The Unilever-owned ice cream brand are pressuring the UK government to scrap the obstacles that are preventing more windfarms from being built.
Policy changes and subsidy cuts in recent years have brought onshore windfarm construction to a grinding halt. The ice cream makers, who have a long history of campaigning on environmental issues, are hoping to raise public awareness and force the government into rethinking its renewable energy policies.
They have teamed up with climate change charity 10:10 to launch the ‘Blown Away’ campaign, accompanied by a promotional video:
In a poll conducted by 10:10, three quarters of the British public said that they support onshore wind energy. The charity states that despite this, the government are pulling funding away from wind energy and pushing nuclear and fracking instead.
Cecily Spelling, Campaign Manager at 10:10, said “The UK government made a clear commitment to tackle climate change when it signed the Paris Agreement in December 2015, yet they continue to block support for renewables. Public support for renewables is sky high; almost 75% of the public support onshore wind energy, yet the government is choosing to support fossil fuels over renewables. We need to show that, come rain or shine, the British public won’t stand for this!”
To show their support for the campaign, Ben & Jerry’s have re-branded some of their most popular flavours with wind-themed names, such as “Strawberry Breeze-cake” and “Cherry Gale-cia”. The flavours will be sold at half-price on ‘Windy Wednesdays’.
The company are backing a petition to lift the effective ban on onshore windfarms – you can find more information here.
It has been estimated that fossil fuels will completely run out within the next 50 to 100 years. The world has already started to look to sustainable alternatives such as wind and solar power, but some researchers are looking further ahead to even more efficient and cleaner alternatives.
The team over at Futurism.com have compiled a list of some of the most promising & exciting alternative energy sources.
One day, we could be collecting solar power from space and beaming the energy back down to earth, or digging deep below the ground to harness geothermal energy from magma. Some of these ideas are already being developed, whilst other are still firmly in science fiction territory.
You can check out the full list in the infographic below. (click or tap on the image to view the full-size version).
In theory, one third of the world’s electricity needs could be supplied using tidal power, according to a state-of-the-art research paper from Bangor University.
The researchers from the School of Ocean Sciences at Bangor University estimated that 5,792 terawatt hours could be produced by tidal power plants around the world. At present 90% of tidal power projects are located in just 5 countries, with the majority in France and the UK – one of the largest being the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project in South Wales.
Tidal power is low carbon and extremely predictable, capturing kinetic energy from rising and falling tides and using it to generate electricity. The British Isles are in an ideal position to harness tidal power, with several areas of high tidal range – the vertical difference between the water level at low and high tide.
Dr Simon Neill, the lead author of the study, explains “tidal lagoons are attracting national and international attention, with the 2017 publication of the government commissioned ‘Hendry Review’, which assessed the economic case for tidal lagoon power plants, and suggested that a ‘Pathfinder’ project in Swansea Bay could be the start of a global industry. Geographically, the UK is in an ideal position, containing many regions of large tidal range as a result of the resonant characteristics of this part of the European shelf seas.”
Tidal power is attractive for many reasons, although it doesn’t come without its challenges – as Dr Sophie Ward explains: “Although tidal lagoons will likely be less intrusive than tidal barrages (which tend to span entire estuaries), they require careful design and planning to minimize the impact on the local environment. With significant global potential for tidal range power plants, we need to closely monitor environmental consequences of extracting energy from the tides, and be cautious of altering natural habitats by building structures and impounding water in lagoons or behind barrages.”
There are several types of tidal power plants – including tidal barrages, tidal lagoons and underwater turbines. Although it has huge potential for generating clean, renewable energy, tidal power is currently lagging behind wind and solar energy due to relatively high setup costs and the limited number of coastal sites where it can be generated.
The government wants a smart meter installed in every home and business in the country by 2020. In this article we’ll tackle some of the most common questions & concerns about smart meters, including; what are smart meters? How do smart meters work? How much do they cost? How are they fitted? And are they worth it?
Smart meters explained
Smart meters are designed to replace old, traditional gas & electricity meters. Smart meters communicate directly with your energy supplier, transmitting regular, accurate meter readings. This means no more climbing into your cupboard in order to give your supplier a manual reading. It also puts an end to inaccurate energy bills based on estimated usage.
Smart meters usually come bundled with an in-home device (IHD). Also known as an energy monitor, the IHD has a screen that displays how much gas and electricity you are using in near real-time. Seeing your energy usage and spending can help you adjust your lifestyle and save energy & money.
What does a smart meter look like?
The actual smart meter – the unit that’s usually tucked away in a cupboard or a corner – looks similar to a traditional electricity or gas meter. However when most people mention a ‘smart meter’, they’re actually referring to the in-home device – this is a sleek, small display that sits on a shelf or table top and displays your energy usage. It’s fairly small and discreet – perhaps a little larger and bulkier than an average mobile phone.
How much does a smart meter cost?
Nothing! Your smart meter will be installed for free. If you switch over to Eversmart, you will receive a free smart meter fitted by a trained engineer plus a free home safety test. You can find out more about switching to us here and more about our smart meters here.
What are the benefits of having a smart meter?
There are two very big benefits of having a smart meter installed. The first is that your energy bills will no longer be estimated and you will only pay for the actual amount of gas and electricity you use. The second is having visibility of your live usage. The IHD displays your kWh usage and the amount you are spending. This is especially useful if you are a pre-payment customer, as the smart meter will tell you how much credit you have left.
We have listed a few more benefits below:
More accurate bills
No need to submit manual meter readings
Improved service – As energy suppliers get a better understanding of their customer’s energy usage and habits, they can offer better tariffs.
Remote topping-up – Pre-payment customers with a smart meter can top-up online or over the phone. No more walking to the shops just to top up your gas and electric!
Save energy and money – If you can see how much energy you are using and when you are using the most, it’s easier to make smart choices and lifestyle changes that will reduce your usage, bring down your bills and reduce your carbon footprint.
Helping to create the “smart grid” – The more people that have smart meters, the more energy suppliers can plan ahead and supply energy more efficiently. This saves money for both the suppliers and their customers.
Some other frequently asked questions:
How do smart meters transmit data?
Smart meters from Eversmart come with a mobile SIM card that transmits your usage data. It can also receive messages and updates. The SIM is completely free and you do not need to pay a monthly bill or any other fees for using it.
The SIM can roam between several networks, so there’s no need to worry about whether it will get a signal.
Do smart meters need the internet to work?
No. The smart meter uses a SIM card to communicate with the energy supplier. The smart meter also connects wirelessly with the IHD (it doesn’t use your Wi-Fi, as some people believe).
Are they safe?
There have been rumours and conspiracy theories floating around that smart meters are somehow harmful to your health. We can tell you that smart meters are subject to the same safety regulations and rigorous testing as other consumer technology products, as required by UK and EU law.
Smart meters do emit low-level radio frequencies, as do many consumer electrical products. Public Health England (formerly The Health Protection Agency) say that the evidence suggests the radio waves produced by smart meters do not pose a risk to health. The government has published a very detailed report on smart meters & health, which you can read here.
How are smart meters powered?
The smart meter is powered directly by your home’s power supply. Your IHD from Eversmart can be plugged in or powered by batteries. Note that if you turn off the IHD, the smart meter will continue working and transmitting data as usual.
Who will install my smart meter?
Your smart meter will be fitted and tested by a trained engineer.
How long does it take to fit a smart meter?
It usually takes up to one hour per meter (gas and/or electricity). So if you are a dual-fuel customer, it should take no longer than 2 hours.
The video below gives you a brief overview of the installation process:
Note that dual-fuel customers will need two smart meters – one for your gas supply and one for your electricity. Both are free and we will aim to install both in the same visit. You will only need one in-home display.
Can I switch energy suppliers if I have a smart meter?
Yes. Be aware however that if you already have an older 1st-generation smart meter, it may not be compatible with your new supplier. If you are unsure, check with your current supplier before making the switch.
Modern 2nd-generation smart meters can be switched seamlessly between suppliers.
Can I get a smart meter if I pre-pay for my gas or electric?
Yes. A smart meter will help you monitor your usage and allow you to pay remotely. They’re also ideal for people with limited mobility, as traditional meters are often difficult and inconvenient to access.
Can I get a smart meter if I rent my home?
Yes. As a tenant, if you are directly responsible for paying the energy bills, then you have the right to choose your own energy supplier. In most circumstances your energy meter belongs to the energy company, not your landlord. This means that you are free to switch suppliers and get your old meter replaced with a smart meter (Ofgem recommends that you still give your landlord a heads-up before getting a smart meter fitted).
How to get a smart meter
Eversmart Energy offer a free smart meter to every new customer. We also offer some of the best value energy tariffs in the country – you could save up to £400 per year by switching to us. You can get a quote in under 2 minutes here.
Over 660,000 people switched electricity suppliers last month, according to industry figures from Energy UK.
This is the highest ever number of people switching in a single month, and represents a 60% increase compared to the same period last year.
2017 also saw the highest number of people switching gas suppliers since 2008, according to the latest figures released by Ofgem.
The unusually cold weather, better informed customers and aggressive advertising by certain energy firms have all been suggested by experts as reasons for the high figures. Around 20% of switches were people moving away from the ‘Big 6’ and opting for a cheaper, independent supplier.