Spain will switch to 100% renewable energy by 2050

Solar power in Spain

Experts have described the scheme as a wake-up call to the rest of the world.

Spain has announced ambitious plans to switch the country entirely over to renewable electricity by 2050. The Spanish government also want to see greenhouse emissions slashed down by 90% compared to 1990 levels, in a plan that goes above and beyond the requirements set out by the EU. By 2030, the nation hopes to be running on at least 35% green electricity.

The government have committed to installing at least 3,000MW of wind and solar every year, for the next 10 years. The so-called “sun tax” that has hampered solar power in the past has been scrapped, and money has been set aside to re-skill workers in the fossil fuel industry.

Spain is “deadly serious” about climate change

Laurence Tubiana, chief executive of the European Climate Foundation and one of the key figures in drafting the Paris accord, called the plans “groundbreaking” and “inspirational”.

“By planning on going carbon neutral, Spain shows that the battle against climate change is deadly serious, that they are ready to step up and plan to reap the rewards of decarbonisation,” she said.

James Watson, CEO of trade association SolarPower Europe, said: “It is exciting to see Spain setting the pace in its commitment to a 100 per cent renewable powered future… Spain’s energy ambition is a wake-up call to all the other states across the world, as it demonstrates what we know – it is possible to power large economies by renewables in the very near future.”

Back in the UK, the government are aiming to reduce greenhouse emissions by 80% by 2050.

Image source

Government grants for hybrid cars have been scrapped

electric vehicles

Financial incentives to buy a new hybrid vehicle in the UK have been ended, just months after the government announced the Road to Zero strategy. Grants for fully electric vehicles have also been slashed.

You’ll need to move quickly if you want to buy a discounted electric car. The Plug-in Car Grant, which pays for 35% of the price of a new vehicle, currently goes up to a maximum value of £4,500. It will be cut to £3,500 after the 1st November. This grant applies to very low emission (i.e, fully electric) vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf and the BMW i3.

Discounts for hybrid vehicles on the other hand have been scrapped altogether. That means you will have to pay full price for cars such as the Toyota Prius Plug-in or the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

The reason behind the change, according to the Department for Transport, is that hybrid cars have become popular enough among consumers to no longer need the government’s support – who want to shift attention on fully electric cars instead.

Sending mixed messages

Car manufactures however have been critical of the move.

Mike Hawes, CEO of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said: “We understand the pressure on the public purse but, given the importance of environmental goals, it’s astounding that just three months after publishing its road to zero strategy, the government has reduced the incentive that gives consumers most encouragement to invest in ultra-low emission vehicles.”

“Removing the grant for plug-in hybrids is totally at odds with already challenging ambitions for CO2 reduction and sends yet more confusing signals to car buyers.”

What to do if you’re planning to buy an EV

If you’re planning to buy an electric or hybrid vehicle soon, you can find details about grants here – https://www.gov.uk/plug-in-car-van-grants.

The secret behind your opening meter reading

opening meter readings

Whenever you switch to a new energy supplier, you will be asked to find your gas & electricity meters and submit an opening set of meter readings. Doing this makes your switch feel official, marking the handover from your old supplier to your new one. Sounds simple enough, right?

The strange thing is, we don’t always use your actual readings to open your account. To explain why, we need to take a look at the way the energy industry works, because industry rules & regulations can make things a lot more complicated than you might expect.

Your opening meter reading has to be checked & validated

When we receive your opening meter readings, we’re not allowed to just take your word for it – we have to send the figures to an independent meter validation company to be checked & verified. This is a regulatory requirement, and every energy company has to do it. It also takes time, which is why switching suppliers can take up to 21 days.

Why do your readings need to be verified? For starters, it prevents disputes between the two energy companies involved in the handover. And secondly, it double-checks that your meter readings are accurate.

So here’s how validating works…

The meter validation company’s aim is to work out what’s know as your maximum acceptable reading. If the opening meter reading you supply is more than the maximum acceptable reading, then they know that something’s not quite right!

This is how they work it out:

Step 1:

First, the meter validation company will look at your last verified reading (i.e. the last one you did with your old supplier before switching).

Step 2:

Next, they’ll calculate your expected usage for the period between your last meter reading and your switch date.

So let’s say your last meter reading was taken 20 days before you switched – they’ll take your typical daily usage and multiply it by 20. And because some days you’ll use more energy than others, they’ll multiply this number by 2.5 to give you a bit of a buffer.

Step 3:

Finally, they add the two figures together to create your maximum acceptable reading. It looks a bit like this:

Last reading + (expected usage x 2.5) = Your maximum acceptable reading

This gives them a decent estimate of what your opening meter reading should be, with some wiggle-room. All that’s left to do now is compare this figure to the opening readings you submitted.

What happens if the numbers don’t match up?

So what happens if your opening meter reading is higher than the maximum acceptable reading? It’s simple – we’ll just use the estimated figure instead.

What if your opening reading is lower than your last reading? In that case there has obviously been a mistake, and again we’ll just use the estimated figure in its place.

This doesn’t make a huge amount of difference for you – it just shifts the handover point slightly one way or the other.

Whichever way you look at it, there will always be a clear-cut point where you switch from the old supplier to the new one, and you will never pay for the same energy twice.

Getting off on the right foot

Providing an accurate & timely set of meter readings helps the whole switching process go smoothly! If you any need help reading your meters, don’t worry – we’ve create this handy guide with plenty of illustrations and simple instructions.

Please bear in mind that the explanation above has been simplified – the real calculations involve some pretty heavy maths!

If you have any questions about giving meter readings, we’re here to help – simply send an email to hello@eversmartenergy.co.uk.

How to save water around the home

saving water

Did you know that the average household in England & Wales spends almost £400 a year on water bills? Or that around 15% of a typical household energy bill goes towards heating water? There are significant savings to be made if you can control your water use – read on to find out how…

Reducing water use

Use a water efficient showerhead

‘Low flow’ showerheads can make it feel like water is coming out faster and with more power than it really is. This will reduce the amount of water used per shower, saving you money on your water and energy bills.

Note that low flow showerheads shouldn’t be fitted on electric showers.

Buy water efficient appliances

Next time you’re shopping for a new washing machine or dishwasher, look out for the Water Efficient Product Label. Buying an efficient appliance model can lead to big savings.

unified water label
The new Unified Water Label. Image source: europeanwaterlabel.eu

Turn off the taps

A running tap goes through around 6 litres of water per minute! Don’t leave the tap running while brushing your teeth, shaving or washing the dishes.

Use a reduced capacity bath

Next time you remodel your bathroom, think about fitting a low-capacity bath. These specially designed bathtubs require less water to fill while still feeling just as comfortable.

It goes without saying that showers are much more water-efficient than baths, but if you are more of a bath person then a reduced capacity bath could be the way to go!

Fix that dripping tap

A dripping tap is more than just a nuisance – it can sneakily waste water and add to your energy bill.

Re-use water

Why use tap water to fill up your watering can, when you could use collected rainwater from a water butt instead?

Saving hot water

Insulate your hot water cylinder and pipes

If your home has a hot water cylinder (it may not if you have a combi-boiler), putting a well-fitting insulation jacket around it could save you around £20 a year – or even more if you have an expensive immersion heater. Insulating your pipes will also help save money & energy.

Use your heating controls

Don’t waste money heating water when you don’t need it. Instead, take the time to familiarise yourself with your heating controls and timers.

Upgrade your boiler

If you have an older gas boiler, it may be time to upgrade it to a modern, energy efficient model. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that you could save anywhere from £55-£200 per year by upgrading.

New boilers aren’t cheap, but there may be government schemes & grants available in your area.

 

That’s our list of water saving tips. If you have any more ideas, let us know in the comments section!

 

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When can you switch energy suppliers without paying a penalty?

exit fees

If you try to switch energy suppliers before your contract is up, you could end up paying a penalty for leaving early – also known as an exit fee. Some energy suppliers can charge up to a whopping £75 per fuel! Read on to find out how to avoid getting stung.

Don’t let the fear of paying a fee stop you from getting a better deal!

Find out which type of tariff you are on

Exit fees usually only apply to fixed-term tariffs. These tariffs have a fixed price and a set end date.

Standard variable tariffs do not have exit fees, which means you are free to switch whenever you like without having to pay a penalty.

If you’re not sure which type of tariff you are on:

  • Look at a recent bill or email from your supplier
  • Log in to your online account
  • Call your energy supplier and ask

Check when your tariff is due to end

Your energy supplier cannot charge you an exit fee during the last 49 days of your contract. If you have less than 49 days left, you can go ahead and switch without being penalised.

Your supplier should write to you within the final 42-49 days to let you know your tariff is coming to an end.

Do the maths

Even if you do have to pay an exit fee, it might be worth it in the long run if the money you save by switching out-weighs the penalty.

You will need to check with your current supplier to find out what you will be charged. The table below shows the exit fees for some of the bigger energy companies:

Supplier Exit Fee
British Gas £30–£40 per fuel
Npower £20–£50 per fuel
E.ON £30–£75 per fuel
EDF £10–£40 per fuel
SSE £25 per fuel
Scottish Power £30 per fuel
Eversmart Energy No exit fees!

What if I stay with the same supplier?

If you let your tariff end without switching, your supplier should automatically move you onto their cheapest standard tariff. Ofgem rules state that they can’t put you on a fixed-term tariff with a termination fee.

It is very unlikely that you would have to pay an exit fee if you change tariffs but stay with the same supplier.

In summary:

  • You do not have to pay exit fees if you are on a standard variable tariff
  • You do not have to pay exit fees if your tariff ends in the next 49 days

Ready to switch?

If you are currently with one of the ‘big 6’ suppliers, you could save up to £400 per year by switching to Eversmart. Get started here.

 

The information in this article was correct at the time of publishing.

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Scottish tidal power plant smashes renewable energy records

SR 2000

A tidal energy turbine off the coast of Orkney is generating more power than the rest of Scotland’s wave & tidal sector combined!

The Scotrenewables SR2000 was installed in 2017 in the sea near the small island of Eday. Its 2MW turbine has so far produced around three gigawatt-hours of electricity. It has produced more power in a 12 month period than every other wave & tidal project in Scotland put together.

Andrew Scott, CEO of Scotrenewables Tidal Power, described it as a “phenomenal result”.

Innovative approach

Unlike older tidal power plants – which look a little like wind turbines attached to the seabed – the SR2000 floats on the surface like a boat, with turbines hanging underneath it. This makes it easier to repair & maintain, as the parts are more easily accessible.

SR 2000
2 large turbines hang down underneath the boat-like structure. Image from Scotrenewables.

Mr Scott said: “We’ve taken a very novel approach and we believe we’ve got a very disruptive technology in that space.”

The Orkney islands are home to just over 20,000 people, and the SR2000 can provide around 7% of their electricity needs on a typical day – but has been known to provide over a quarter of demand on a good day.

The owners of the project say the technology is still in its infancy, but estimate that one day projects like this could supply up to 20% of the UK’s power needs.

Renewable energy leader

Scotland is one of the biggest users of renewable energy in Europe. New figures have placed them fourth in the EU, with 54% of its electricity coming from renewable sources.

Samoa is going 100% renewable – with the help of Tesla

Tesla in Samoa

The island nation of Samoa plans to run on 100% renewable energy by 2025, and the electric car giant Tesla are helping them achieve that goal.

The small country, home to around 200,000 people, previously relied on expensive imported diesel for most of their electricity – in 2012 alone they had to import 95 million litres of the stuff. But cost isn’t the only issue – island nations like Samoa are also at particular risk from the effects of climate change.

In recent years Samoa has invested heavily in renewable energy, with five large solar power plants, a wind farm and hydro-electricity plants. But this presented the country with a new challenge – effectively storing and re-distributing all that energy. That’s where Tesla came in, who have installed 2 of its Powerpack storage systems providing 13.6 MWh of storage. More importantly, they have implemented grid controller software that can react to a spike in demand in a fraction of a second.

“If a big cloud comes over the island and the solar drops very quickly, we can control the battery to make up the difference so we don’t have to start a generator immediately, and we don’t have to keep a generator running even when it might not be needed,” explains JB Straubel, chief technical officer at Tesla.

The software does a job that would be near-impossible for a human. “You have to respond in fractions of a second and you have to be kind of watching a lot of different data sources at the same time and then responding quickly… so it’s sort of the perfect application for a computer to do exactly that.”

solar farm
One of Samoa’s many solar farms. Image Source:Tesla

Since the system was installed earlier this summer power outages have become a thing of the past, and although diesel generators are still needed, usage is way down.
Tesla hope that the technology can be used in other parts of the world as renewable energy use increases.

“We’re going to see a lot more of the problems Samoa was struggling with coming up because they were getting to such high renewable percentages,” says Straubel. “So it’s really an indicator of the future. These are the types of problems and systems that we will definitely see in more parts of the world and in bigger and bigger grids.”

Record numbers of people are switching to smaller suppliers

switching energy suppliers

Almost half a million people switched electricity suppliers last month, with record numbers making the move away from a large supplier to a smaller independent company.

According to new figures released by Energy UK last week, 222,036 customers switched to a ‘mid-tier’ energy provider during the month of June – the highest number ever.

Breaking records

The number of switchers is up 19% compared to the same month in 2017. So far this year 2.7 million people have switched suppliers, compared to 2.6 million by the same point last year.

A record-breaking 5.5 million electricity customers have made the switch so far in 2018.

Confidence to switch

Research suggests that consumers are feeling more confident than ever when it comes to switching energy suppliers, with 9 out of 10 saying that they are happy with the process according to research from the Energy Switch Guarantee.

price comparison
Greater choice and the rise of price comparison websites have helped boost the number of people switching.

Eversmart have been encouraging consumers for years to walk away from the ‘Big 6’ suppliers and explore the cheaper alternatives out there.

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK, seems to agree. He said:

“The record numbers switching to small and mid-tier suppliers show that more and more customers are taking advantage of the ever-growing competition and choice out there.”

“It only takes a few minutes to either check with your own supplier or to look at what’s on offer from nearly 70 competing suppliers in the market. With the Energy Switch Guarantee in place consumers should feel even more confident that switching will be simple, speedy and safe.”

Save up to £400 per year

Eversmart Energy entered the market in 2016 after new Ofgem regulations made it easier for smaller companies to compete with the Big 6.

A typical dual-fuel household can save up to £400 when they switch to us. You can get a quick energy quote here.

UK renewable energy generation breaks records (again)!

renewable energy UK

Of all the electricity used in the first quarter of 2018, over 30% came from renewable sources – according to new figures from the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) released last week.

Renewables were up by 3.1% compared to the same period last year, despite the higher demand for energy caused by the ‘beast from the east’ cold snap. Stronger winds and greater installed capacity (41.9GW at the end of 2018) are both thought to be the main factors behind the record-breaking stats.

Record-breaking figures

  • 30.1% of all electricity used came from renewable sources during January to March 2018
  • The figure was 27% during the same period last year
  • Wind generation was up by one third compared to last year
  • Wind accounted for almost one fifth of total generation, at 19.11%
  • For comparison, gas power was 39.9%, nuclear was 17.9% and coal was 9.4%

Back in May we reported that wind power out-performed nuclear for the first time ever.

More action needed

Emma Pinchbeck, executive director at RenewableUK, welcomed the positive news but warned that much more needed to be done:

“The landmark report from the government’s official advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, warns that we need to do more to reach our clean energy targets, and it recommends deploying more onshore wind because it’s the cheapest source of energy… We hope Ministers will listen to their own experts and take swift action to lift the block on future onshore projects.”

Here comments refer to the government’s cuts to onshore wind funding in recent years.

Ten of the fastest electric cars in the world

ten of the fastest electric cars in the world

With electric vehicles poised to overtake internal combustion engines over the next few decades, manufacturers around the world are clamouring to break speed records and claim the crown of world’s fastest EV.

The UK will ban the sale of new non-electric vehicles by 2040, with other countries like France following suit. The new legislation is forcing manufacturers to get creative and fast-track their plans for getting more electric vehicles on the roads.

We’ve rounded up a list of ten of the fastest electric cars in the world below. Some of the cars on the list can be purchased right now, such as the Tesla Model S, whilst some are still firmly in concept car territory – like the ridiculous Lamborghini Terzo Millennio.

Check out the list and let us know what you think!

NIO EP9

NIO EP9

Top Speed 194 mph
0-124 mph 7.1 seconds
Horsepower 1,360 hp

The “fastest electric car in the world” from Chinese manufacturer NIO smashed the coveted Nürburgring record with a time of 6 minutes 45 seconds – beating such petrol cars as the Porsche 911 GT2 and Lamborghini Huracán.

If you’re planning to buy one, you need to be quick (and rich!) – only six have been sold so far, all to NIO investors at $1.2 million each. The company plan to sell just another 10 to the general public.

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S P100D (Ludicrous Mode)

Top Speed 155 mph
0-60 mph 2.5 seconds
Horsepower 762 hp

The flagship P100D version of the Tesla Model S comes with a new ‘Ludicrous’ mode, which has to be unlocked via a menu on the car’s touch-screen interface. Once activated, the car can fly up to 60mph in two and a half seconds – in other words, it’s a five-seat luxury sedan than can accelerate faster than an Audi R8 V10!

The premium P100D model will cost you upwards of £115,000.

Lucid Air

Lucid Air

Top Speed 235 mph
0-60 mph 2.5 seconds
Horsepower 900–1,000 hp

The Lucid Air is another big executive sedan than is faster than it has any right to be. In a recent test, with its electronic speed-limiter disabled, the car reached a top speed of 235mph. It can also accelerate up to 60mph in 2.5 seconds – making it as quick as its main competitor, the Tesla Model S.

There’s no confirmed price for the UK yet, but the US version can be pre-ordered for around $50,000.

Vanda Dendrobium

Vanda Dendrobium

Top Speed 200+ mph
0-60 mph 2.7 seconds
Horsepower 1,000 hp

There’s no solid production date for this all-electric concept hypercar, but its makers claim that it can exceed 200 mph and can fly from 0-60 in 2.7 seconds!

The Dendrobium shares its name with a flower from its native Singapore, which it resembles when all of its doors are opened.

When it does finally hit the showrooms, you can expect to pay in excess of £1 million to get your hands on one.

Rimac Concept_One

Rimac Concept_One

Top Speed 220 mph
0-100 kmph 2.5 seconds
Horsepower 1,224 hp

Described by its Croatian makers as “the world’s first electric sports car” at the time of its release in 2013, the Rimac Concept_One can get to 62mph faster than a McLaren P1 and can reach a top speed of 220 mph!

The car is also notorious for being crashed by Richard Hammond while filming an episode of the Grand Tour.

Only eight cars were built, selling at over £1 million each!

Genovation GXE

Genovation GXE

Top Speed 220 mph
0-60 mph under 3 seconds
Horsepower 800 hp

Building a brand new car from scratch is costly and complicated. So instead Genovation took a Corvette Grand Sport as a starting point, took out the engine and replaced it with twin electric motors capable of 800 horsepower. (Tesla did something similar when it first designed the Roadster, using a Lotus chassis).

The US team that built the GXE claim the record of “the world’s first street legal Electric car to exceed 220mph”. Unusually for an electric car, the GXE has a manual gearbox, allowing drivers to squeeze out as much powers as possible.

Tesla Roadster 2020

Tesla Roadster (2020)

Top Speed 250+ mph
0-60 mph 1.9 seconds
Horsepower 1,000 hp

The new Tesla Roadster will supersede the original 2008 design and promises to be quicker than any production car ever made (electric or otherwise), with an eye-watering 0-60 time of just 1.9 seconds. The estimated top speed of ‘over 250 mph’ would put it in the same league as the Koenigsegg Agera RS, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport or the Aston Martin Valkyrie!

“The point of doing this is to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline vehicles,” says Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

The car was announced in 2017 and is scheduled for release in 2020, with a starting price of around $200,000.

Faraday Future FF 91

Faraday Future FF 91

Top Speed ???
0-60 mph 2.39 seconds
Horsepower 1,050 hp

It’s not the most exotic vehicle on this list, but nevertheless the Faraday Future FF 91 is a family SUV that can accelerate faster than a Ferrari 488 or a Porsche 911 Turbo S! It’s also marginally quicker than its main competition, the Tesla Model S.

The car is rumoured to cost around $180,000 when it goes on sale.

Aston Martin RapidE

Aston Martin RapidE

Aston Martin only plan to sell 155 of these exclusive cars, which they are pitching as a more up-market alternative to anything Tesla has to offer. Details are thin on the ground, but the company’s first electric vehicle is based on the existing Rapide AMR petrol car and is aiming for 800–1,000 horsepower.

Lamborghini Terzo Millennio

Lamborghini Terzo Millennio

The Terzo Millennio (“third millennium” in English) is a futuristic concept car jointly developed by Lamborghini and MIT with one simple goal in mind – to “rewrite the rules on super sports cars”.

The car ditches the traditional ‘skateboard’ structure used by most electric cars – where the bottom of the car contains a large, flat array of batteries – and proposes storing energy in the body of the car itself using supercapacitors. And that’s not all – Lamborghini and the researchers at MIT are looking for a way to make the car self-heal, automatically detecting and repairing cracks & dents in the bodywork.

There are few technical specs and it’s unlikely to go into production anytime soon, but just look at it!

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