Renewable Energy to Play a Huge Role in China’s Energy Reform

August 30th, 2013

CoalChina has announced a huge energy reform. This reform is going to take place from now until 2030. During this time, China is looking to add more than 1,500 GW of energy capacity to its country. Not only that, but the country has said that a huge amount of this energy is going to come from renewable sources.

According to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, China will be nearly doubling its current energy capacity by the year 2030. They will do this by investing more than $3.9 trillion a year. This breaks down to generating 88 GW of new capacity every single year. To put that into prescriptive, 88 GW is the equivalent to the total energy capacity of the UK as a whole. Thus, this is a massive undertaking by the Chinese government.

Renewable energy is going to be the area that China focuses on the most. However, they will also have an increased reliance on natural gas as they try to break away from dirty energy like coal. In fact, coal’s share of the energy market is expected to fall from 67 percent in 2012 to just 44 percent in 2030.

However, it is not all good news for the environment. China’s energy reform will still see the country investing in new coal-fired power plants until 2022. These plants will help the country produce up to 38 GW of power. This is an area of major concern for many environmentalists, who would like to see the country stop relying on coal.

China’s dependence on coal is going to start to fall starting 2020. However, lowering greenhouse gases in the country will likely take 15 years or more because of how many new coal plants the country is planning to open. Environmentalists feel that this is too long to wait and that the damage could already be done.

Jun Ying, who is the head of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said that China has already started to change course toward a clearer future. This is the good news. However, despite these significant improvements, coal is going to continue to remain a huge force in China until 2030. That is a long way off, and a lot can happen between now and then.

This report goes on to show that there are a number of different ways that this can all play out. For example, the path to cleaning up the air could take a lot longer than 15 years. This is even worse news for China despite all of the money it is investing in its energy network. Either way, it will have tons of energy available for its people.

Ofgem Says New Energy Regulations Start This Week

August 29th, 2013

Ofgem LogoThe reform to the energy sector has now started. Ofgem, who is the energy industry regulator, said that the first steps to creating a fairer and simpler market are now in place. Starting this week, new rules are hitting the market. Ofgem says that these rules will be enforced. The whole goal of these new rules is to create a fair market for consumers.

Although the biggest change to this reform is how energy bills are handled, the new regulations cover all forms of communication between the consumer and the supplier. This means that the energy industry is going to have to change how they deal with complaints, tariffs and energy bills. All of these forms of communication now have new rules.

According to Ofgem, the regulations cover three major areas. These three areas are process, information and behavior. These new rules will not only apply to energy suppliers but also to all of the organizations that represent these suppliers. This includes energy suppliers’ third-party intermediaries and brokers.

Ofgem said that suppliers are now required to carry out their business in a fair and honest manor at all times. This is something that energy suppliers have not done in the past. For example, when they get a complaint from a consumer, it needs to be handled in a professional and timely fashion.

Energy suppliers will also now be required to provide consumers with oral or written information. This information must not be misleading. It also has to be accurate and complete. In short, the information needs to be easy to understand and provide consumers with useful information.

Andrew Wright, the chief executive of Ofgem, said that the standards of conduct for the energy industry are changing. Suppliers are no longer allowed to treat their consumers like dirt and get away with it. They have to make attempts to provide their consumers with up-to-date information and provide this information in a clear voice. These standards of conduct have been changed as a way to protect consumers.

Industry experts say that this new shakeup is actually one of the biggest the energy market has ever seen. By the end of the current year, energy suppliers are going to be restricted to offering just four tariffs for fuel. This is going to change the way that most of these suppliers do business. These tariffs also have to be offered in an easy-to-understand format.

Wind Energy to Increase in Popularity Due to Growing Demand in Asia

August 28th, 2013

Wind FarmIn places like the United States and the UK, wind energy is already in pretty high demand. In fact, it is the most popular form of renewable energy on the market right now. However, this does not mean that wind energy has peaked. In fact, experts in the energy industry say that wind energy is going to quadruple in popularity by the year 2030. This prediction was made by Siemens, which is a wind turbine maker.

The chief executive of Siemens, Markus Tacke, said that wind capacity around the world is going to grow. His company believes that it is going to grow to 1,107 gigawatts by the year 2030. That is a huge jump considering the world only produced 273 gigawatts of power last year.

This news came just after Norway said that it is going to build eight onshore wind farms. The combined capacity of these wind farms alone will be 1.3 gigawatts. Norway said that it is looking to generate close to 67.5 percent of its entire energy need from renewable sources. It wants to reach this goal by the year 2020.

That being said, it does not look like this huge increase is going to come just from Europe and North America. In fact, Siemens believes that wind energy is going to start making a shift towards Asia. By the time 2030 comes around, Asia may be getting nearly 50 percent of its energy from wind. This would be a big increase from the 34 percent it currently gets.

A lot of this has to do with the fact that China doubled its wind capacity every year between 2006 and 2011. This growth rate is expected to slow due to a poor infrastructure, but it will continue to grow nevertheless. Other places in Asia are also starting to jump on board the idea of wind energy.

Japan, for example, is in a great spot to build offshore wind farms. The whole country is completely surrounded by water. By building offshore wind farms, the government does not have to worry about taking up any space on land, but the country will still be able to generate a lot of extra energy.

For the time being, Norway gets most of its power from hydro energy. That being said, it does look like the country is looking to generate more energy from wind sources. Experts believe that wind energy will remain on top as the most popular form of renewable energy for a long time to come.

Sungevity Says the UK Is at Risk of Missing Out on the Solar Energy Market

August 27th, 2013

Solar panelsOne of the fastest-growing solar energy providers in the United States, Sungevity, says that the UK is putting itself in a dangerous spot. The company said that the UK might soon find itself unable to capitalize on the growing solar industry because it is too caught up on nuclear energy.

So what brought on this outburst from Sungevity? This warning came after two things happened. First, Lord Marland, the UK energy minister, said that the solar panel subsidies scheme was one of the most ridiculous schemes that he has ever heard of in his life. He strongly believes that no country should waste its time on investing in such a market. The second thing was the fact that the UK government is considering giving the go ahead to build a new nuclear power plant. This is a plant that will not even be ready to produce energy until 2023. By this time, Sungevity believes that much of the world’s power will already be getting energy from solar power.

In the United States, Sungevity has really started to find its place in the energy mix. The company was able to sell around 500 solar panels in America just last month. These panels were worth around $10 million. On top of this, the company was able to sell 300 more units between its Dutch and Australian ventures.

Andrew Birch, the chief executive of Sungevity, says that it is absolutely alarming that the UK is even considering offering support for a new nuclear plant that will not even be able to produce electricity until sometime in 2023. Given the increase that solar energy has seen over the years, by the time 2023 comes around, nuclear power will be obsolete. Thus, this plant will become worthless before it ever gets the chance to turn on. All this new scheme offers is a chance to lock Brits into the 20th century energy prices, the same energy prices that are pricing people out of their homes.

Solar energy has recently been increasing in popularity. A lot of this is due to the fact that solar panels are cheaper to produce. This has lowered how much it costs to produce solar energy and made it a more participial option for companies. Even the White House recently started the installation of solar energy.

Xcite Energy Turns a Huge Profit During First Six Months of 2013

August 26th, 2013

Oil RigMany energy companies in Europe right now would have consumers believe that times are tough. This is their main reason for increasing energy bills. The suppliers blame it on the rising price of wholesale energy. So maybe people should take a look at the source to see just how bad the energy is struggling. Well, according to oil driller Xcite Energy, business has never been better.

Just last year, Xcite Energy reported a loss of profit in the first half of 2012. The company reported that it lost £300,000. During the first half of 2013, however, the company did much better. In fact, the company recently made it known that it turned a huge £8.3 million profit in the six months to June 30.

So apparently oil is not that hard to find, and energy and fuel prices should be lower, right? After all, prices at the pumps are draining consumers’ money also. Well, no so fast. Apparently Xcite Energy was able to turn this profit by selling off some of the technical data on its Bentley oil field located in the North Sea. Thus, this site has the potential to deliver a lot of oil, but right now it is just sitting there.

Either way, this was a huge break for Xcite Energy as a whole. This company was launched back in 2002 to develop the Bentley oil field. This was an oil field that was first discovered way back in 1977. Now the data that Xcite Energy has found is proving to be worth something.

Xcite Energy released a statement yesterday saying that the first part of the project is done. Now, it is holding discussions with different partners and banks. More information will be released at a later date. Either way, this news has really helped developed Xcite Energy’s name. After announcing this big sale, the company saw its stock shoot up. The company believes that its stock will continue to rise in the coming months.

So what does this means for energy consumers in the UK? Well, it might not mean anything right away. Xcite Energy does, however, have a deal that has already been put in place by BP. In fact, BP was one of the companies that backed the Bentley filed to start with. Thus, it stands to reason that BP will be one of the companies to benefit from this field, which might help to lower petrol prices. However, even if it does, this reduction in price will be a long ways off.

Glacier Energy Makes Deal to Acquire Ross Offshore

August 23rd, 2013

Glacier Energy logoThe energy market has an ever-changing landscape. A company that is independent yesterday could be purchased by some big energy company the next. In an effort to stay with this model, which has been working so well for the industry, Glacier Energy has announced that it will be making yet another acquisition. This will make the company’s fourth buyout in the past two years. If everything goes according to plan, the company will see its turnover boosted by £15 million.

Glacier Energy, which was just formed back in 2011, said that it is in the middle of selling a multimillion pound deal to buy Ross Offshore. The idea behind this acquisition is for Glacier Energy to establish itself in the offshore energy market. Glacier Energy proved its intentions of jumping into the offshore energy market when it set up a new offshore divisional headquarters. This new headquarters is located in Aberdeen. Right now, it houses 110 staff, but this number is set to grow.

Although this is a big deal, Ross Offshore will still operate normally but from under the umbrella of Glacier Energy. In fact, Toby Ross, the founder and current managing director at Ross Offshore, will continue to lead his business. Although this situation could change at any time, it appears as if his job is safe for now.

When speaking about this new acquisition, Ross said that this new buyout allows Ross Offshore to be part of Glacier Energy. This helps to fuel growth in Ross Offshore and allows the company to focus completely on broadening its own services. Ross Offshore plans to work very closely with Glacier Energy and its fellow companies. The goal is to help increase this group’s already large client base. This will be done by Ross Offshore continuing to offer the best in offshore services.

The director of Glacier’s offshore division, Mark Derry, said that the acquisition of Ross Offshore is just a natural fit for the company. He said that Ross Offshore already has the technology and equipment to help Glacier jumpstart its offshore plans.

All this said, Glacier Energy is not done changing the face of the energy industry. The company said that it still has more deals that will be coming to light in the coming months. Glacier Energy is looking to keep expanding so it can ramp up its skills in a number of different areas in the energy industry.

British Gas Will Do More to Get People to Join the Green Deal

August 22nd, 2013

British Gas logoThe Green Deal scheme has been very controversial ever since it was first announced. However, the government has no plans to cut this scheme. Not only that, the government continues to expect energy companies to push this scheme. In order to comply with government regulations, British Gas said that it is going to step up its efforts to get people to sign up for the Green Deal.

The Green Deal scheme is a program that allows homeowners to borrow money from the government to make their homes more energy efficient. The long-term loan arrangements are handled by the company that provides energy to those homes. As it turns out, however, people do not want to borrow money right now to fix up their houses. Thus, this scheme is not really being used by many people.

British Gas, on its website, is now telling consumers just how painless it is to participate in the Green Deal. They can go online and see if they are eligible for it in just a few minutes. British Gas is also very quick to discredit the claim that people will not notice any savings. One reason why people do not like the Green Deal is because all the money they are saving on energy would go to paying off the loan. However, British Gas says that they are checking to make sure that the cost of borrowing money would not outweigh the savings that people make by reducing their energy consumption.

As of right now, the Department for Energy and Climate Change said that there are not enough people signing up for the Green Deal. As of July, only 419 homes had signed up for the scheme. To make matters worse, only 132 homes had actually fully closed the deal for work to begin. The government is blaming criticism for the low pick-up rate of the plan.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change did say that a number of homes are undergoing assessments to participate in the plan. They expect a number of these homeowners to actually sign up for the deal.  So far, there are some 58,000 homes that are in the assessment stage of the Green Deal. It is currently not know just how many of these houses will move on to the later stages.

A spokesperson for British Gas said that this scheme is new, and these kinds of things take time to catch on. British Gas is contacting people to let them know about the deal again. The company wants to make sure that everyone is aware of the Green Deal and how it can help them.

New Ofgem Regulation Results in Consumers Losing Cheaper Tariffs

August 21st, 2013

Ofgem LogoWhen Ofgem, the UK energy regulator, announced that it was forcing energy companies to make bills easier to understand, people were happy. After all, due to the number of tariffs available, it can be challenging to find the lowest deal. That being said, many people had grown accustom to it and were able to find cheap deals. Now, however, a number of these cheap deals are being to be axed by power companies as a way to follow a new regulation put in place by Ofgem.

Despite the good intentions of Ofgem, energy experts are warning that the new regulation is going to cause energy bills to soar even higher in homes across the UK. This is because most energy companies are choosing to cut their lower-priced tariffs and replace them with standard charges.

This new regulation from Ofgem is requiring all energy companies to offer no more than four different tariffs. They are also being forced to bring an end to complex deals. The whole point of this new regulation is to make bills easier to understand. However, in order to get down to just four tariffs, these energy companies had to cut a number of tariffs. Instead of cutting the higher tariffs, they cut the lower ones.

Energy companies all over the UK, such as SSE and British Gas, have been writing to their customers to inform them that the deals they are on are no longer being offered. These customers are being switched over to different tariffs, but most of these tariffs cost around £100 more.

The energy companies could have very easily cut their higher priced tariffs, but they did not. It is likely that they did this in order to prove a point to Ofgem or to make the regulator look bad. If that was their intention, they passed with flying colors.

Caroline Flint, who is the shadow energy secretary, said that this is just further proof that the energy reform that has been put in place by David Cameron is not working. The fight is not with the energy tariffs, and this reform has backfired and is causing more problems. The promise to force these energy companies into putting everyone into cheaper tariffs is not going to work. That is because these companies simply cut their lowest tariffs, and now the more expensive tariffs are their cheapest ones. Now Brits across the country will be paying even more for their energy this year.

Police Come to the Aid of Cuadrilla by Breaking Up Protesters

August 20th, 2013

British policePolice in Britain have come to the aid of energy firm Cuadrilla to break up demonstrators. According to reports, the police had to disperse hundreds of protesters who were demonstrating against fracking. They were blocking the B2036 that runs between Balcombe and Cuckfield.

The police served the demonstrators with a Public Order Act notice. The police went on to say that the crowd of people had to be broken up because they might have caused some serious damage to property, and they cannot allow that. The police also said that the protesters could have disrupted the community in that area.

Cuadrilla said that it was happy that the police were able to break up the protest. The energy company went on to say that it is against any kind of illegal action that goes against its operations. This protest was in clear violation of British laws.

Of course, these protests have been getting out of hand recently. In fact, before this most recent demonstration, the campaigners took it upon themselves to force their way into Cuadrilla’s headquarters located in Lichfield, Staffordshire. Not only that, six other activists glued themselves to the company’s PR headquarters.

Reclaim the Power, which is an activist group, has set up a six-day camp near Cuadrilla’s operations in Balcombe. Caroline Lucas, who is a Green Party MP, has joined this group. She told the media that she is prepared to be arrested if that is what it comes down to.

Reclaim the Power went on to tell media sources that four of its protestors glued and locked themselves to another activist’s wheelchair and parked it right outside the main gate of Balcombe. During this time, other activists are blocking the road.

The activists have gone on to say how brutal the police have been. They said that the police came in and started shoving them out of the way, which included the children that were in this protest group. It did not matter if the protesters were in wheelchairs or not. They are simply being outrageously aggressive to all of the campaigners.

On top of this, there were also nearly 20 activists that started protesting outside the office of Horsham’s Conservative MP Francis Maude. One of the activists said that they have targeted this office because Francis Maude refuses to listen to the concerns of the people. He will not stand up for what is right. He would rather sit by and watch his own country be destroyed by fracking.

Digital Power Group Says iPhones Use More Power Than Refrigerators

August 19th, 2013

iPhoneJust because something is bigger does not always mean it uses more power. In fact, according to the Digital Power Group, smartphones might be costing people more in energy than what it takes to run a refrigerator. This is shocking considering how big refrigerators are and how much they have to run in order to keep food cold.

Mark Mills, who is the CEO at Digital Power Group, has released a new report that he is calling The Cloud Beings With Coal. In this report, he shows that the average power consumption that an iPhone uses on a yearly basis is around 361 kilowatt-hours. This number was figured up by factoring in the energy usage that comes from battery charging, wireless connections and data usage. The shocking find was the fact that a refrigerator only uses about 322 kilowatt-hours a year. This puts the power consumption of the iPhone a lot higher than what it takes to cool people’s food for a full year.

Digital Power Group says that this report is a real eye opener for most people. A lot of people out there do not think that their little gadgets use up a lot of energy, but they do. People have a number of things plugged in and running all the time in their homes. These gadgets continue to suck energy even when they are not in use. In short, this leaves people with higher energy bills than what they want and increases their carbon footprint.

The truth is that technology is the real reason why the carbon footprint of the world continues to rise. There servers and computers are on and running 24 hours a day. On top of this, cooling systems have to run all the time to keep these servers cool. When people sit back and think about it, the amount of energy it takes to run the technology that everyone is so dependent on is massive.

According to this report, the Information-Communications-Technologies Ecosystem uses close to 1,550 terawatt-hours of power every single day. This is enough energy to power all of Japan and Germany for a full year. Back in 1985, this was enough power to light up the whole world. Overall, this ecosystem eats up at least 10 percent of the total energy output of the world. To make matters worse, it does not seem to be slowing down but actually growing in the amount of energy it consumes.

Scottish Power Among Energy Providers Who Are Increasing Rates

August 16th, 2013

Scottish PowerIt now appears that thousands of homes across the UK are about to see their energy rates go up next month. This is due to the fact that a number of very popular tariffs are coming to an end. Apparently this is true for four out of the six big energy suppliers in the UK. Suppliers who will be increasing their rates include EDF Energy, Scottish Power, E.ON and nPower.

People who were on these fixed tariffs are now going to be switched over to standard tariffs. Typically, these kinds of standard tariffs are more expensive than the fixed ones. This will result in higher energy bills right before the winter months hit.

MoneySupermarket.com, which is a well-known price comparison website in the UK, said that most energy bills are going to increase by an average of £280 a year. That is a lot of money that people will no longer have in their budgets every year.

The head of MoneySupermarket.com, Lucy Darch, said that there are a number of fixed rate energy deals going on right now. By the end of the month, these fixed deals are going to come to an end. This is going to switch people over to standard tariffs, which are significantly higher in price. The first bill of next month is going to give people a rude awakening.

So what does Lucy Darch suggest that people do about this? She thinks that people should take five minutes out of their day and use MoneySuperMarket.com to help locate a better energy deal. There is a good chance that people will be able to find another deal with another supplier that will save them money. People do not have to sit around and just watch their prices go up; they can do something about it.

According to regulations, energy suppliers are required to inform all of their consumers about fixed deals 30 days before that tariffs are about to end. Although that is nice, reports suggest that it takes consumers nearly six weeks to switch to a different energy supplier. Thus, for consumers who are not paying attention, they could get caught off guard and end up getting switched to the higher tariff before they get a chance to switch.

Darch wants to remind all consumers that, as soon as they receive a notice from their energy supplier that their fixed tariff is about to end, they need to contact that supplier right away to find out the exact date that their deal expires. People can do this at any time, and it helps them not get locked into higher tariffs later on.