Expect All of UK’s Energy to be Sourced from Renewable by 2035, Says PM

UK Energy

In early October, England’s Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson established a plan of sourcing 100% of the country’s energy from emission-less sources. He hopes to reach carbon neutrality by 2035, increasing the demand for sustainable technological advances. Before examining the major societal and technological shifts necessary to achieving the goal, we must assess the UK’s drive for sustainability.

The Drive for Sustainability

Nearly 43% of England’s electricity source derived from fossil fuels in 2019. The energy sources release greenhouse gases into the environment during the combustion phase, creating adverse ecological and human health effects. The pollutants alter the atmosphere’s natural composition, hindering its ability to maintain life-sufficient temperatures of Earth’s surface.

Over time, the emissions raise the global temperature, creating a ripple effect of environmental degradation. The series increases agricultural limitations, water scarcity, forced migration and other biodiversity-minimizing impacts. The PM plans to reduce England’s greenhouse gas emissions production to enhance conservation and climate change prevention efforts.

Another driving factor enhancing the country’s reliance on renewable energy is human health protection. In high emission regions, individuals have a greater risk of developing asthma and other respiratory illnesses. More citizens also develop lung cancer in polluted areas, increasing the demand for emission-less energy sources.

Making the complete transition away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy requires significant technological and systematic changes. The UK can support its sustainable goal by improving battery storage systems, building a clean electric grid, adopting efficient devices and expanding offshore wind farms.

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Battery Storage Advancements

Solar is one of the most recognizable forms of renewable energy. It effectively converts non-depletable sunlight into electricity without producing emissions. Though many individuals invest in solar power, placing panels on their roofs, the technology has limitations.

Panels directly produce electricity from sunlight, immediately transferring the energy into one’s outlets. Store large quantities of solar power have created challenges within the industry. Environmental scientists and engineers studied the source’s limitations and developed sustainable solutions using hydrogen fuel cells.

Hydrogen is a renewable energy source, which professionals are using to expand the storage capacities of solar power. Solar energy feeds through an electrolyzer, splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The system stores hydrogen in tanks until the energy demand rises.

The technology transfers hydrogen into a fuel cell system during peak electricity hours, producing a stable energy source. Hydrogen can remain in storage for extended periods, helping production centers access enough power to support an entire grid.

If the UK adopts hydrogen storage technology, it can generate and store enough renewable electricity to support regional demands.

Building the Clean Electric Grid

The country must also convert all conventional, fossil-fuel-powered electric grids into clean energy systems. Professionals can follow the model produced in Monterey, California by Vistra ate Moss Landing. The company converted an old power plant into a renewable energy storage facility using large-scale battery power.

Professionals placed a 1,200 megawatt-hour lithium-ion battery in an abandoned smokestack, holding enough power to support the region’s peak-hour needs. Using established energy production space to produce and store renewable energy can help England effectively develop a sustainable grid system.

Adopting Compatible and Energy Efficient Tech

The UK must also transition away from fossil-fuel-reliant technology to support its 100% renewable energy goal. Maintaining a consistent power source requires energy-efficient devices. When our gadgets over-consume power, they may quickly deplete the supply, creating limitations.

Energy-efficient systems and appliances can heat and cool our homes, power our lighting and regulate our generated electricity consumption patterns. Individuals must additionally adopt electric vehicles to support the transition, fueling the transportation sector with emission-less energy. The country plans on advancing its production methods, producing enough power to support the carbon-neutrality goal.

Expanding Offshore Wind Farms

The PM hopes to achieve its 100% renewable energy objective by expanding wind power production. He plans on investing nearly £160 million into the offshore wind sector, minimizing interference with land use. Boris also expects the increased production rates to support 250,000 new green jobs, increasing job security while decreasing ecological degradation.

The Sustainable Impact on Society

UK residents can expect the renewable energy transition to affect their daily lives significantly. As emissions decrease, individuals’ health and well-being may improve, minimizing their risks for fatal illnesses. They can also anticipate a country-wide transition towards sustainable technology, ditching all fossil-fuel-reliant devices for electric versions.

Written by Shannon Flynn

How Startups Can Make a City Smarter

Smart Cities

The world is progressing towards the development of smart cities, and with each passing day, the role of digital technology is increasing. Innovations in science and technology are becoming increasingly in frequency, and as gradually this tech reaches a level of development at which it is commercially viable.

These innovative technologies have the power to transform our lives, not to mention the way we interact with our surroundings and affect our urban environment. Take, for example, Elon Musk, the eccentric inventor who founded Tesla. Initially, he was not taken seriously, but now ‘smart’ electric vehicles are commonly accepted as the future of transportation, and this will have profound effects on the urban area.

A smart city is a broad term, applying to a wide spectrum. But there is no better way to define a smart city than by using the definition of the Smart City Council. According to the Smart City Council, a smart city uses digital technology to enhance the livability, sustainability, and workability of the city. The city itself should be built keeping in mind the demands of the future.

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Smart City Trends

Recently, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EUI) surveyed a number of people in Southeast Asian cities. This survey shed light on the needs and trends that embody a smart city, helping to clarify what the masses envision for the future and the present day.

•    Creating a smart city is turning into a necessity

Smart cities aren’t something of the distant future. And the next generation won’t be the one creating it. The wheel is turning, and smart cities have become a present day reality. With a growing population, the threat of climate change, technological advancements, and the expansion of urbanization, needs and attitudes are changing. More and more, people are looking to develop and live in smarter cities.

•    Connectivity is the heart and soul of a city

What makes a city smart, according to the people? Connectivity. It’s the life blood of a city. Gone are the days where people are fine with limited connectivity. Now, they wish to be connected to the internet at all times. Initiatives like smart transportation, free Wi-Fi, and e-learning tools are sought after.

•    The conservation of the environment is imperative

Smart cities have become a sought-after way of life because of the benefits associated with it. The largest being the positive effect it will have on the environment. As the world moves towards digital platforms, the carbon footprint of companies will decrease.

The Role of Startups in Smart Cities

How do startups fit into the picture? They’re seen as a way to achieve smarter cities, delivering solutions that are far advanced to the technologies that we know today.

Developing a smart city is no easy feat. The support and encouragement of startups is a start, as economies are partly dependent on local innovation. And this will create a ripple effect. For a city to be smart, there must be a given standard of living, in part, that means employment opportunities. And a future which is driven by technology and innovation will help provide jobs and increase GDP.

Creating a Startup, is it Enough?

What type of startup makes a city smarter, and do all types of startups suffice? A locally innovative startup has the potential to make a city smarter. Businesses will be more likely to invest in technologically innovative products.

Remember, the cities of today, with their current level of development, also resulted in urban pioneers deciding to introduce novel concepts and measures. Let’s take Paris as an example. The city didn’t just evolve haphazardly. Instead, people like Baron Haussmann, a French entrepreneur who renewed Paris in the 1800’s, modernized the city completely.  

Before we think about achieving the true definition of a smart city, we too must lay the founding pillars. Let’s just say startups that encourage investment in technology are the founding pillars. The private sector has a huge role to play in encouraging such startups, and whilst not all startups may bring the same level of benefit to a city, the development of a startup unicorn within a city can have profound effects beyond mere the job creation and taxation benefits.

Role of Private Sector

It isn’t easy to begin a start-up. It requires a lot of financial backing, and startups have up to 90% chance of failing. This may be because of poor goal development or a lack of funds. Partnering with a private sector company makes sure that a startup is able to channel through the first few years.

You might wonder, why would a private sector company invest in a start-up? It’s obvious that the deal would be beneficial for the small business. But what do big companies have to gain from it? As mentioned in ‘The Complete Guide to Partnerships for Startups & Corporations’, big companies also profit from such deals.

There are various startup success stories that have taken a huge chunk out of the pockets of private companies. Whether it’s Uber or Airbnb, such startups are digitally advanced as well as in high demand.

These are the types of startups that pave way for smarter cities and disrupt industries.  By missing out on the chance to own a chunk of these disruptive companies, private companies lose both profit and business. By partnering with them, they are able to retain their market share.

There are different ways that a private firm may choose to partner with a startup. This includes the following:

•    Giving funds (venture capitalists).

•    Offering corporate accelerator features to startups.

•    Delivering platforms for their operations.

•    Collaborating via startup competitions and thought leadership.

Types of Startups that matter

Partnership with the private sector? Check.

Providing jobs to the growing workforce? Check.

What else goes into ensuring that a startup contributes towards or benefits a smart city? The sector a startup works in matters greatly. As mentioned, those which invest in technology and innovation are where the future of our smart cities lie.

Here are just some of the niches highlighted by dataconomy that have the power to transform a city:

Transport

The city of tomorrow won’t be phased by slow-moving traffic. You won’t be stuck hailing for a cab, and following traffic information won’t be as big of a hassle as it is now. For this to happen, we need startups to focus on digitalizing the various aspects of transport. A company which helps in collecting traffic information in real-time and then telling commuters which route to take can make all the difference.

Such measures have already begun. In Manchester, which is already on its path of being converted into a smart city, you can now find ‘talkative bus stops’. It is a given that such technology needs both funding and human capital. While startups might have the latter, the public or private sector can help with the former.

Sanitation

Have you ever seen overflowing bins in your area? A smart idea and investment in technology can guarantee that such an incident never happens in the future. Digitalizing bins can allow the refuse collectors to know which bins are full. This can help them in ensuring the cleanliness of the city. Let’s face it, no city can be smart if it is not able to maintain sanitation.

Energy conservation

The city of the near future should use energy efficiently. This makes sure that we have a bright future for the generations to come. Startups can work on delivering energy saving solutions. Glasgow has already started adopting this. Their smart city plan, with 24 million pounds in funding, involves connecting the energy grid of the city to smart technology to monitor the energy consumption of the city and make the required changes. For example, escalators and lights in different areas are only activated when people use them. Someone needs to deliver such solutions. A startup can do so.

Has the transformation begun?

It is true that startups do have the potential to transform any city into a smart one. But, have they been able to put the money where their mouth is? Are there any examples of startups that have delivered a solution in any of the key areas?

There are a few examples that are available. Startups are currently delivering solutions to governments in an effort to make them smarter and more efficient. Ideas like SmartProcure, MuniRent, and NextRequest are just a few examples.

While NextRequest helps in coordinating public records, Munirent allows for easy transferability of heavy-duty equipment with other public offices and agencies.

Conclusion

It is safe to say that startups are one of the ways to realize the dream of creating a smart city. It is high time private and public sectors come together with small businesses to make a difference.

The future potential for cities is immense, and there is in doubt that with time, our cities will function in a way that is far superior to the systems we know today.

Written by: Jurij Radzevic

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jurijradzevic

Growth hacker with experience in digital marketing and SEO. Graduated from The University of Southern Denmark with a master’s degree in Marketing, Globalization, and Communication. Currently working as a Head of Digital Marketing at Valuer.ai in Copenhagen.

There’s never been a better time to invest in renewable energy

We’ve all seen the climate change headlines that are getting more dramatic every week.

Just this morning, there’s a new study that has discovered the World now sees double the number of 50C days each year than the 1980s (1), and another Global survey has revealed the depth of anxiety that young people feel about climate change, with almost 60% feeling very worried about their future (2).

Add this to the backdrop of record rising energy costs now at levels not seen since 2008, smaller energy suppliers collapsing and the impending release of the cap on standard energy tariffs from October and we can see a perfect storm brewing, just as the UK prepares to host the biggest climate change summit in November (COP26).

The targets are certainly well-documented now – we need to get to Net Zero by 2050.

This target may still seem a long way off, but change needs to happen fast and maybe some of these dramatic headlines are beginning to drive the shift towards alternative options for businesses and consumers in the UK to protect themselves from the steepest energy bills in 10 years.

Here are just a few of the key things that are happening to help people make the right decisions:

  • The cost of installing renewable energy technology is reducing quickly
  • It is now up to 50% cheaper to generate renewable energy than using fossil fuels
  • Performance of renewable energy is continually improving with new innovations such as battery storage in a rapidly growing industry
  • Electricity suppliers are introducing agile tariffs to support renewable energy usage at the cheapest rates
  • Grants and subsidies are still available for businesses and homeowners to benefit from installing renewable energy at their premises

The Growth of Renewable Energy

The renewable energy industry is growing fast, as consumers and businesses alike learn more about the huge savings and benefits that can be made, whilst also reducing their carbon footprint and supporting the drive towards net zero and a brighter, greener future for all of us. For example, UK Solar firms installed 135MW of solar energy capacity in the second quarter of 2021, more than double for the same period in 2020! (3) And large commercial rooftop installations of more than 100kW in size have seen their strongest ever period of sustained growth, supported by a rush of new planning applications that are fuelling the pipeline for the coming year.

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So what’s driving this growth? Aside from the fact that businesses are recognising their responsibilities towards climate change and making positive changes to the way they do business, the facts are clearly indicating that renewable energy is one of the best investments you can make right now.

Currently, businesses are typically paying between 15p and 20p for electricity (but as we all know, that is set to rise significantly). By generating your own renewable energy with solar panels for example, you reduce the need to buy electricity at ever increasing prices – that’s already a big win!

Then, if you are using more of the energy you generate on site, you will get a greater return. For example, a large commercial system of 100kw with 95% on-site usage will generate an average of 13.5% return, as well as over 40 tonnes of carbon reduction.

But, what many business owners may not realise is that by installing renewable energy solutions such as solar PV, renewable heating, battery storage or solar thermal, it could actually be the best investment you will ever make. With solid payback periods of 5-6 years, ongoing energy security and a potential 40 year lifespan on solar PV systems for example, it increasingly makes economic sense to consider the change.

In many cases, businesses can actually make more money in the longer term by reducing their energy bills than many other sales and cost reduction activities.

And that’s before you consider other benefits like capital investment allowances. Just like buying plant equipment or machinery, renewable energy will reduce your tax burden. As announced in the latest budget, there will be 100% allowances into next year.

So, there are lots of areas where solar energy alone can provide a big financial win for your business – the economics really do make sense and many businesses are already reaping the benefits. For example:

TG Group recently installed a 57kWp solar energy system on their builders’ merchants site in Bridgnorth, including 152 roof mounted solar panels installed by the team at Caplor Energy. With support from the Marches Renewable Energy Grant scheme, TG Group believe they will recoup their costs in just over 3 years, enabling them to operate a sustainable and responsible site whilst also making significant ongoing long term savings. Watch our video to see more on this project.

Neil Evans, Managing Director at Caplor Energy says,

“Rising energy costs and climate concerns are becoming increasing threats for businesses, consumers and communities throughout the UK. We are all responsible for the environment we live in and can take control of our future by choosing sustainable and informed ways to power our homes and businesses.”

Increasingly, batteries are playing a more important part in renewable energy, enabling you to purchase energy on much cheaper tariffs at off-peak times (often just 4-5p in comparison to the higher typical rates of 15-20p), which means you can store and use that power for your vehicle, home or business use during the day to offset more expensive power. In conjunction with solar, the business case looks even better as the solar panels can also charge up the batteries, helping to provide free energy at all times of the day. When you couple these benefits with the agile tariffs that are now available from ethical, green energy suppliers such as Caplor partner Good Energy, the savings continue to increase, particularly against the backdrop of record energy costs as highlighted earlier.

The fact is that we will all be using renewable energy at some point in the next 10-20 years. Many large organisations have already taken The Climate Pledge to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040, but for many businesses there is every opportunity to achieve this target sooner. However, to achieve this we all have to start now. It is clear that businesses are now addressing social and environmental issues as part of their longer term strategies, not to mention the impact of ethical operations on client and staff recruitment and retention, so reducing environmental impact has now become an integral part of many organisations’ brand values, which is a clear step in the right direction.

Caplor Energy – Leading by example to secure a brighter future

As one of the first renewable energy businesses established and accredited with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), the team at Caplor Energy are passionate advocates of renewable energy, with a mission to inspire businesses, communities and home-owners to install renewable energy systems that will help to deliver a zero carbon future to conserve and enhance the long term social and environmental future of our planet.

We have many years’ experience of specialising in the design, installation and maintenance of a wide range of renewable energy systems across the UK from solar PV and battery storage to renewable heating systems, solar thermal and electric vehicle charging. We’re award winning, ‘excellent’ rated on Trustpilot and committed to leading by example, with many renewable energy installations at our base at Caplor Farm in the beautiful Wye Valley. Our aim is to support all our customers through knowledgeable, unbiased advice, quality products and reliable service in our quest for a greener, more sustainable economy that will provide a better environment for our future generations.

For more information about Caplor Energy, watch our short video here.

Whether you’re interested in generating power from the sun, storing and offsetting energy with batteries, using heat pumps to keep your buildings warm or charge your electric vehicles, there’s a renewable way forward for your business to operate, with significant long term savings available whilst doing your bit to reduce the impact of climate change.

To find out more about what your business can do to save money whilst reducing your carbon footprint, talk to our team of specialists at Caplor Energy who will be able to give you clear, unbiased advice on the best solutions for you.

UK Households Demand National Retrofit Plan

In August this year, UK households wrote an open letter to COP26 president Alok Sharma to persuade him to push the government to develop a national strategy for decarbonising existing buildings. The open letter was convened by Households Declare, a new campaign which was an offshoot of the Architects Climate Action Network. Households Declare was set up to help households declare a climate emergency, as many local councils and businesses already have, and to bring their voices together to more effectively press policymakers to set ambitious decarbonisation policies. The call to action comes at a time when the government is reportedly arguing amongst themselves over the cost of low carbon heating.

Of all the steps that need to be taken over the next 30 years to get the UK to net zero, weaning the UK’s ageing housing stock off carbon is arguably one of the toughest challenges in terms of infrastructure the UK has ever faced.

Notably, emissions from the UK’s domestic building stock account for around one quarter of the national total. The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has time and again cited energy inefficient homes which are dependent on fossil fuel heating, as a key obstacle on the road to net-zero by 2050.

The Future Homes Standard has been initiated to ensure that homes built from 2025 will be net-zero but the UK Green Building Council has estimated that 80% of the buildings which will exist in the UK in 2050 are already standing.

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Local authorities and developers need to find a way to decarbonise 25 million homes by 2050, an astonishing 833,000 per year, at a total cost of between £400bn and £1,000bn. Without well-coordinated and united public sector intervention, legally binding national and local net-zero targets will be missed. Undoubtedly, there is a huge amount of work that needs to be done. In order to have a chance of achieving this a good place to start would be the social housing sector where there is at least the potential for the right blend of will, funding and professional management to get this enormous ball rolling.

Earlier this year the construction industry estimated that renovating the UK’s draughty homes to low-carbon standards would cost the government only £5bn over the next four years. The industry believes that this would create 100,000 jobs, cut people’s energy bills, increase tax revenue and bring tens of billions in economic benefits.

Sector leaders wrote to ministers with a proposal for a new “national retrofit strategy” that they say would boost a green recovery in the UK and put Britain on track to meet its climate targets.

The organisations added:

“Wide-scale domestic retrofit is essential to the net zero agenda and backing a long-term strategy will help position the UK as global market leader in the low carbon economy ahead of the UN climate change conference (COP26) in November.”

The construction industry believes that the “national retrofit strategy” requires a combination of policies, including green mortgages to provide the finance for people to install low-carbon heating, stamp duty rebates on refurbished homes, reduced VAT on home improvement works and loans to landlords to improve their properties.

The Construction Leadership Council said that low-income households will need government grants while those on higher incomes should be given access to low interest loans and council tax rebates, paid for by central government. The construction industry also recommended that Ministers should act quickly to enable companies to start training employees and new recruits to bridge the skills gap.

The Households Declare campaign has flagged the repeated declarations made by the Climate Change Commission (CCC) that the UK will not meet its legally binding emissions targets “without near-complete decarbonisation of the housing stock”. The campaign is calling for the Government to develop a national strategy for retrofitting buildings to improve energy efficiency.  The government attempted to address this with the Green Homes Grant and Public Sector Decarbonisation schemes which were set up to help households and public sector organisations respectively with the bulk of the costs of improvements that reduce energy consumption. Unfortunately, the Green Homes Grant was closed in the spring of this year with less than 10% of the 2bn promised in vouchers issued.

Though Ministers have been urged by trade bodies, NGOs, local councils and activists to clarify plans for replacing the Green Homes Grant in full, this has not yet been confirmed. Households Declare want the strategy details as soon as possible and they are calling on Ministers to “do it now and make it fair”.

They are also campaigning for VAT breaks for products that improve household energy efficiency, as well as the retrofit services themselves.

The next opportunity for the government to outline a replacement for the Green Homes Grant will be through the publication of the Heat and Buildings strategy this Autumn. It looks likely that the proposed £4,000 for households looking to install new low-carbon heating systems, due to be offered through the Clean Homes Grant scheme from April 2022 (replacing the Renewable Heat Incentive), will be increased. There has however, been backlash from MPs over proposals to only offer grants to low-income homes. 

In the meantime, there has been more success with local authority driven schemes which have received both government funding and support. However, the housing retrofit challenge, particularly with private tenures is widely recognised. Less than 7% of homes are owned by local authorities and over 80% are in private hands.

Initiatives such as the social housing decarbonisation fund, green homes grant local authority delivery scheme, home upgrade grant and minimum energy efficiency standards offer local authorities the chance to develop local supply chains and jobs to support further expansion and investment to rebuild confidence within the private sector and stimulate the Covid recovery.

In order to build capacity and avoid stop-start problems a planned and sustained policy is required. Recently the government launched the sustainable warmth competition which draws together phase three of the local authority delivery system and the home upgrade grant (for off gas grid homes) and is a step in the right direction. With this new scheme local authorities can apply for funding to help them install energy saving upgrades and low carbon heating in low-income households.

There is a huge task ahead as gas boilers will need to be replaced with heat pumps, district heating systems and possibly hydrogen systems. Homes will need loft, window and wall insulation, an insulation programme which was a big part of the failed Green Homes Grant scheme which was heralded to build a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government is expected to publish its heat and buildings strategy soon.  Decarbonising the UK’s homes, which produce nearly one-fifth of the UK’s carbon output, is an urgent issue as the government looks to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 78% before 2035.

8 Startups Moving the UK Towards Renewable Energy

When the United Nations established the Paris Agreement in 2015, the UK began developing renewable energy advancements. Parliament plans on improving its climate change prevention efforts by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Transitioning the country’s energy reliance away from fossil fuels towards clean electricity can preserve natural resources.

Generating a compatible infrastructure requires the help of UK startups. Private companies can conduct independent research, developing efficient renewable energy technology and structures. Seven businesses have made significant strides in generating reliable, clean power systems, improving England’s sustainability efforts.

1. Oxford PV

The Oxford PV startup developed solar panel efficiency advancement technology, expanding the UK’s renewable energy production. Their researchers crafted tandem solar cells, working within a panel to improve its performance. The perovskite cells generate more electricity per square meter than conventional panel technologies.

An Oxford professor established the company in 2010 by expanding his lab research. This year, the company will install a solar system in Brandenburg combining perovskite and silicon cell technology. The increased efficiency of their panels expands their potential production uses throughout the country.

2. H2GO Power

Expanding the renewable energy sector also requires efficient storage technology. Clean power production devices send direct currents of electricity to a structure. Developing a reliable electric grid requires excess energy containment appliances.

H2GO Power generated hydrogen storage technology, containing it in a solid-state structure. They offer utility-scale units, collecting clean energy from the source and converting it into hydrogen. It releases emission-free electricity based on real-time demands.

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3. OVO Energy

Another UK startup that privately provides clean electricity is OVO Energy. The company originated in 2009, following a mission of increasing society’s access to emission-free energy sources. They offer 100% renewable power to the residential sector, helping individuals shrink their carbon footprints.

OVO also plants a tree for every new member they gain. Today, the company provides clean electricity to over 3.5 million residents. They also help homeowners eliminate their carbon emissions, suggesting efficient electric devices for installation.

4. Zeroavia

Zeroavia is increasing the transportation sector’s sustainability with hydrogen plane engines. Their aircraft generate zero greenhouse gas emissions in flight and are more cost-effective than conventional engines. The company creates fuel by collecting solar and wind power, converting it into stored hydrogen for energy.

The transportation sector creates 27% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Converting aviation’s dependence away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy sources can significantly decrease atmospheric degradation.

5. BBOXX

BBOXX is helping expand the renewable energy sector by crafting solar-powered battery boxes. The company sends its electricity containers to regions with limited access. Individuals can plug small devices into the system, charging their phones, medical equipment, laptops, and more.

The company charges the boxes using solar power, decreasing related emissions. They require minimal installation and production efforts, helping individuals access clean electricity immediately. BBOXX’s next step will place remote monitoring systems in the devices, helping companies to control regional energy consumption.

6. EnergyTag

EnergyTag is a nonprofit startup that generates transparency in the renewable energy market. The company developed a market framework to compare clean electricity production and consumption rates. Some organizations claim the utilization of 100% renewable energy but continue producing emissions.

Comparing the real-time use of electricity with production patterns expands the transparency of green companies. Unlike other renewable companies, EnergyTag claims zero profits, creating the framework to better the industry. Their charitable development outshines other companies and corporations, which generate only 4% of annual philanthropic efforts.

7. Origami Energy

Origami Energy developed technology helping renewable electricity companies succeed. Efficiently trading, planning, and developing clean energy is essential when meeting regional demands. Origami utilizes smart technology to assist companies in accessing real-time data quickly.

The startup offers automated scheduling and asset dispatching for optimal energy trading. They also provide renewable electricity generation, demand, and marketing cost forecasts. Origami uses artificial intelligence technology, enhancing the accuracy and speed of readings and trading.

8. Bulb

Bulb is another private renewable energy provider in the UK. They generate 100% of their electricity from renewable sources using solar, wind, and hydro technology. The company calculates all its emissions, from production to transportation, offsetting pollution for carbon neutrality.

Bulb’s customers lower their greenhouse gas emissions by 3.2 tons annually using renewable energy. The company also developed a smart tariff, determining price discrepancies based on different areas and peak rates. It calculates an individual’s carbon emissions and provides offsetting features.

Powering the Future

Previously, the renewable energy sector relied on individuals installing solar panels and wind turbines on their properties. Today, companies are stepping up to the plate and demanding corporations’ involvement. The country also plans on developing an electric grid, decreasing its reliance on fossil fuel-derived energy.

Author: Shannon Flynn

Green Energy Suppliers in the UK: Who’s Who?

There’s no denying that the future of UK energy is green. In our race to achieve carbon-neutral status by 2050, the UK is slowly starting to eschew the burning of coal, oil and natural gas for energy in favor of more renewable methods. Solar power, wind energy, and hydropower are slowly becoming a greater presence in our nation’s energy fuel mix. Around 900,000 UK households have PV solar panels installed. And energy suppliers of all shapes and sizes are tripping over themselves to bring 100% renewable energy tariffs to the market. Making your home more renewable doesn’t have to mean spending money on new installations. It can simply be a matter of choosing the right green supplier and tariff.

But just because a supplier offers a green energy tariff doesn’t necessarily make them a green energy supplier. In this post we’ll look at some of the UK’s major players in the green energy market, and why they’re so popular.

Who are the UK’s green energy suppliers?

The energy experts at Papernest have a useful guide to all of the UK’s green energy suppliers. As you’ll see, there are a great many, some of which you may not have been aware of. And while they are too numerous to list here, let’s take a look at some of the major players and how they can help give your energy supply a green makeover.

Octopus

Octopus Energy has enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence since it was first founded in 2015. They offer 100% renewable electricity from wind and solar power, as well as carbon offset natural gas. They have won multiple supplier of the year awards and are widely lauded for their high standards of customer service. 

Bulb

Another extremely popular green energy supplier is Bulb. It also offers 100% renewable energy as well as a combination of carbon offset and green biomethane gas. What makes Bulb unique, however, is its singular ‘vari-fair’ tariff. Rather than offering a slew of different tariffs, it has only one variable-rate plan that is constantly checked to ensure that it is competitively priced.

Ecotricity

Ecotricity is arguably the UK’s greenest energy supplier. As well as offering 100% renewable energy and biomethane / carbon offset gas, Ecotricity is also actively involved in anti-fracking campaigns at home and overseas. 

Ecotricity remains the UK’s only  vegan energy supplier as its biomethane gas is exclusively sourced from plant matter with no animal waste. While it may not be the most affordable supplier on the market, Ecotricity’s green credentials are nonetheless impeccable. 

Bristol Energy

Bristol Energy is one of the last remaining municipal energy suppliers, and a great choice if you want to support an energy supplier that places ethics first. As a municipal energy supplier, Bristol Energy is not beholden to shareholders. Instead, it channels its profits into supporting local communities, helping to combat fuel poverty, and ensuring access to affordable renewable energy.

Getting to know the UK’s green energy suppliers is a great first step in reducing your home’s carbon footprint and making your energy supply more sustainable.

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The future of new build homes and renewable energy

Anyone involved in the property industry especially within the development stage has a responsibility to factor in the environment. After all, the lifespan of a home does not end when a buyer has been secured. Instead, every effort must be made to reduce the environmental impact of the building itself, along with all those who will use it for as long as it stands. 

To achieve this aim, the home needs to be designed with the latest in renewable technology. Doing so will give the property the best chance of remaining as eco-friendly as possible since comprehensive improvements will not need to be made to bring it in line with current environmental targets. 

In recent years, the renewables market has expanded at a lightning pace. Here are some of the top renewable energy picks to consider for anyone involved in the home building or buying process. 

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Geothermal heat pumps

Even the most energy-efficient boilers are no match for geothermal heat pumps, which are soon to become a more regular feature, especially in new build homes. Geothermal heat pumps harness the heat from under the ground to provide heat in the winter and cool air in the summer. 

They are far friendlier for the environment since they don’t primarily run on an external fuel source, unlike boilers which are usually powered by the gas network. Whatsmore, geothermal heat pumps also generate far lower energy bills and are also safer versus gas boilers which can be prone to safety faults. 

New build homes are particularly ideal candidates for the installation of geothermal heat pumps as ground excavation is required. Therefore, it’s far easier to install a geothermal heat pump when building a home from scratch versus trying to adapt an older property. As boilers eventually become phased out, expect the demand for geothermal heat pumps to soar. 

Solar roof tiles

Solar roof panels have long been the gold standard for renewable energy, particularly in older homes. However, Tesla founder Elon Musk has now developed solar roof tiles, which take the technology one step further, by integrating the ability to harness solar power within the roof tile itself. 

The launch is expected imminently, with homeowners currently able to put down a deposit on Tesla roof tiles. As you might expect, the cost far exceeds that of a regular roof and even solar panels, costing £16.71 per square foot. However, given a new roof can last decades, the technology will pay for itself over time. 

Solar water heating

Roofs aren’t just capable of heating our rooms but our water too. Solar water heating can either be supplied by evacuated tubes that are placed over the existing roof tiles or fixed place collectors, which can also be placed on the roof or integrated into the roof space itself. 

Solar water heating systems work best during the summer months, like a boiler or geothermal heat pump is required for the winter months. As with any solar technology, developers can maximise the overall carbon footprint by ensuring the roofs with the solar technology are south facing. 

By also minimising any north-facing developments wherever possible, this will also mean living spaces feel less cold in general, which will reduce the need to heat them. 

Electric Vehicle Charging Points

While it’s easy to focus on energy efficiency changes within the home itself, what about getting to and from your home? 

It’s no secret that diesel vehicles are on their way out, in line with efforts to combat climate change. By 2025, it’s estimated that 20% of vehicles will be electric. Expect that number to shoot up sharply once the diesel ban comes into force in 2030. 

Of course, without the traditional petrol station to go to, we are all going to need a way of charging our vehicles. Making what once seemed like something out of The Jetsons a reality, electric vehicle charging points are expected to become a popular feature outside of most homes. There have even been suggestions that lampposts could be converted to be able to hold electric vehicle charging points. 

So, it makes sense that developers should integrate electric car charging stations outside their properties wherever possible. Extra bonus points if the charging station is powered by a renewable energy source such as solar or wind power, reducing the carbon footprint of the property’s occupants even further. 

Bio

Aaron Cambden, Co-Founder of East Midlands estate agents Fairview Estates – https://www.fairviewestates.co.uk/

Fairview Estates is based in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire. It provides a range of services to landlords and tenants alike, including property management services. With over 10 years in business, Fairview Estates is a small friendly team providing a tailored experience to the local property market, that is becoming ever more a rarity in the age of digital-only listings. 

As well as running Fairview Estates, Aaron has also recently co-founded Keyhive, which is a revolutionary key monitoring system for landlords and letting agents.  

Could Bladeless Wind Turbines Make Wind Energy More Environmentally Friendly?

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Leaders all over the globe are establishing ambitious climate change prevention goals. These plans include developing carbon-neutral nations and utilizing electric grids powered by renewable resources. Shrinking the world’s carbon footprint can significantly improve ecological conditions, conserving natural resources and healthy air quality.

Current technological development in the renewable energy industry is improving the accessibility of clean electricity. Once we improve the efficiency of production devices and decrease their environmental impacts, we can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. First, though, scientists must mitigate the few downsides of renewable power devices, including wind turbines.

Ecological Challenges

Wind turbines are historically efficient energy production devices. They generate more power from wind than other renewable systems, like solar panels. Unfortunately, their current design compromises their sustainability because of its adverse biodiversity effects, use of non-recyclable materials, and dependence on inconsistent weather patterns.

Tens of thousands of bats die each year in the U.K. because of deadly wind turbine interactions. The animals may view turbines as trees or water sources, fatally colliding with the blades. The mass collisions generate a threat to certain species’ existence.

The turbine blades also contain non-recyclable materials, which means placing them in landfills after reaching their expiration dates. When they are unusable, companies remove the blades and chop them into smaller pieces. They place the sections on trucks and take them to designated landfills.

When the blades reach the disposal location, workers bury them in shallow graves where they will remain indefinitely. The non-recyclable elements in the devices can leach out into the soil, polluting local resources. Professionals in America will bury over 8,000 blades in the next few years.

Over time, limited space will remain for the components’ disposal. The system’s reliance on changing wind patterns also decreases its efficiency and sustainability. Nearly 7% of the U.S. electricity supply was derived from wind power in 2019. The rates of production could increase if the mechanism wasn’t so reliant on unpredictable weather patterns.

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A Sustainable Solution

Solar power is one alternative to wind, but it’s also not perfect. Solar power can generate significant quantities of clean electricity for localized communities. But its low efficiency requires mass panel development, generating large amounts of waste over time.

Thermoelectric power is an additional alternative to wind production. Unfortunately, rising water scarcity in the world decreases the sustainability of systems using freshwater sources. Environmental engineers and scientists examined the issues in the renewable energy industry and generated a sustainable solution.

Environmental engineers at Vortex developed a bladeless solution to the efficiency and ecological challenges. The device relies on vortex shedding – a wind energy occurrence. It extends upward from a grounded generator, oscillating to create clean electricity.

Unlike conventional turbines, the new device reduces waste production. It also limits animal interference by engaging in smaller motions than rotating blades. Scientists also developed additional alternative turbine models that generate wind power with little environmental interference.

The European company Airborne generated a small, shaftless wind power production device using drone technology. The drones act as a turbine alternative, decreasing the adverse environmental effects associated with wind power production. Unlike traditional systems, the device connects to a thin tether.

It flies in circles, generating its own wind and decreasing its reliance on unpredictable weather patterns. Additionally, the drones reach 600 feet, which is 300 feet higher than conventional turbines. The systems can access peak wind patterns, fueling additional power production.

In the United States, about 16% of the land is suitable for wind energy generation. The extensive heights associated with wind drones increase available production space to 66%. In the U.K., powering the nation while going 100% renewable would require tens of thousands of acres. We can achieve carbon neutrality goals when using these new-age devices.

Unlike the Vortex, wind drones contain blades that are significantly smaller and less ecologically degrading than turbines. They generate less waste and cause fewer biodiversity impacts than turbine blades. As technology advances, we can expect wind power technology to increase its sustainability.

Down the Line

With further technological advancements, we can develop an electric grid using 100% renewable power. Supporting the world’s electric needs with wind-harnessing devices can significantly decrease our ecological impact. A reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will limit climate change and preserve Earth’s natural state.

Author bio:

Jane works as an environmental and energy writer. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of

Environment.co.

To Reach Net Zero, the Renewable Energy Supply Chain Must Evolve

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The U.K. signed the Paris Agreement five years ago, signifying its climate change prevention efforts. The goal revolves around greenhouse gas emission reductions. It adopted various renewable energy sources to limit atmospheric pollution and generate a zero-carbon economy.

When conducting life cycle assessments and energy audits, researchers discovered ecological issues with clean electricity sources. Low efficiency levels and emission-generating production practices decrease the sustainability of renewable energy. Fortunately, we can restructure the supply chain and increase the industry’s eco-consciousness.

Issues in Production

Various production aspects decrease the sustainability of renewable energy sources. The industry is relatively new and still evolving. Over time, researchers and engineers can target environmentally degrading features and source solutions.

When conducting a life cycle assessment of the production process, one must start by evaluating the materials’ origins. The mining and manufacturing associated with wind turbines generate 80% of their carbon emissions. Additional outputs derive from the transportation of materials and the devices themselves.

The transportation sector produces 27% of all U.K. greenhouse gas emissions. Some of the materials in wind, solar and geothermal systems are rare, decreasing their accessibility. Manufacturers receive the components through air, boat or vehicle transportation, taking on their carbon footprint.

The devices also take on the manufacturing facilities’ emissions. Conventional global energy sources derive from fossil fuels, like coal and natural gas. They pollute the atmosphere during combustion. There are many incentives for manufacturers to convert to sustainable energy, including increasing efficiency and appealing to eco-conscious consumers. Going green pays off in more ways than one.

A significant portion of renewable energy sources’ carbon footprints come from poorly managed facilities. We can increase the sustainability of green devices by restructuring the supply chain. When utilizing an electric grid, we can power production facilities and transportation with zero-emission energy.

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The Electric Grid

The electric grid is a sustainable alternative to the current energy system. It can eliminate our reliance on fossil fuels by sourcing all power from renewables, helping countries achieve net-zero goals.

Generating a net-zero grid requires renewable support for production. Fuel cell energy is on the rise, offering zero-emission electricity and vehicle power. Conventionally, fossil fuel-driven energy helps produce hydrogen for fuel cells.

Recently, environmental engineers discovered a method of production using wind power. It helps companies access clean energy without any associated emissions. The net-zero results offer the potential for a purely sustainable electricity grid.

Producing the net-zero electric grid also requires technological advancements in storage systems. One company developed an efficient model using industrial lithium-ion batteries. The energy storage facility has a 300-megawatt battery, holding enough renewable power to help fuel northern California homes during peak hours.

The facility also repurposed an old power plant as its storage center. We can transform the energy sector in a sustainable way, recycling materials and generating zero emissions. When powering a region with the electric grid, commercial and residential properties must adopt compatible technology.

Compatible Devices

Supporting the longevity of renewable power requires energy-efficient devices. Electric and zero-emission items can preserve sources by preventing overworking and burnout.

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems historically consume high quantities of energy. Building owners may install electric HVAC devices or geothermal heating pumps, lowering the overconsumption of energy. Installing a geothermal system can decrease a resident’s energy utilization by nearly 70% a year. Low power consumption improves the efficiency and output of renewable energy sources.

Additionally, consumers can convert from fossil fuel-reliant vehicles to electric versions. You can power electric cars with clean energy, generating a net-zero transportation method. Fortunately, the current devices on the market are compatible, decreasing the need for additional production.

The Initial Steps

Meeting the Paris Agreement’s objective requires a complete restructuring of the energy industry. Before developing an electric grid, professionals may convert current production practices away from their fossil fuel reliance. Society may adopt compatible devices after creating a net-zero supply chain.

Various commercial and residential building owners are jumping the gun and installing electric, zero-emission devices today. Even without an electric grid, the devices significantly shrink one’s carbon footprint. They also increase the value of a property, catering to eco-consumer demands.

Author bio:

Jane works as an environmental and energy writer. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of

Environment.co.

UK Ranked 6th for Share of Power Generated by Wind and Solar Energy

Wind Turbine

The energy and climate think tank Ember ranked the UK 6th for their share of power generated by renewable energy. Denmark held the number one spot. In 2019, wind accounted for 47% of their power usage.

The Rise of Wind and Solar Energy Consumption 

The UK falls not too far behind, with 24.2% of its electricity powered by wind turbines in 2020. Prime Minister Boris Johnson claims that offshore wind turbines can create enough energy to power every home in the UK within a decade. He plans to upgrade ports and factories for building turbines. The plan also will invest money into manufacturing sites in Teeside Humber located in Northern England.

Along with the growth of wind power, solar power has also increased in popularity. It made up 6% of the total renewable energy generated in 2019. In 2020, there was a significant increase in ground-mounted solar systems. These were mainly driven by large-scale utility projects. There was also a slight increase in rooftop installations.

The partnership between Solar Energy UK and Solar Media Ltd. helped to provide market insights on these projects.

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The Decline in Fossil Fuel and Coal Usage

The UK has also decreased its production of coal over the past few years. The amount of coal consumption dropped from 54 million metric tons in 2012 to 2.9 million metric tons in 2019. In fact, the UK only accounts for 3.6% of the world’s total coal consumption. The UK imports most of its coal from Russia.

The UK also saw a decline in its generation of fossil fuels. The pandemic was one major cause of the shift. With the lockdowns, there was lower demand for electricity. This led to the shutdown of many coal-fired plants. Also, during the pandemic, fewer people needed gas. 

The UK’s growing wind industry also impacts the decrease of fossil fuel production. With more wind power available, the less need to rely on nonrenewable sources. The UK is also home to the largest single wind farm in Yorkshire. The plant generates 5% of the country’s total electricity.

The Demand for Electricity Has Declined

The electricity demand has been declining in the UK for the past few years. In 2020, the need for electricity fell to 331,4488 gigawatts per hour. Part of this was due to COVID-19, but other factors include energy-efficient regulations and more eco-friendly consumers.

Since more people understand the benefits of using renewable energy, there’s a lowered demand for other sources.

Why Renewable Energy Is Playing a Larger Role

The UK’s stricter government regulations are causing an increase in renewable energy sources.

In 2015, there was a Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MESS) put in place for Whales and England.

This standard set an energy efficiency level for all domestic private rented properties. If the residence has an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of F or G landlords need to make changes to improve their property. These changes may have to do with lighting or heating.

For example, you could add a solar water heater or solar panels to your home. The MESS regulations were put in place to help the UK reach its carbon reduction targets.

More energy-efficient homes also lower energy bills for consumers. This is why buying energy-efficient appliances are attractive to many people. Residents aren’t the only ones thinking about energy-efficient options. Some power plants use compressed air storage to save energy. This can help to increase the supply during peak energy hours.

There Is Still More to Be Done

While the UK and other countries, such as the U.S. and China, are moving towards renewable energy use. There is still more that needs to be done. To help curb climate emissions, we need to work towards 100% clean energy by 2050. This will help to try and limit the global temperature rise to 1.5℃.

With the UK’s increase in renewable energy and reduction of fossil fuels, they’re helping steer us towards a cleaner future.