Tag Archives: Energy

Energy Systems Of The Future – Local Communities To Benefit Sooner

Just under £10 million Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund investment will support even more people to get value from smart local energy systems.

A new research consortium and funding for business-led innovation projects will speed up the uptake of smart energy systems by local communities to start benefiting from cleaner, cheaper and more consumer-friendly energy.

Funding is by UK Research and Innovation through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund for clean energy – a £102.5 million investment in UK industry and research to develop systems that support the global move to renewables.

Rolled out by 2020s

Twelve projects from all across the UK will share £1.5 million to design ground-breaking, local, smart energy systems that are ready for roll out in the 2020s.

They will quickly bring forward energy systems with improved efficiency and productivity, at lower costs, in order to reduce energy bills for consumers and create better user experiences.

Ultimately this should help improve air quality in line with the government’s fifth carbon budget, at the same time as building the UK’s energy supply chain, creating high value jobs and export opportunities.

Projects include:

  • creating an energy marketplace and local trading platform between the predominantly commercial premises in London South Bank and Waterloo, using IoT sensors, predictive algorithms and storage systems
  • maximising existing and planned renewable generation assets in Bridgend, including solar farms and a nearby energy park, to develop a local electricity flexibility market, an electric vehicle charging network and improved service offerings for transport and heat
  • making use of an established energy innovation district group and new digital technologies, such as sensing and control devices, data analytics and artificial intelligence, the Cheshire Energy Hub will better manage energy use by industrial users, decarbonise and lower costs

Developing novel research concepts

To bring forward novel research in local energy systems and accelerate uptake, value and impact, £8 million will go to setting up EnergyREV, an energy revolution research consortium.

The consortium will be led by the University of Strathclyde and include 29 investigators across 22 universities, working to ensure that UK academic expertise delivers impact and a competitive advantage.

It will work closely with the Energy Systems Catapult to provide analysis, evaluation and assessment of the projects funded under the prospering from the energy revolution challenge.

Additionally, EnergyREV will deliver its own strategic research projects that address some of the industrial challenges in developing local, investable, consumer-centred energy approaches.

Improving uptake, value and impact

Professor Stephen McArthur, Deputy Associate Principal for Research, Knowledge Exchange and Innovation, at the University of Strathclyde said:

EnergyREV is excited about its role in supporting innovation in the prospering from the energy revolution programme.

The world-class knowledge, research teams and interdisciplinary expertise available through our university partnership will improve the uptake, value and impact of smart local energy systems.

We are focused on using our novel research to accelerate and help deliver the Industrial Strategy goals and enhance UK competitiveness.

Rob Saunders, Deputy Challenge Director, Prospering from the Energy Revolution, UK Research and Innovation said:

This is an exciting time for energy innovations.

We all rely on energy and we all need it to be cleaner and more cheaper, both as consumers and as a nation. New technologies point towards a new energy future, one of lower carbon and more efficient energy supply, distribution and storage, giving consumers more control.

This energy revolution – a crucial part of the Industrial Strategy – has the potential to unlock investment and create high-quality jobs and grow companies capable of exporting.

 

New Energy Reforms Come Into Force

Homes across Great Britain will get extra support to make their homes cheaper and easier to keep warm thanks to new government reforms.

  • energy suppliers to focus help on vulnerable households
  • part of plan to improve energy efficiency of 1 million homes by 2020

Homes across Great Britain will get extra support to make their homes cheaper and easier to keep warm thanks to government reforms that have come into forcce on 1 April 2017.

Changes to the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) will make sure energy companies give support to people struggling to meet their heating bills, with plans to extend the scheme from April 2017 to September 2018 also confirmed.

Consumer Minister, Margot James said:

The big energy firms already have to help households save gas and electricity bills, by improving homes so they are easier and cheaper to keep warm.

We’re strengthening this obligation today and making sure they prioritise low income households as part of our plan to insulate 1 million homes by 2020.

The reforms, which were consulted on last year, will simplify the scheme, with energy companies required to provide struggling households with energy efficiency measures to make their homes warmer and bring their bills down.

As well as an increased focus on low income and vulnerable homes, eligibility will be extended to social housing tenants in Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) bands E, F and G, and local authorities will also be able to help match people with energy suppliers.

Suppliers will also be required to install a minimum 21,000 solid wall insulations per year, up from the earlier proposal of 17,000.

There will be continuing protection for the delivery of energy efficiency measures in rural areas, with a requirement that 15% of suppliers’ Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation be delivered in these areas.

ECO has proved a very effective delivery mechanism with around 2.2 million measures installed in around 1.7 million properties between 2013 and the end of January 2017.

The energy companies obligated are:

  • British Gas
  • The Co-operative
  • EDF Energy
  • EON Energy
  • First Utility
  • npower
  • OVO Energy
  • Scottish power
  • SSE
  • Utilita
  • Utility Warehouse
  • Extra Energy
  • Spark Energy
  • Flow Energy
  • Economy Energy

Where Does The UK Get Its Energy From ?

The UK is consuming less energy than it did in 1998 and more of the energy we are consuming is coming from renewable sources.

However, at the same time, the decline in North Sea oil and gas production has meant the UK has become increasingly dependent on imports of energy.

But just how dependent are we? How do we compare to our European neighbours? And what are we importing and where is it coming from?

UK energy: consumption down and renewable energy up

There was a 17% fall in the amount of energy used by the UK between 1998 and 2015.

This may be explained by:

  • the increased use of energy-efficient technologies by households and firms
  • government policies designed to reduce energy consumption
  • a decline of UK manufacturing, especially in energy-intensive industries

Reliance on imported energy rises back up to 1970 levels

Despite the overall fall in UK energy consumption and the increasing use of renewable and waste sources, the UK’s reliance on imported energy has returned to the levels last seen around the mid-to late-1970s.

In recent years our reliance on imported energy has been on an upward trend but it has now fallen from its recent peak in 2013.

All EU countries now import more energy than they export

All EU countries imported more energy than they exported in 2014. In terms of rankings, of the 28 EU countries the UK was the 12th most dependent on foreign sources of energy; less reliant than Germany and Italy but more reliant than Sweden and the Netherlands.

Furthermore, in 2014 the UK’s import dependency was below the EU average and the UK was the least dependent on foreign sources of energy out of the five EU countries who consumed the largest amounts of energy overall (namely Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK).

However, even though the UK’s reliance on imported energy is still below its EU neighbours, the UK is now more in line with them than it has been in recent history.

Since 1998 the UK has gone from being a net exporter to a net importer of energy while Germany, Spain, France and Italy have all consistently imported more energy than they exported.

From oil and natural gas from Norway to coal and diesel from Russia – just where do our energy imports come from?

In 2015 the UK’s main types of imported fuel were crude oil, natural gas and petroleum products (for example, petrol and diesel). We also imported electricity and coal and other types of solid fuel (like wood) in smaller amounts.

Electricity imports

It might seem strange but the UK does actually import electricity that is created elsewhere. Imports of electricity made up 1% of our fuel imports in 2015.

This electricity is imported via interconnectors and it comes mainly from France and the Netherlands.

Information via gov.uk

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