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UK government pumps £350 million into ‘green recovery’

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

UK industry will receive around £350 million to cut down carbon emissions under new plans to step up efforts to tackle climate change.

The multimillion pound investment package will build on progress towards the UK’s target to reach net zero by 2050, by helping businesses to decarbonise across the heavy industry, construction, space and transport sectors and to secure the UK’s place at the forefront of green innovation.

The investment came ahead of the PM launching the first meeting of the Jet Zero Council, which will bring together government, representatives from the environmental sector and the aviation and aerospace industry to tackle aviation emissions in line with the government’s ambition to achieve the first ever zero emission long haul passenger plane.

The projects set to receive funding will work on developing new technologies that could help companies switch to more energy-efficient means of production, use data more effectively to tackle the impacts of climate change, and help support the creation of new green jobs by driving innovation and growth in UK industries.

The package includes:

  • £139 million to cut emissions in heavy industry by supporting the transition from natural gas to clean hydrogen power, and scaling up carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology which can stop over 90% of emissions being released from industrial plants into the air by storing carbon permanently underground
  • £149 million to drive the use of innovative materials in heavy industry; the 13 initial projects will include proposals to reuse waste ash in the glass and ceramics industry, and the development of recyclable steel
  • £26 million to support advanced new building techniques in order to reduce build costs and carbon emissions in the construction industry
  • A £10 million boost for state of the art construction tech which will go towards 19 projects focused on improving productivity and building quality, for example, re-usable roofs and walls and “digital clones” of buildings that analyse data in real time
  • Launching a New National Space Innovation Programme backed by £15 million initial funding from the UK Space Agency, which will see the first £10million go towards projects that will monitor climate change across the globe, which could protect local areas from the impacts of extreme weather by identifying changes in the environment
  • Opening up bids for a further £10million for R&D in the automotive sector, to help companies take cutting edge ideas from prototype to market, including more efficient electric motors or more powerful batteries

Chaired by the Transport and Business Secretaries, the first Jet Zero council meeting discussed how to decarbonise the aviation sector while supporting its growth and strengthening the UK’s position as a world leader in the sector.

The members will look at how to work across their sectors to achieve these goals, including through brand new aircraft and engine technologies. These could include using new synthetic and sustainable aviation fuels as a clean substitute for fossil jet fuel, and eventually the development of electric planes.

The government says that over the past decade, the UK has cut carbon emissions by more than any similar developed country. In 2019, UK emissions were 42% lower than in 1990.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We’ve made great strides towards our net zero target over the last year, but it’s more important than ever that we keep up the pace of change to fuel a green, sustainable recovery as we rebuild from the pandemic.

“The UK now has a huge opportunity to cement its place at the vanguard of green innovation, setting an example worldwide while growing the economy and creating new jobs.

“That’s why we’re backing cutting edge research to cut costs and carbon across our great British industries, and even paving the way for the first ever zero emission long haul passenger flight – so that our green ambitions remain sky high as we build back better for both our people and our planet.”

Business and Energy Secretary, Alok Sharma, said: “Climate change is among the greatest challenges of our age. To tackle it we need to unleash innovation in businesses across the country.

“This funding will reduce emissions, create green collar jobs and fuel a strong, clean economic recovery – all essential to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.”

Image by Steppinstars from Pixabay 

The danger of green energy tariffs

960 640 Guest Post

Entry into renewable energy PPAs soared in 2019, with European corporates signing up for 8GW of power supply arrangements.  Groups of major corporates such as RE100 (http://there100.org/) advocate for a collaborative, global initiative of influential businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity, to work to increase demand for – and delivery of – renewable energy.  Additionally, most energy suppliers now offer green energy tariffs.

As a result more and more businesses are claiming they use 100% green energy, and claim green credentials as a result.  There is a clear view that as a result of entering into these arrangements they feel their job is done.   But have they achieved net zero ?   The answer is NO and they are missing the benefits of genuinely engaging in energy efficiency and sustainability.

The correct order to delivering sustainable energy benefits is:

1st  –  Minimise energy demand in operations through efficiency measures

2nd –  Solve for that reduced demand as much as possible with efficient on-site generation

3rd –   Solve for the residual grid demand with green energy

The impact of adopting PPAs can be the reverse, as the organisation commits to buying their full current demand, which means they are effectively blocked from considering operational changes that reduce their energy demand.  Reducing consumption is key to reduce emissions and gain business advantage.

Don’t get me wrong, I am an advocate of renewable energy but organisations need to be mindful of whether they are (a) committing too much or too early and (b) whether they have addressed all their efficiency opportunities.

Businesses who are genuinely sustainable should take a close look at their own operations for ways to both reduce consumption AND generate their own low carbon power locally.   These measures can take time to deliver, so perhaps the correct approach is to allow room for these savings to work in alongside PPA commitments ?  The long term business benefits of embracing this genuinely can become a source of sustainable competitive advantage.

This is the reason Onsite Energy Projects exists – we help businesses implement the full potential of both energy efficiency and on-site generation measures.  We recognised the challenge of capex availability and can provide a no-capex, off-balance sheet solution.

If you would like to know more email us at info@on-site.energy or call on 0161 444 9989.

Onsite Energy Projects provides energy savings and energy generation solutions to energy intensive businesses, without capex if required.

Ledger Origin to certify green energy on the blockchain

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

French blockchain security specialist Ledger has signed a partnership with Transatel to certify the authenticity and the origin of green energy.

Energy plants (solar plants, wind farms, etc.) need to measure the amount of electricity created through smart meters. Ledger Origin connects its own attesting device to smart meters to certify the genuineness of the green energy origin.

This amount is then transformed into tokens which are securely collected via Transatel’s IoT Connect solution and registered into an energy blockchain. The partners say research and development was a large part of the project, enabling verifiable traceability of green energy worldwide, through green certificates issuance for national registries and energy exchanges.

Pascal Gauthier, CEO of Ledger, said: “We deeply believe there is a strong demand for the digitalization and tokenization of physical critical assets. This is why we decided to create Ledger Origin, our new business unit dedicated to industrial players such as utility companies. Our blockchain and security expertise is a way to solve one of the most important challenges of the future for      industries: certifying the origin of digitized physical critical assets.”

Jacques Bonifay, Transatel CEO, added: “Transatel is honoured to be signing an agreement with a leader in blockchain, because blockchain will be one of the key technologies to secure IoT transactions.”