UK wind power hits 20 GW milestone

Walney Extension

The United Kingdom has his a historic wind energy milestone, reaching a total installed capacity of 20 gigawatts. The opening of the Walney Extension off the coast of Cumbria earlier this month tipped the total over the 20 GW mark.

  • Wind power is the biggest source of renewable energy in the UK, with the total capacity now standing at 20,128 MW – or just over 2 GW
  • The country’s first commercial onshore windfarm went operational in 1991 in Delabole, Cornwall
  • The first commercial offshore windfarm started generating in 2000, off the coast of Blyth in Northumberland
  • Total capacity was just 1GW in 2005 and 5GW in 2010, before rapidly expanding to 10GW in 2013

According to the trade body RenewableUK, wind power has enough capacity to meet the needs of 14 million homes.

“Phenomenal growth”

Commenting on the announcement, RenewableUK’s Executive Director Emma Pinchbeck said:

“It took 19 years to install the first 5GW of wind energy in the UK and we’ve now installed the same amount in under two years. That phenomenal growth shows just how quickly the UK is moving to a smart, low carbon power system and wind energy is at the heart of that.”

“Over half of the UK’s wind energy capacity is onshore, which is the cheapest option for new power. However, Government policy preventing onshore wind from competing for new power contracts means that consumers will miss out on low-cost power that will keep bills down.”

“It was the opening of the world’s largest offshore wind farm that has took us over the 20GW mark. We’re confident that offshore wind alone can reach at least 30GW by 2030 to become the backbone of a clean, reliable and affordable energy system.”

Experts predict that total offshore wind power alone could hit the 30 GW mark by 2030.

 

Image source: Ørsted

Are Smart Meters Compulsory?

smart meter installation

It’s a question we get asked a lot – are smart meters compulsory? Do I have to get a smart meter? Will the government make me get one? In this article, we’ll tackle some common questions & concerns about the smart meter roll-out.

If you’re unsure what a smart meter is, or whether you already have one, we’d recommend reading this article first – What is a smart meter and how do they work?

Do I have to get a smart meter?

The short answer is no – smart meters are completely optional, and you are not obliged to get one. You can still switch to Eversmart Energy and opt-out of getting a smart meter if you wish.

Some background

In 2016 the government began the smart meter roll-out. It is their goal to put a smart meter in every home & business in the UK by 2020. Smart meters are designed to save consumers money and make the energy grid more modern & efficient.

Energy suppliers (including Eversmart Energy) are responsible for supplying & fitting smart metering equipment at no up-front cost to the consumer. Suppliers are required “to take all reasonable steps to roll out smart meters to all of their domestic and small business customers by the end of 2020”, as stated on the Ofgem website.

As a result, we offer a smart meter to every new Eversmart customer. It’s no secret that we think smart meters are great and that everybody should have one – but we won’t force you to have one installed if you don’t want it.

What does Ofgem say?

The following is taken from Ofgem’s website:

“While we and the government think that all consumers will benefit from smart meters, they aren’t compulsory and you can choose not to have one.”

“Choosing not to have a smart meter may mean you don’t have access to all the available tariffs on the market, some of which could be cheaper.”

“If you don’t want to have a smart meter now, you will still be able to have one installed for free at a later date.”

Why you should get a smart meter

Although they are not compulsory, smart meters offer a huge range of benefits. We’ve included a brief list of some of them below:

  • No more estimated bills. Your energy bills will be accurate and based on your real usage.
  • No need to submit manual meter readings to your supplier
  • You will also receive a free in-home display unit, showing your energy use & spending in near real-time
  • Smart meters are much more convenient for pre-pay customers. You can top-up remotely via app, phone or SMS

If you do opt to get a smart meter, it will be supplied & fitted for free by a qualified smart meter engineer. The installation process is fairly straightforward and is usually done in under two hours.

More information

If you have more questions about smart meters, there’s plenty more information & resources on our website:

Eversmart CEO shortlisted for NatWest business award

business awards

Barney Cook, the CEO of Eversmart Energy, has been shortlisted for the 2018 NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards in the Start-Up Entrepreneur of the Year category.

NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards

Now in its sixth year, the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards celebrates achievements in business across a wide range of categories. Past winners include David Buttress of Just Eat, Julie Deane OBE of The Cambridge Satchel Company, James Watt of BrewDog and most recently, Hannah and Sophie Pycroft of Spectrum Collections.

Challenging the ‘big six’

Barney founded Eversmart Energy in 2016, when new regulations opened up the market for new energy suppliers to come in and challenge the dominant ‘big six’ energy companies. Eversmart aims to be modern, tech-savvy, transparent and fair.

The Manchester-based company has seen a rapid surge in growth during its short lifespan, tempting frustrated consumers away from the big six by offering better value and a more modern service.

Eversmart team
Barney thanked his staff after the shortlist was announced

A team effort

Barney credits the company’s success to the strong team he has built around him. Commenting on the announcement Barney said: “A CEO without his team… will not be CEO for very long! We wouldn’t be where we are without the determination and commitment of a lot of talented people.”

Entrepreneurship is still alive and well

Creator of the Awards, Francesca James, said: “We have been inundated with some incredible entries this year, and all shortlisted applicants should be extremely proud of themselves! This year has yet again seen a record number of entrants and we’ve been absolutely blown away by the strength and diversity of applications.”

Gordon Merrylees, Head of Entrepreneurship at NatWest added that “Entrepreneurial spirit is still clearly alive and well.”

NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards

The winners will be announced at 5 regional galas around the UK, including; Cardiff, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Manchester & London. You can find more information about the awards and the ceremonies at www.greatbritishentrepreneurawards.com.

Electric cars could one day be charged in seconds, thanks to the University of Glasgow

electric car charger

The time it takes to charge an electric vehicle could be dropped from hours to just seconds, thanks to a new ‘flow battery system’ developed by the University of Glasgow.

For as long as electric cars have been part of the public conversation, there has always been one major hurdle putting many people off them – the time it takes to charge. Even the most efficient charging systems and batteries can take several hours to fully charge, as opposed to filling a petrol car which only takes a matter of seconds. That however could all be about to change.

‘Nanoscale battery molecules’

Chemistry researchers from the university have developed a hi-tech liquid containing ‘nanoscale battery molecules’. Put simply, the liquid is a sort of removable battery – so you can pump fresh, fully-charged liquid into your car while the old, depleted liquid is removed and taken away to be re-charged. This means you can effectively fill up your car in the same way you would with petrol (and in the same amount of time).

As well as proving electricity, the liquid can also provide hydrogen for hydrogen-powered vehicles, making it an extremely versatile sort of ‘dual fuel’.

hydrogen car
Hydrogen fuel cell cars, such as the Hyundai ix35 (pictured) could also benefit from the technology. Image source.

Environmental benefits

The new technology spells out great news not just for motorists, but for the environment too. Because the liquid stores energy effectively and can be charged away from the car, it can make use of renewable energy as and when it’s available, meaning less reliance on fossil fuels.

Professor Leroy Cronin, who worked on the project, said: “For future renewables to be effective high capacity and flexible energy storage systems are needed to smooth out the peaks and troughs in supply. Our approach will provide a new route to do this electrochemically and could even have application in electric cars where batteries can still take hours to recharge and have limited capacity. Moreover, the very high energy density of our material could increase the range of electric cars, and also increase the resilience of energy storage systems to keep the lights on at times of peak demand.”

There’s no news on if or when the technology will be available for public use, but the future looks very promising!

Halogen light bulb ban – what you need to know

halogen bulbs

Halogen light bulbs are to be phased out from the beginning of September 2018, in Britain and across the EU, with consumers being encouraged to switch to more efficient LED bulbs instead. What does this this mean for you and your household? Read on as we answer your questions…

Why the change?

Halogen bulbs are less energy-efficient than LEDs. It is hoped that the change will reduce energy use and cut carbon emissions across Europe. According to the Energy Saving Trust, a typical halogen bulb costs around £11 per year to run, whereas an equivalent LED bulb would cost just £2 – making it over 5 times more efficient. Halogen bulbs also tend to fail after around 2 years; LEDs on the other hand can last for up to 20 years.

Old incandescent bulbs – which were even less efficient than halogens – were phased out back in 2009.

How will the ban come into effect?

Shops will no longer be able to order new halogen bulbs after 1st September. They will however be permitted to sell their current stock, so you might still see them on the shelves for some time afterwards.

Do I have to replace my old bulbs right now?

Don’t worry – you can keep using your old bulbs until they burn out, then replace them with LEDs as and when you need to. The ban prevents shops from ordering & selling new halogen bulbs, but it doesn’t stop you from using the ones you already own.

Which LED bulbs should I buy?

The brightness of LED lights is described in ‘lumens’ – which may take some getting used to if you’ve grown up thinking of bulbs in terms of watts. The chart below compares the wattage of traditional bulbs to the lumen level of their energy-efficient counterparts:

light bulb comparison
The wattage of traditional light bulbs compared to energy efficient versions.

As you can see, an old-style 60W bulb is the equivalent of around 700-900 lumens. Most bulb packaging includes a ‘traditional’ wattage for easy comparison.

How much do LED lights cost?

There’s no getting around it – LED bulbs are expensive. But bear in mind that after the initial purchase, they cost less to run and they will last much longer.

Are LEDs compatible with my current light fittings?

Generally speaking, yes. LED bulbs are available with ‘bayonet’ and ‘screw’ caps, just like traditional halogen and incandescent bulbs. In most cases you can just take out the old bulb and pop in an LED without any issues – however we have heard reports of problems with ceiling lights flickering when the bulbs are replaced with LEDs. You should consult an electrician if you need advice.

Will this be affected by Brexit?

At the moment, the UK is still part of the European Union and therefore the EU rules on light bulbs still apply. And it’s unlikely that manufacturers will make special bulbs just for the UK once we have left the EU.

How to keep cool and save energy this summer

summer energy efficiency

As temperatures continue to soar to record highs across the UK this week, we take a look at some easy ways to cool your home and save energy in the process.

Along with many other parts of the world, the UK is experiencing a major heatwave which shows few signs of stopping anytime soon, with temperatures consistently passing the 30°C mark for several days in a row.

That means it’s more important than ever to make your home as energy-efficient as possible as you battle the blistering heat! Remember, keeping the heat out of your home in the summer is just as important as keeping it in during the winter!

The blogging team at Alliance to Save Energy, a US energy saving organisation, has created this handy graphic explaining 8 quick & easy tips for keeping your home cool during the summer months – and how to keep your energy bills under control as you do so!

You can check out the guide below (click or tap on the image to view it in full-size).

summer energy efficiency infographic

Juventus reveal new kit made from 100% recycled plastic

Juventus recycled kit

Italian football club Juventus have revealed their new third kit for the 2018-19 season, made entirely from recycled plastic recovered from the ocean.

The reigning Serie A champions teamed up with manufacturer Adidas and environmental group Parley for the Ocean to design the innovative new kit, made from 100% recycled polyester. The design features dark grey fabric with bright yellow logos and trim.

The new design was unveiled to the world on Twitter yesterday, accompanied by the slogan ‘From Threat into Thread’:

 

 

Juventus aren’t the only footballing giants taking action against plastic pollution. Manchester United released a similar recycled kit back in May – also designed by Adidas.

Manchester United recycled kit
Manchester United have also designed a kit made from recycled material. All images: Adidas.

“The new Juve third kit has eco-innovation and longevity at its very heart” said Adidas Designer Francesca Venturini on the club’s official website.

“Through our partnership with Parley for the Oceans we’ve been able to create this beautiful jersey made from Ocean Plastic. The dark grey shade with yellow accents makes it the perfect jersey to be worn either on pitch or on the streets.”

Plastic Pollution

According to UNESCO, over 220 million tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans each year. Much of this plastic is eroded down into micro-particles, which are extremely harmful to marine life.

Plastic waste can also collect into concentrated areas known as gyres. There are currently 5 gyres in the world’s oceans – the biggest, known as ‘the Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ is twice the size of Texas!

BP is buying the UK’s biggest car charging company Chargemaster

BP Chargemaster

Oil giant BP announced today that it’s in the process of buying Chargemaster, who operate the country’s largest EV charging network with over 6,500 public charging points around the UK.

The sale will cost BP £130 million.

BP say that the move is an “important step in scaling up and deploying a fast and ultra-fast charging network on BP’s UK forecourts.” BP, who run around 1,200 petrol stations, are anticipating a rapid shift from petrol to electric cars over the coming years. They estimate that by 2040 there will be around 12 million electric vehicles on British roads.

Last year, rivals Shell purchased Dutch charging company NewMotion for an undisclosed amount.

About Chargemaster

  • Founded in 2008
  • Operates POLAR, the UK’s largest EV charging network
  • Is also a leading supplier of charging infrastructure
  • Operates over 6,500 public charging points
  • Will be re-branded as “BP Chargemaster” once the sale is complete

 

BP Chargemaster
The charging points will be re-branded after the sale

2040 Deadline

Chief executive of BP Downstream Tufan Erginbilgic said: “At BP we believe that fast and convenient charging is critical to support the successful adoption of electric vehicles. Combining BP’s and Chargemaster’s complementary expertise, experience and assets is an important step towards offering fast and ultra-fast charging at BP sites across the UK and to BP becoming the leading provider of energy to low carbon vehicles, on the road or at home.”

The UK government are pushing ahead with plans to ban the sale of new petrol & diesel cars by 2040, with a target of three-fifths of new cars being electric by 2030.

400 megawatt hydro plant planned for Loch Ness

Loch Ness hydro plant

Plans are underway to build a 400MW pumped hydro scheme on the east shore of Loch Ness, capable of powering 400,000 homes.

The energy storage system would take excess electricity generated by wind farms and use it to pump water up to an elevated reservoir. The water can then be released at times of high demand, moving turbines and generating power on its way back down to the loch.

Once completed, the hydro plant will be able to provide 2.4GWh of storage capacity for the grid over a six hour period.

Energy storage has long been a challenge associated with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, which don’t necessarily produce power when demand is highest.

Boost to the local economy

The proposed site is just south of Dores, a small town around 6 miles away from Inverness. The upper reservoir will blend into the natural geographic features from where it gets its name – Red John.

Hydro dam
The new project will join an existing hydro power station. Image source.

Intelligent Land Investments (ILI), the company behind the project, say that it will create jobs for up to 300 people.

Mark Wilson from ILI said: “Pumped storage hydro is the largest and cleanest form of energy storage that currently exists – and a key enabler in helping Scotland meet its green energy ambitions.”

“As well as dramatically improving our energy security, this transformational proposal is a fantastic opportunity for the community to benefit from the energy transition while helping turbo-charge Scotland’s decarbonisation efforts.”

The Red John project will join the existing Foyers hydro-electric power station, also situated on the east shore of Loch Ness.

The figures are in – Eversmart are up to £400 cheaper than the competition!

energy savings

Big news from Eversmart HQ this week. According to the latest data from price comparison websites, switching to Eversmart Energy can knock up to £400 off your annual energy bill!

As every one of the ‘Big 6’ suppliers announced price increases earlier this year*, record numbers of people have been switching to independent providers like Eversmart, eager to find a better deal. With the help of the internet and price comparison sites, consumers are becoming savvier and more willing than ever to step away from the big suppliers.

According to the press, taking a chance on a smaller, modern energy company can have big rewards – just take a look at the table below, published by This Is Money earlier this month:

Energy price comparison table
Source: thisismoney.co.uk

Positive News

Eversmart Energy CEO Barney Cook was thrilled when he heard the news.

“The big 6 have been taking their customers for granted for far too long. Consumers are finally waking up and realising that their loyalty isn’t being rewarded, and we’re happy to step in and offer a better alternative. The news that we are £400 cheaper than some suppliers just goes to show that it pays to shop around and make the switch. We’re proud to be one of the best value energy providers in the country.”

Is it time for you to switch?

A typical household paying for dual-fuel on a standard variable tariff with one of the big 6 suppliers could save up to £400 per year by switching over to Eversmart.

It only takes 2 minutes to get a quote – you can get started here.