blog post “It is easier to get people to think about changing their behavior when their normal routines are disrupted.”

The main disruptions look like they will form around transport given that there is to be an expected influx of around 5.3 million visitors over the 100 day affair. In fact on some of the more heavily scheduled days this will create a staggering 855,000 fan trips. So with over 100 miles of London’s roads being shut off as the official Olympic Network things could get interesting.

Read the full post and let us know what you think.

Would you change your travel habits permanently?