Energy News – Gas, Business, Economic

Vital Energi’s Pre-Construction Manager, Giles Barker, is interviewed in this article. Its objective is to give an insight into how solar technologies can provide organisations all over the world with a “bright and sustainable future.” He gives fun facts about solar panels such as:

  • 90 per cent of the aluminium frames are produced from recycled materials.
  • Installed product prices have reduced by 75 per cent in 10 years approximately.

He is advertising his own business but at the same time he is providing the public with some very useful information about solar panels. This is most likely to be encouraging people to switch to solar energy regardless of whether they are using Vital Energi or not.

Karen Boswell is interviewed in this article in order to discuss the difficulty of taking over the company, Baxi Heating, during the pandemic. She previously worked for the rail company, Hitachi Rail, and she draws on the similarities between the two. This mainly concerns the demand for digitalisation and modernisation in general from the public. The whole article is geared towards impressing upon people the moves towards big change in the energy industries. She ends by saying “This is a big market and there is big change coming. I want us to have this reputation for being innovative and coming up with smart solutions for our customers.”

This article is informative to the public. Its aim is to explain the hidden cost of heat pumps. The writer explains that Heat pumps have a vital role to play in the energy mix of the future but end users must ensure that natural refrigerants are part of the mix to mitigate global warming. The article seems to be insisting that heat pumps are not yet fully ready to be a viable option for consumers as a green energy alternative. It states “As heat pumps are rolled-out on a larger scale – the current government is targeting over 600,000 installations every year by 2028 – natural refrigerants offer a less harmful option.”

Apparently, some have claimed that bioenergy will deliver “negative emissions”, however this article provides the rebuttal. They say that this is not in fact entirely accurate. Apparently, bioenergy is in fact expensive and damaging to the environment. Organisations including Friends of the Earth, WWF and Greenpeace expressed their opposition to the technology in an open letter to government. The open letter is detailed here.

Yorkshire Water has changed the way it will operate water network and maintenance services. They have decided to establish a Water Services Partnership with private companies. This means they will be awarding £553 million contracts to Morrison Utility Services and Network Plus. The contracts start in July and initially last for four years, with a further four-year extension option. Together, the contracts are worth around £553 million over eight years. This is obviously a vital job to be getting done as Yorkshire Water supplies around 1.24 billion litres of drinking water to more than five million people every day, managing 62,000 miles of mains to transport water.

This article’s main objective is to explain the nuances of why “net zero” cannot be about winners and losers. As part of the investment strand of the Countdown to COP campaign, the interviewer of this piece talks to Michael McNicholas of Omers. He is the backer of SGN and Thames Water. In his interview, he discusses the investment case for UK utilities and ways to incentivise long-term, low-risk capital to drive forward decarbonisation. What is being impressed upon us here is the danger of treating environmentalism as a capitalist issue that can be profited from. In fact, everyone is going to have to make sacrifices.

This piece details how “Climate Action 100+”, who is an investor engagement initiative attempting to fight climate change, has issued its first benchmark to evaluate the net zero ambition and action of the world’s largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters. The initiative ranks companies’ performances against its three main commitment goals, which are reducing GHG emissions, improving governance and strengthening climate-related financial disclosures. Climate Action 100+ revealed that 87% of companies assessed have executive and board-level oversight of climate change and stressed the need for change to occur at the top if goals are going to be met. The Managing Investment Director of this organisation, Anne Simpson, is attempting to make it known that this is a tiny encroachment on what is a mountainous undertaking.

The British government is dishing out £562 million in funding for green energy though heat pumps. More than 50,000 homes will benefit from new government funding announced today to decarbonise the housing sector as the nation moves to net zero. The £562 million package will see more than 300 local authorities across England and Scotland fund energy efficiency upgrades, including solar panels, deep insulation and heat pumps. The government is desperate to achieve the nebulous goal of “net zero” and they are throwing money at this problem, especially necessary after all the setbacks that were provided by the pandemic.

Nikki Flanders, the SSE Energy Customer Solutions Managing Director, is interviewed in this article where she discusses why 60,000 customers have chosen SSE Green as their energy provider. Her reasoning for this is that “Not all green energy is equal”. She claims that her superior energy provider SSE is superior for three reasons.

1. Genuine green energy from our UK wind and hydro projects

2. Invest in the UK’s future renewables

3. Trace your electricity to a UK wind farm

This article explains how and why the UK will stop financing overseas fossil fuel projects from 31st March. This is following a landmark North Sea Transition Deal agreed between the government and the oil and gas sector. The new agreement mean that policymakers and industry will invest up to £16 billion in renewables, hydrogen and carbon capture usage and storage by 2030 to reduce carbon emissions. The oil and gas sector has also set targets to reduce emissions by 10% by 2025, 25% by 2027 and 50% by 2030. The new deal also includes the sector’s commitment to ensuring that by 2030, 50% of its offshore decommissioning and new energy technology projects will be provided by local businesses. The package of new measures apparently has the potential to cut 60 million tonnes of emissions in the next nine years.

There is a new project set up by West Sussex council that plans to turn a former council waste site into an energy storage facility in West Sussex has been confirmed by the County Council. Work will be starting later this year to turn the former Halewick Lane waste transfer station into a secure location for large batteries. These batteries will store surplus electricity and release it to the grid when needed to power homes and businesses. The project is going to be developed in two phases, the first of which will be a 12MW battery system. The West Sussex County Council is currently procuring a contractor to complete the design work and develop the site. The construction work will hopefully be expected to start in the summer.

This article explains why “Hywind Scotland” which is a floating offshore wind farm, set a new record in the UK. This record states that, with an average capacity factor of 57.1% in the 12 months to March 2020 it has improved measurably since its construction. During its first two years of operation, Hywind Scotland achieved an average capacity factor of 54%, in comparison to an offshore wind average in the UK of around 40%. The creators claim that “In the UK alone, we are talking at least 17000 jobs and £33bn GVA by 2050.”

The National Grid is consulting on a potential Scotland to Yorkshire energy link. The project will bring renewable energy from Scotland under the North Sea to Drax in North Yorkshire. The government will launch a consultation next Monday on a new energy project to deliver renewable energy from Scotland to Yorkshire. The Scotland to England Green Link 2 (SEGL2) will bring renewable energy from Scotland through the North Sea to the south of Bridlington at Wilsthorpe, East Yorkshire. The link will then run underground for around 65 kilometres and connect to the grid at Drax. The project is expected to boost the transmission network and underpin the government’s aim for every home in the country to be powered by offshore wind by the end of the decade. National Grid will apply for planning permission next year – if approved, construction will begin two years later. The work on the project is expected to complete in 2029.