Round 2 of £1000 Bursary Programme for Business Start-ups
Start Up Business Bursary provided by Thurrock Council
Start Up Business Bursary provided by Thurrock Council
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Local restaurant receives grant for lighting
Following the success of the Bursary Programme which saw 9 Business Start ups receive much needed cash injection of up to a £1000 to enable them to purchase vital equipment and services, Thurrock Council in conjunction with the ERDF Low Carbon Business Programme is launching round 2 of the Bursary Programme.
The programme will be launched on the 14th January 2013. This round will see 13 start up businesses being awarded with bursaries of up to £1000. Businesses will need to submit an application form along with a strong business case which will then be evaluated by the Bursary Panel.
In order to be considered for a bursary, applicants must:
• Be operating or starting a business with its main business address in Thurrock
• Be a new business, started after January 2010
• Be registered for VAT OR National Insurance Type 2 Contributions OR registered with Companies House
• Have a viable business plan (as decided by the bursary panel)
• Have a business plan that accounts for and takes action to minimise carbon footprint
The closing date for applications is 1st of March 2013 so don’t delay your business success – contact us today!
T: 01375 652271
W. R Meats Ltd is a new company which took over an established but run-down butchery shop located in Corringham, Essex. Due to the poor state of repair of the shop they contacted Thurrock Council to apply for a bursary of a £1000.
After a successful application, the Bursary Programme enabled them to install a new awning to their shop front. Since the shop front had direct sunlight during the day it placed extra load on their air conditioning unit to keep the meat cold which meant they ended up using more electricity. By installing a new awning it enables them to keep the direct sunlight away at the same time adding to the visual appearance. It has also led them to reduce their energy bills.
William Reed, the Director of W. R Meats said that he was extremely thankful and happy that the bursary helped them purchase the awning. He also said that he could now use the savings from the energy bills towards other improvements.
There is a business adage that says if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it and E.ON has very kindly offered to supply any business that draws more than 10,000 kWh per annum in electricity (amount of gas use is not relevant in the case of dual fuel contracts) with a state of the art energy monitor that allows you to do just that. Click the video below to see just how easy it is to get started!
They will also be happy to do a bill analysis, check if you are in contract (or are about to be rolled over to a contract that might not be on the best terms for your business)... and more.
Although E.ON would, of course, very much like you to be their customer, you DO NOT have to be an existing E.ON customer to qualify for this support. Since this offer is being made as part of the Low Carbon Business Programme, you WILL NOT be sold to.
You can register your interest by contacting:
Either way, ACT TODAY! ... and once you’ve got some real usage data, we’ll be on hand to help you reduce your usage and lower your business costs.Back
The Shell Springboard Awards launched in 2005 and have since attracted over 1,000 applications from small business owners with ideas to combat climate change, allocating more £2.25 million to 62 businesses.
The programme provides a financial boost to innovative, low carbon business initiatives from across the UK. The objective is to encourage businesses to see climate change responsibilities as more than compliance and cost. Shell believes there is a marked business opportunity if society is to move from a carbon-constrained world.
Nine awards of up to £40,000 are available through the programme with the best two regional entries being forwarded for the overall UK award.
Applications are accepted from sole traders, partnerships, limited companies or community interest companies (including government or university spin-outs) that operate in the UK. Businesses must have been established for a minimum of three months and have less than 250 employees.
All applications must be made via a form on the Shell Springboard website, which can be found http://www.shellspringboard.org/
The deadline for receipt of applications is 18 January 2013.Back
The price of fuel and utilities remain among the most-cited cost drivers for small businesses but concerns are not as severe as they were a year ago according to the latest data from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
While fuel costs are still a worry for just over half of small firms, that’s a substantial step down from the nearly 70% who were concerned during Q4 2011. It’s similar for utilities with just under 45% of small businesses now seeing them as a major cost pressure compared with almost 60%, just three months ago.
FSB’s commentary, contained in their ‘Voice of Small Business’ report for Q3 2012, is that price inflation for energy, utilities and other production inputs are starting to fall for many firms, a move they say is ‘providing some breathing space for margins in what are expected to be challenging months ahead’.
They do add, however, that highly energy-intensive transport firms and car-related businesses remain among the least optimistic parts of the economy.
“Oil prices seem to defy the gravitational pull of falling global trade growth,” it says, acknowledging that worries about military conflict between Iran and Israel are “pushing up the cost of this crucial energy source, resulting in high pump and gas prices for consumers”.
One FSB explanation for energy and utility costs starting to take more of a back seat in small business thinking, is that anxieties are currently focused on the poor state of the domestic economy and the difficulty of securing credit. It also says that, with fuel and utility costs having been high for some time, fewer firms are tending to identify them as large current cost drivers.
The ‘Voice of Small Business’ report is based on 2,584 responses, equivalent to 40% of FSB’s membership.
Smaller businesses are failing to capitalise on ‘quick win’ energy savings because workers are “passing the buck” when it comes to energy efficiency, according to new research by E.ON.
In a study on workplace habits, the energy giant found that just one in 10 employees at small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) acknowledged workplace energy efficiency as their role. The results show that most workers believe it is someone else role, with many junior executives “passing the buck” to the office manager and many office managers believing it is the job of the owner or more senior managers.
And the research found that just 22 per cent of owners or chief executives accepted it was their role to ensure the office was energy efficient, with 24 per cent admitting they rarely think about the issue.
The study also found that company chief executives were the least active in communication, with half of the bosses questioned (51 per cent) saying they never spoke to staff about energy saving.
This could explain why nearly two thirds (57 per cent) of employees say they have been given no clear company guidelines about energy efficiency.
Commenting on the findings, Iain Walker, head of Business Sales at E.ON, said: “I was quite surprised that the overall number of people taking personal responsibility for saving energy, and for passing on help to colleagues, is still relatively low.
“I think responsibility for reducing waste should start at the top, with bosses and senior managers passing the message to all employees.”
Today’s study by E.ON, which draws on a survey in July of 2,000 professionals at UK SMEs, follows earlier research by the energy company suggesting energy inefficiency is costing UK’s SMEs a whopping £7.7 billion a year. And businesses are being warned to expect double digit price rises in energy bills over the next three years, by energy adviser the Carbon Trust. Just a few days ago by SSE said it was raising energy prices by nine per cent. Other energy companies are expected to follow suit.
Companies must consider the risks and opportunities provided by more ‘freak’ weather patterns, according to business leaders.
The UK has been subjected to droughts and floods already this year, but while the economic impact is not yet known a new report suggests ill-prepared businesses will struggle to survive.
According to the Adaptation Sub-Committee (ASC) of the Committee on Climate Change, four times as many businesses and households could be at risk of flooding in the next 20 years.
The risks have been exacerbated through an increase in development in the flood plain and a reduction in private and public spending on flood defences.
Lord John Krebs, ASC chair, said adaptation to climate change, including floods and droughts, needed to be taken more seriously.
He encouraged more investment in flood defences, faster roll-out of water meters and urged “serious consideration to where and how we build our housing and infrastructure”, adding: “Without action by households and businesses to prepare for these inevitable weather extremes the country faces rising costs, unnecessary damage and future disruption.”
The Environment Agency estimates that funding on adaptation needs to increase by £20 million on top of inflation to keep pace with climate change. Responding to the ASC report, the Agency’s chair Lord Smith said the weather extremes this year have brought the importance of resilience into sharp focus.
The food industry is particularly susceptible to changing weather patterns, but the British Retail Consortium said its members had “very resilient” supply chains in place, come rain, sun or snow.
A spokesman said: “Retailers are very much engaged in looking to the future and judging where future supplies are going to come from. They have also been at the forefront of [mitigating] climate change through reductions in their environmental impact.”
The CBI, which has recommended that climate exposure be included in corporate reports, said there were opportunities for businesses to consider, as well as risks, regarding adaptation to climate change.
“Many UK firms are leading the way on adapting to climate change, and finding that with challenges come opportunities,” said head of energy and climate change, Dr Matthew Brown.
“For instance, British expertise in water efficiency and insurance can boost bottom lines and create export markets - that’s just one example of green business driving UK growth.”
Since the start of May more than 3,000 properties have been flooded, 55,500 properties have received a flood warning from the Environment Agency and more than 31,000 properties were protected by flood defences, during what’s now being referred to as the ongoing summer 2012 floods.
There have also been hosepipe bans in place and parts of the country have been classified as ‘in drought’.
A lack of investment in new generating capacity could leave UK businesses at a competitive disadvantage as energy prices rise beyond those in competing economies.
Almost two thirds (62%) of energy experts quizzed in a survey for the Aldersgate Group expect the UK’s energy prices to be higher than competitor economies in 2015. Just 5% predicted lower prices.
The majority of experts (77%) also believe it will be higher prices for fossil fuels that will push energy costs up in the next couple of years, and not policies related to reducing carbon emissions.
Concerns over the replacement of decommissioned coal-fired power stations have been growing. Some argue for a greater focus on energy efficiency to reduce overall needs, but environmentalists told edie that confusion around UK energy policies has driven the big companies to invest elsewhere and “kicked the small companies in the teeth”.
Aldersgate executive director Andrew Raingold said rising energy costs were clearly a “major concern” for businesses and the cheapest way to address diminishing capacity and rising costs was to reduce demand. “There must be much more focus on incentivising consumers and businesses to use less energy rather than investing in expensive new supply,” he explained.
Philips Electronics senior director corporate communications Jayson Otke also urged policy makers to look beyond the challenge of limits to the UK’s energy capacity and tackle barriers to boosting energy efficiency. EDF Energy B2B energy services manager Laurent Mineau agreed, adding that improving energy efficiency “deserves greater attention in the UK energy debate”.
While green groups welcome the drive towards greater energy efficiency, some have warned that the UK cannot afford to ignore the long-term security provided by cleaner energy.
Iain Watt, principal sustainability advisor at Forum for the Future said the big energy companies have been turned off investing in the UK due to a number of policy “wobbles”. “These are pan-European companies. They have a distrust of the UK with the Government wobbling back and forth [on policy] and so have decided to invest elsewhere,” he said.
Watt highlighted the Feed-in tariffs as a high profile “wobble”, and a policy that could potentially have led to more investment and innovation from smaller players in the market.
“One of the nice things we thought about FiTs was the amount of entrepreneurship it could encourage. We could have had a future ‘Google’ of the energy world on our hands. Instead, small businesses have been kicked in the teeth by the new tariff.”
The survey also revealed that 94% of businesses would like to see major reforms of the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, but only 7% would like to see the scheme scrapped altogether. Some 86% would like to see mandatory carbon reporting, vindicating the announcement last month by the Deputy Prime Minister to introduce this measure, while only 23% of respondents thought that meeting regulatory requirements was a major opportunity for their organisation that helped to drive their energy strategy.
Companies who claim to be ‘zero waste’ can now opt to back up their environmental credentials and validate their declarations.
UL Environment has launched a new environmental claim service for businesses, which covers a variety of waste-related activities, from minimisation and landfill diversion drives to recycling rates and energy recovery gains.
The company said it developed the validation process in response to growing demand from consumers and customers for a reliable industry benchmark, where self-awarded eco-labels and greenwashing hold little value.
“While environmentally responsible companies strive to lessen their impacts through creative waste diversion programs, meaningful tools to communicate these efforts to the marketplace are hard to find,” a spokesperson said.
Under UL’s service offering, three types of landfill waste diversion claims are eligible for validation: zero waste to landfill; virtually zero waste to landfill (for facilities that have achieved a diversion rate of 98% or greater); Landfill diversion rate (for diversion rates of 80% or more).
All companies and facilities that are validated will be featured by name in a sustainable products database and can carry an assurance mark on their promotional and marketing materials.
According to UL, this will help give companies extra credibility in the marketplace, as well as a competitive edge.
Sales of UK low-carbon environmental goods and services (LCEGS) grew 4.7% between 2009/10 and 2010/11, the second highest growth rate among the top 10 LCEGS countries and far outstripping the overall performance of the economy, which only increased by 0.7% in 2011.
The figures from the business department (BIS) reveal that UK sales of LCEGS totalled £122.2 billion in 2010/11, a £5.4 billion increase on the previous year. They also show a slight rise in the number of LCEGS companies in the UK, from 51,611 to 51,682, and a 2.8% increase in the number of people employed in the sector, from 914,273 in 2009/10 to 939,627. The growth in sales in 2010/11 follows an 8.6% rise over the previous two years.
The performance puts UK is sixth in the global LCEGS league table by value.
Growth was highest in the renewables industry, with biomass, geothermal, photovoltaic, wave and tidal and wind all enjoying 5% or more growth in 2010/11. Wind was the best performing industry, with growth of 7.2%, followed by the photovoltaic industry, which recorded a 6.3% rise in sales.
Across the other industries that make up the LCEGS sector, sales of carbon finance services increased by 6.7% and alternative fuels by 5.4%.
The data also highlights a positive balance between exports and imports of LCEGS. BIS reports that in 2010/11 the UK imported LCEGS worth £6.8 billion, while sales of exported goods and services totalled £11.8 billion.
The highest value exports are consistently alternative fuels, building technologies, photovoltaics, wind and water/ waste water, reports BIS. These five industries accounted for £6.9 billion in 2010/ 11 or 58% of all LCEGS exports. China is the number one destination for UK exports, accounting for 7% of all UK LCGES exported in 2010/11.
The business department forecasts further growth over the next four years, with sales expected to rise 4.9% in 2011/12, 5.1% in 2012/13, 5.3% in 2013/14 and 5.5% in 2014/15.Back
In what could prove to be a major breakthrough for the UK’s solar industry, installation firm Engensa has today launched an innovative new financing model designed to allow households and small businesses to deploy solar panels at no upfront cost.
Dubbed SolarLoan, the new “pay-as-you-save” scheme will enable households and potentially small businesses to generate modest financial returns as soon as the installation is completed, before then seeing returns rise significantly as energy prices climb and the loan is paid off.
Engensa chief executive Toby Darbyshire explained the company had teamed up with a number of high-profile financing firms to offer customers 10-year unsecured loans at a competitive rate of interest that would allow well-located panels to generate enough revenue from energy bills savings and feed-in tariff payments to cover loan repayments.
“We’ve modeled the approach with a 4kW system in Reading that was installed about 15 degrees off being south-facing,” he said. “The repayments are £92 a month on the loan, but you earn £100 a month from the panels. That means the customer is making around £100 a year right from the off, but if you consider likely energy price increases that could quickly rise to £200 to £300 a year. Also once the loan is paid off after 10 years, you then get another 15 years when you are getting all the revenue from the feed-in tariffs – over the 25 years people could see returns of up to £30,000.”
Previous attempts to offer consumer loans to pay for solar panels have tended to falter amidst difficulties accessing relatively low-interest loans and concerns over what happens to loans when customers move property.
Darbyshire said that customers would have to repay the loan upon moving, but explained that the additional value the panels add to a property should more than cover the repayments.
He also argued that the scheme had been enabled by a shift in mentality amongst banks towards solar projects, although he declined to name at this point the companies Engensa is working with to provide the new financing.
In the past, banks have not been comfortable with solar, but there are areas where they will offer fairly sizeable unsecured loans where they know the default rates and are confident returns will be acceptable, as with sofas for example, Darbyshire explained.
“Because we had a two-year period effectively deploying solar, they can see that stable reliable returns are there and are now more comfortable with the idea,” he added.
The new loans will be available from next month to customers in the West Midlands with a nationwide launch following in October.
Darbyshire also confirmed the financing would be available to businesses as well as households. “Our initial focus is on the domestic market, but there is nothing to stop small businesses applying as this is very much like a business loan,” he said, adding that the company also planned to launch a dedicated business financing offer in the near future.
The move comes as the next wave of cuts to feed-in tariff incentives will come into effect from 1 August.
Source: Business GreenBack
Climate Change Minister Greg Barker has confirmed the next wave of cuts to solar feed-in tariff incentives will come into effect from August 1, cutting payments for small scale installations from 21p/kWh to 16p/kWh.
In a statement in the House of Commons accompanied by the release of the government’s response to its most recent consultation on the feed-in tariff incentive scheme, Barker said the government had finalised reforms to the scheme that would provide the industry with “TLC: transparency, longevity, and certainty”.
The confirmed cuts are at the lower end of the range originally proposed by ministers and will mean that incentives for installations with under 4kW of capacity will fall by around 24 per cent. However, the period for which businesses and households will receive payments from the feed-in tariff has been reduced from 25 to 20 years.
Cuts to larger scale installations were also at the lower end of those proposed by ministers in the consultation in February, with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) confirming that 10-50kW installations will receive 13.5p/kWh, 50-150kW sites will get 11.5p/kWh, and 150-250kW will receive 11p/kWh.
In addition, the rules regarding multiple installations such as social housing projects have been relaxed so that they will receive 90 per cent of the standard tariff rate as opposed to the 80 per cent originally proposed.
Moreover, the export tariff for installations exporting energy to the grid will be increased from 3.2p/kWh to 4.5p/kWh.
Significantly, Barker also announced a new mechanism for reducing feed-in tariff that gives the government an option to cut the tariff every three months from November, based on the level of deployment in the preceding months.
He explained that ministers would automatically authorise a freeze in cuts if there was less than 200MW deployed in the preceding three months and a cut of 3.5 per cent if there is between 200MW and 400MW deployed. Equally, a surge in deployments resulting in more than 400MW being installed would result in deeper cuts of up to 28 per cent.
Under the new rules, the quarterly changes would be announced with two months notice.
Barker said “I want to send a very clear message today. UK solar continues to be an attractive proposition for many consumers considering microgeneration technologies and that having placed the subsidy support for this technology on a long-term, sustainable footing; industry can plan for growth with confidence.”
The move will be seen as a fairly sizable victory for the solar industry, after ministers delayed the proposed date for the new cuts to come into effect from July 1 and opted for tariff reductions that are significantly lower than the 35 per cent cuts that had been proposed in the consultation.
Source Business GreenBack
A new national body has launched, backed by major players, with the stated aim of unlocking opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Green Deal supply chain.
The new Energy Efficiency Partnership for Buildings (EEPB), backed by companies including npower, Strutt & Parker, Centrica, Kingfisher, Enact and Knauf Insulation, says it aims to become the “largest network” of Green Deal providers, financiers and service suppliers. It replaces the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes and will advise Government on the rollout of the Green Deal and the implementation of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), with a primary aim of enabling SMEs to make the most of these new multi-billion pound energy efficiency initiatives.
The Government has said it wants SMEs to be play a major part in the delivery of its flagship Green Deal programme, which will enable householders to make energy efficiency improvements to their homes at no upfront cost from October 1 2012. It says it also wants smaller Green Deal providers to benefit from up to half of the ECO, a new initiative that will compel the big energy companies to provide £1.3 billion a year in energy efficiency upgrades for low income and hard to insulate homes under the Green Deal.
Last month, Energy Minister Greg Barker signed a Memorandum of Understanding with 22 companies, including seven SMEs, which pledged to work with the Coalition to help kickstart the Green Deal.
“Our priority working groups will be looking at how we overcome market barriers and unlock opportunities from Green Deal and ECO, especially for SMEs,” Dr David Strong, chairman of the EEPB, said.
Steven Heath, External Affairs director for Knauf Insulation, added that the EEPB would also help to address the challenges of delivering the Green Deal to the non-domestic sector. Last month, it emerged that the launch of the Green Deal for businesses would be delayed due to the complexities of the non-domestic building market.
“The Energy Efficiency Partnership for Buildings will be well placed to identify these complexities, offer solutions and act as a conduit for concerns between the energy efficiency supply chain and Government,” said Heath.
National Energy Foundation
A not-for-profit organisation, the EEPB has been established as a subsidiary of leading energy efficiency charity the National Energy Foundation, which was established over 20 years ago to reduce the use of energy in buildings.
“The focus of the EEPB in the coming year on effective implementation of the Green Deal also dovetails with several of our high profile programmes such as SuperHomes and Unlocking the Green Deal, and our work with Green Deal providers,” said John Walker, chairman of the National Energy Foundation.
The Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes set up in 1999 and represented 760 organisations across the energy efficiency supply chain.
Source: Green WiseBack
An ISO standard has been launched to help businesses cut their waste costs through developing more sustainable practices around materials use.
The ISO 14051:2011 standard for environmental management and material flow cost accounting (MFCA) provides a general framework under which an organisation can track and quantify material flows and stocks as well as evaluate the costs associated with those flows.
MFCA is applicable to any business that uses materials and energy, regardless of its products, services, size, structure, location, and existing management and accounting systems.
It can also be extended to other organisations in the supply chain, both upstream and downstream, helping to develop an integrated approach to improving waste generation in the supply chain.
Professor Katsuhiko Kokubu was instrumental in developing the standard and said: “Many organiszations are unaware of the full extent of the cost of their material losses because this data is often difficult to extract from conventional information, accounting and environmental management systems.
MFCA produces such precise and clear data that it can motivate managers to enhance material productivity and significantly reduce unnecessary waste far more effectively than through conventional means.”
Source: edie newsroomBack
The innocuous looking printer sitting in the corner of your office is likely to be responsible for some of your organisation’s most significant environmental impacts, according to printer manufacturer Riso.
The Japan-based company is one of the leading providers of inkjet printers, which command just a fraction of the market for office printers and copiers, but which their supporters argue offer a green alternative to the popular but environmentally harmful toner-based printers
Tamal Saha, managing director at Riso UK, argues that laserjet toner-based printers have two fundamental design flaws that make them both inefficient and a source of indoor air pollution.
“To get toner fused onto the paper you need heat, and any process requiring heat uses a lot of energy,” he explained. “And then there is the fact that toner is carbon-based. It starts as powder and is then fused on to the paper, but that inherently means that dust will be created… The technology is a lot better than it used to be, with more effective filters being used, but it is still not a great chemical process to have taking place near people.”
A number of independent reports have highlighted the health risks posed by indoor air pollution, singling out printers as one of the main sources of particulate matter and potentially harmful chemicals.
Inkjet printers have always offered a more energy efficient alternative to laser printers, while avoiding air pollution issues, but, as Saha admitted, concerns over speed and quality has left them confined to the market for small desktop printers, with toner-based printers commanding over 99 per cent of the global market for larger office printers.
However, Riso claims to have developed a new patented design for inkjet printers that promises to offer a viable alternative to toner-based printers, churning out 150 pages a minute while also delivering superior green credentials.
Saha explained that by using a process that sees ink dropped across a page using a series of inkjet heads, the company’s ComColor series of printers avoids the need for a fuser, slashing energy use by around 80 per cent compared to a standard conventional printer and based on 20,000 pages being printed per month.
“Estimates from the Carbon Trust have shown that office printers and copiers account for around 15 per cent of total office energy consumption, and that is not including the impact hot printers have on air conditioning requirements,” he said. “If you are using a printer a reasonable amount our technology can save thousands of pounds on your energy bill.”
Arguably, the strongest green credential associated with Riso’s technology is the way in which the removal of heat from the printing process extends the life of the printer.
Saha claims the ComColor printers are designed to deliver up to 10 million copies, giving them a life span that, depending on usage, can last decades.
The company has developed refurbishing capabilities to take advantage of this reliability and is offering printers to customers on a five-year lease, before then refurbishing them and offering them on the secondary market on another four-year lease.
Saha said there was then the potential to find a third home for the printers in emerging economies. “We are refurbishing 20 units a month that we then sell on at a reduced price to schools or churches,” he said. “That is 20 new printers that don’t need manufacturing and 20 new sites that get to take advantage of a highly efficient printer.”
However, as a relatively new technology there is a price premium attached to Riso’s printers, with the entry-level ComColor printer costing around £10,000. Meanwhile, advocates of toner-based printers would argue that inkjet technologies do not offer as clean an image.
Saha countered that the company’s technology is designed to meet office needs and not high quality printing requirements, adding that the products compete on cost when total costs of ownership are taken into account.
He revealed that Riso is now working on expanding its range of inkjet printers further and adding new functionality that will allow people to easily print from mobile devices and remote locations, while also seeking to raise awareness of the environmental merits of ink-based printers.
“People are aware that toner printers are not ideal and that there are inherent environmental problems,” he said. “But there has not been the awareness that greener alternatives are available, that is where we need to educate the market.”
Source: Business GreenBack
Entrepreneurs and small firms with innovative clean energy ideas are to benefit from £35 million of funding, the Government has announced.
The Energy Entrepreneurs Fund will help small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) over the next three years that are looking to develop and demonstrate low carbon technologies for buildings and power generation. It was launched today by the Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey at the start of a two-day international summit on clean energy being hosted by the UK Government in London.
The funding is part of £200 million awarded to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) towards innovation in the 2010 Spending Review. It will primarily go towards developing energy efficiency solutions for buildings, including advanced lighting, heat pumps and ventilation technologies. Cleantech ideas around power generation will also benefit.
“Part of the way that we’re going to tackle climate change and get clean energy is through innovation, particularly with SMEs,” said Davey, who is co-chairing Clean Energy Ministerial, where Energy Ministers from 23 countries are discussing accelerating the transition to clean energy technologies.
“We’re allocating a fund of £35 million which will help innovators and entrepreneurs develop and demonstrate low carbon technologies.”
Energy Entrepreneurs Fund
Up to £20 million of the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund will be available from this summer to support energy efficiency technologies through DECC’s Buildings Innovation Programme. A further £15 million will support power generation ideas at a later stage.
DECC said SMEs would be able to apply for up to £1 million each and would also benefit from expert advice on how to bring their products to market.
Heat storage competition
DECC also announced that it will shortly launch a £3 million competition, in partnership with the Technology Strategy Board, to develop innovative heat storage technologies which can be installed in homes and even out peak electricity demand from low carbon heat technologies such as heat pumps.
To support SMEs applying for low carbon funding, DECC is also launching an online ‘navigator’. The tool is available by clicking hereBack
The Low Carbon Business Programme, a Solutions for Business programme part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, was recently shortlisted as a finalist in the New Energy Awards 2012 (http://www.newenergyawards.com) under the New Energy Champion of the Year category.
This is a national award scheme and it is the fifth year that these awards have been celebrated. In the words of the chairman of the awards, Leslie Copeland (CEO, Vitesse Media), “We have introduced two new awards this year. [..] The second, New Energy Champion of the Year, recognises an organisation that has shown the greatest commitment to reducing its own carbon emissions, or persuading others to do so.
This [..] award acknowledges that it is the consumers as well as the creators of new energy who are driving change and growth in this sector, and point the way towards a more sustainable mode of living.”
The awards attract nominations from many large and influential companies and organisations and the Low Carbon Business Programme was in direct competition with companies and organisations such as United Biscuits, Glyndebourne and Miele Professional; other nominees for awards included Ernst & Young, Grant Thornton, Nomura Investment Bank, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Quadrise Fuels International, to name but a few.
We are pleased and proud to announce that the Low Carbon Business Programme won the award - the judges recognising the wide impact the Programme has made and continues to make, both directly and indirectly, on a significant percentage of SMEs in the region in effecting lower emissions through a wide and varied series of measures, with measurable results.
Further information on the Low Carbon Business Programme is available from:
Peter Wognum at Groundwork South Essex, Council Offices, Kiln Road, Thundersley, Benfleet, Essex SS7 1TF.
Tel: 01268 758423.
The Green Deal for non-domestic buildings will not launch at the same time as it is introduced to households it has emerged.
Ministers had planned to introduce the Green Deal to both households and businesses in October, but the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is now looking at a phased introduction of the Government’s flagship energy efficiency programme.
A spokesperson for DECC said the Green Deal for business was being delayed due to the complexity of the non-domestic market. “It’s likely the Green Deal for business won’t be launched at the same time as the Green Deal for domestic but this is because it is such a complex area and we need to get it right.
“We are discussing how best to do this with industry, who are telling us they support our decision to have a managed introduction of the Green Deal to ensure its success from day one. It is probable, however, that many small business will be able to take part in the domestic scheme,” she said.
Green Deal rethink
The decision by DECC follows calls by some business quarters to re-think the launch of the non-domestic Green Deal and news that Ministers and the big energy firms are considering options on how to implement a scaled-back Green Deal launch for the domestic market.
But the delay means businesses and landlords will have to wait longer to invest in energy efficiency improvements at no upfront cost at a time when they are seeing their annual energy costs rise by double-digit percentage points.
Nevertheless, some business groups today welcomed the move by the Government.
“If it is true the Government plans to implement a staged introduction of the Green Deal then we would welcome this decision,” Stephen O’Hara, chairman of the Property and Energy Professionals Association (PEPA) said. “While its plans for domestic buildings are well advanced and appear on track for the planned October introduction, it has been clear for some time that plans for non-domestic buildings require further clarification and exploration.”
PEPA, which counts the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and the Building Research Establishment (BRE) among its members, has been lobbying for a phased introduction to the Green Deal. It says the scheme has yet to address a number of key issues relating to the non-domestic market, such as the complex process of securing consent to carry out energy efficiency improvements within commercial premises, the role of assessors and proposed charges for non-domestic properties.
Best interest of consumers
“We have previously raised a number of concerns surrounding the existing plans for non-domestic buildings […] With such an important new framework, it is essential that the Government gets it right first time. I believe this latest decision is in the best interests of both the consumer and the industry,” O’Hara said.
The Green Deal is being established to help homeowners and businesses access loans for loft and cavity wall insulation, lagging and other energy efficiency measures at no upfront cost. The Government says it will see billions of pounds lent every year and create hundreds of thousands of jobs between now and 2020. Most of the focus of Green Deal is on the domestic market, where the Government wants 14 million homes insulated by 2020. However, it is estimated 2.8 million businesses in commercial buildings could become more energy efficient under the Green Deal.
All businesses are seeing their energy costs rise, but small businesses are being particularly squeezed and are expected to see price increases of 15 per cent by the end of 2012, according to research commissioned by Make It Cheaper from the Centre for Economics and Business Research.
The Carbon Trust estimates that small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) could, however, cut their energy costs by 20 per cent through energy efficiency measures.
A leading training and skills body in the UK is urging small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the construction industry to improve their green skills so as not to miss out on the business opportunities being afforded by the low carbon economy.
CITB-ConstructionSkills, the construction industry training board and sector skills council, says “urgent steps” are required by construction SMEs to improve their green skills or risk missing out on billions of pounds worth of investment expected to be unleashed by initiatives such as the Green Deal in the UK. It also points to a recent EU report, which shows that not enough European SMEs are taking advantage of the growing green goods and services sector.
“Urgent steps must be taken by small and medium-sized construction firms to improve green skills if they are to avoid missing out on the business opportunities presented by Europe’s low carbon future,” Mark Farrar, chief executive of CITB-ConstructionSkills, said.
In the UK, the Government says its flagship energy efficiency policy the Green Deal, set to launch in October, will see billions of pounds lent every year to enable homeowners and businesses to undertake energy efficiency improvements such as loft and cavity wall insulation, lagging and draught-proofing.
In order to be a Green Deal provider, companies that assess home energy efficiency and install insulation measures will have to demonstrate their staff have been trained to a high standard.
Lack of skills
But a lack Green Deal-type skills have been identified as main barrier to delivering the scheme, especially among SMEs in the construction sector. A recent study by the Royal Academy of Engineers, for example, found examples of inexperienced or underqualified plumbing and heating engineers causing serious problems in the area of energy efficiency and renewable technology installations.
“It is estimated the Green Deal scheme will create up to 65,000 retrofitting and maintenance jobs, offering a huge business opportunity for those SMEs which can demonstrate they have the right skills and qualifications,” Farrar said.
Welcoming the announcement last week by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg that £350 million a year of funding would be allocated to deliver heating and insulation measures to 270,000 low income households by 2015, Farrar said: “The construction industry can match the Government’s commitment by training and upskilling to ensure we have the skilled and qualified workforce that is needed to carry out the work to a high standard.”
The CITB-ConstructionSkills, along with partners SummitSkills and AssetSkills, has formed the Green Deal Skills Alliance (GDSA), to develop training and a qualification framework for trainers, providers and installers to ensure high standards in the work carried out on people’s properties. The GDSA was awarded £3 million by the Government last month for Green Deal training.
The report published earlier this month by the European Commission, ‘SMEs: Resource Efficiency and Green Markets’, reveals only 26 per cent of SMEs in the EU offer green products or services, compared to 42 per cent among larger companies.
A fleet of low carbon emission buses are set to be rolled out onto roads in Essex.
First Essex Buses is to receive a £1.8m grant to buy 23 hybrid-electric buses. Thurrock-based Ensign Bus Company will get funding to purchase six versions.
The money has been awarded as part of the Department for Transport’s £31m Green Bus Fund.
The energy-efficient vehicles generate less carbon emissions than fuel-powered vehicles, create less noise and save money on fuel.
The new buses will replace 23 fuel-powered buses and will cover routes across the county from next year.
A spokesman for First Essex said the funding covered 70 per cent of the cost of hybrid buses, which are due to be on the streets in early 2013.
First Essex will cover the additional 30 per cent of the bus costs itself.
Grays-based Ensign buses are buying seven hybrid buses, thanks to a £475,000 grant.
The company has already bought one bus, which drivers are learning to drive, and engineers learning to service, before it takes to the streets next month.
A further six buses are expected to be launched across Thurrock in the autumn.
Southend Borough Council will also receive £1.5m to spend on improvements to its bus network.
Local Transport Minister Norman Baker said the buses were aimed at reducing fuel costs, cutting CO2 emissions and encouraging more people to travel by bus.
The government said each low carbon bus used in London saved about 26 tonnes of CO2 per vehicle each year, compared to diesel equivalents.
The vehicles, both single-deck and double-decker, are expected to come into operation during 2012-13.
Southend council said it would use the money it had received from the Better Bus Area fund to set up a borough-wide Smartcard system, improve bus stops and reduce congestion.
Source: Echo & BBCBack
Carbon dioxide emissions in the UK fell by eight per cent last year, according to official figures.
The provisional estimates, published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) suggest CO2 emissions decreased across most of the main sectors between 2010 and 2011. The biggest drop was recorded in the residential sector, where emissions fell by 22 per cent (19.1 million tonnes), the highest decrease for any single sector. The drop was mainly attributed to a decrease in the use of fossil fuels, especially gas, due to 2011 being a much warmer year than 2010.
Greenhouse gas emissions overall fell by seven per cent or 50 million tonnes (Mt) to 549.3 Mt carbon dioxide equivalent in 2011.
UK net emissions of carbon dioxide fell last year to 456.3 Mt from 495.8 Mt in 2010.
The provisional estimates show that as well as a fall across the residential sector, emissions dropped by eight per cent (6.0 Mt) across the business sector, and six per cent across energy supply (11.8 Mt). Emissions from the transport sector also fell by a more modest 1.4 per cent (1.7 Mt).
In 2011 an estimated 40 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions were from the energy supply sector, 26 per cent from transport, and 15 per cent from each of the business and residential sectors.
The residential sector accounted for 67 Mt of emissions in 2011, down from 76 Mt in 2010, making it the largest contributor to the decrease in CO2 emissions last year. The drop was mainly due to 2011 being significantly warmer than 2010, when temperatures in the first and last quarter were 2.2 and 4.1 degrees Celsius higher, respectively. The use of natural gas for space heating dropped by 23 per cent in 2011 largely as a consequence of the higher temperatures.
Emissions from the residential sector were estimated to be around 15 per cent lower than in 1990 in 2011. Most of this decade has seen emissions increase on 1990 levels.
The energy supply sector was the second biggest contributor to the decrease in CO2 emissions between 2010 and 2011. Emissions from this sector were provisionally estimated to be 184 Mt in 2011, compared to 196 Mt in 2010. This is was partly down to demand for electricity at power stations being three per cent lower in 2011 and a 17 per cent decrease in gas use for generation, alongside an 11 per cent increase in the use of nuclear power.
Emissions from the energy supply sector were estimated to be around 24 per cent lower in 2011 than they were in 1990.
Carbon dioxide emissions from the business sector fell to 70 Mt in 2011 from 76 Mt, suggesting emissions from this sector were 37 per cent below 1990 levels in 2011.
CO2 emissions from the transport sector in 2011 accounted for 119 Mt making these roughly unchanged from 1990 levels and 1.7 Mt lower than in 2010.
The long-standing feed-in tariff (FIT) saga has at last reached conclusion - with the Supreme Court throwing out the Government’s appeal against a ruling that its actions on the subsidies were “unlawful”.
As a result, the solar industry has heralded the Supreme Court ruling, which concluded that the Government should not have prematurely cut solar FITs before the end of the consultation period, a victory.
The appeal, lodged by government earlier this year to the Court of Appeal, follows High Court action by solar company HomeSun environmental group Friends of the Earth (FoE) which argued government plans to cut FIT incentives by as much as 50% from December 12 2011 - and ahead of a formal review were illegal.
The High Court agreed, and a ruling was given on December 21 which stated the controversial cuts to solar incentives were “unlawful”. However, DECC, acting under former energy secretary Chris Huhne, then made the decision in January to lodge an appeal against the ruling.
As a result of this final ruling, companies and households that installed the panels before the March 4 will now receive the full payback from the tariffs. It is also hoped it will finally end months of uncertainty for the industry.
Despite welcoming the final decision, campaigners have warned that as a result of the Government’s “illegal” action that the UK’s renewable market growth has been affected and jobs already lost.
HomeSun CEO Daniel Green said while this ends the FITs “fiasco” that it does not “repair the damage to the industry which has now been decimated and a huge opportunity for this country squandered”.
This view was reciprocated by Solarcentury chairman Jeremy Leggett, who said: “This final step in the legal process has wasted much needed time and money and now we, the renewables industry, simply want to get on with creating our clean energy future.
“Renewables can only play the pivotal role necessary to deliver a new green economy if we have a stable market and investor confidence backed by lawful, predictable and carefully considered policy.”
HomeSun said it now hopes energy secretary Ed Davey turns his attention to making other initiatives such as RHI and The Green Deal work.
While Solarcentury added that it hoped government is “now clear that it will be held to account if it tries to act illegally and push through unlawful policy changes”, adding that “we would much prefer not to have taken this path but ministers gave us no choice. Our hope now is that we can work together again to restore the thriving jobs-rich solar sector that has been so badly undermined by government actions.”
Responding to the announcement, Mr Davey said “We are disappointed by the decision of the Supreme Court not to grant permission to hear this case. But the Court’s decision draws a line under the case. We will now focus all our efforts on ensuring the future stability and cost effectiveness of solar and other microgeneration technologies for the many, not the few.”
Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman unveiled the full scale of the cutbacks and changes to UK environmental regulations through the Red Tape Challenge today, insisting the results would be “good for the environment and good for business”.
In all, 185 green regulations out of a total of 255 are to be changed or cut entirely following a far-reaching review and public consultation launched last April. The overhaul will see the removal or simplification and merger of rules governing everything from asbestos an contaminated land to general commercial waste. It is aimed at freeing business up from unnecessary red tape and is especially aimed at making life easier and cheaper for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) burdened by too much regulation. Spelman said it would save UK businesses more than £1billion over five years, while ensuring companies that flout the law are targeted more effectively.
“I want to be very clear that this is not about rolling back environmental safeguards, nor is it just about cutting regulation to stimulate growth,” she said. “We’ve always said that we were going to keep the vitally important protection our environment needs. This was about getting better rules, not weaker ones. The results of the Red Tape Challenge will be good for the environment and good for business, because as well as upholding environmental protection we will remove unnecessary bureaucracy to allow businesses to free up resources to invest in growth.”
The package will see 53 regulations repealed and 132 regulations “improved”, mainly through simplification or mergers, according to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). A further 70 will remain unchanged.
Among the changes, Defra said, from next month it would introduce better guidance on contaminated land, saving businesses £140 million per year.
Another change will see the overhaul of the amount of red tape concerning the transfer of business waste. At the moment 23.5 million paper Waste Transfer Notes (WTNs) are produced each year in the UK. But Defra said it will look at ways small businesses can use other forms of evidence instead, such as invoices. An electronic system to be introduced by 2014 will save businesses £5 million.
“We’re making it easier for people to do the right thing, by making rules clearer and by getting rid of old, unworkable regulations. This is a prime example of how we can help grow a green economy whilst looking after our natural resources,” said Spelman.
Defra said it had consulted with green groups and businesses, including 3,500 website responses and written submissions, before introducing the changes.
Playing havoc with environment
However, some green campaigners are alarmed by the scale of the changes and their impact on the environment.
“Ministers are spending valuable time and money tinkering with vital regulations with no evidence that it won’t simply create extra confusion and costs for businesses – as well as play havoc with the environment,” Craig Bennett, policy director at Friends of the Earth, said.
Landfill tax will increase by a further £8 a tonne from this April, as part of efforts by the Government to tackle the UK’s waste problem.
The increase will see the standard rate of landfill tax rise to £64 per tonne. Last year, the tax rose from £48 to £66 a tonne. The latest increase will come into effect on April 1 2012. A lower rate of £2.50 per tonne will apply to less polluting wastes as set out in the Landfill Tax (Qualifying Material) Order 2011, the HMRC said.
Each year the UK generates approximately 280 million tonnes of waste. Currently, the UK dumps 55 per cent of municipal waste into landfill sites, compared to a 40 per cent average across EU member states and Germany’s one per cent. Under the EU Landfill Directive, member states are required to cut the amount of biodegradable municipal waste they send to landfill to 50 per cent on 1995 levels by 2013 and 35 per cent by 2020.
The landfill tax is one tool the UK Government is using to catch up with the rest of Europe. However, it is also trying to encourage better waste management and recycling measures among households and businesses.
Improving recycling services for SMEs
According to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) there is the potential for businesses to save £23 billion through reducing waste and recycling more. Under its Waste Review, launched last summer, Defra is working with both the waste industry and local authorities to improve recycling services offered to small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which find it hard to access suitable waste and recycling services.
According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the main body representing the needs of the UK’s 4.8 million small businesses, waste is one of the issues most frequently raised by its members and it reports that 95 per cent of its members would recycle more if the opportunities to do so existed.
The voluntary ‘Responsibility Deal’ between the Government and the waste and resources management sector, among other things is looking at how to best provide the right sort of information to smaller businesses on waste contracts. Work, meanwhile, has started on developing a set of best practice commitments for services to SMEs, and Defra has been looking at how to cut red tape for small businesses. Yesterday, it announced it would be slashing over 50 environmental regulations, including some relating to waste, which it claimed will save businesses £1 billion over next five years.
“We want to make it easier for businesses who want to do the right thing and recycle more to be able to do so,” a Defra spokesperson said. “We’re working with small businesses and the waste industry to get them access to more user-friendly waste management services and better advice on how to deal with their waste.”
The ‘Business Recycling and Waste Services Commitment’, meanwhile, aims to improve SMEs’ access to cost-effective recycling services from local authorities. It was launched last October and sets out 12 principles for business recycling and waste services. Seven local authorities have already signed up to the voluntary code and WRAP, which is leading on the initiative, organised a workshop at the end of February in London to share good practice and discuss the principles of the commitment with local authority officers and managers who are responsible for waste and recycling.
Steve Didsbury, head of Waste & Street Service London Borough of Bexley, one of the early signatories to the Commitment said: “The Business Recycling and Waste Services Commitment helped Bexley review what we were doing. We had concentrated on household collections, which continue very successfully at around a 53 per cent recycling rate. The Commitment helped focus our minds on the businesses in our borough and how we could support and encourage recycling in the business community.”
A spokesperson for WRAP said the organisation was working closely with the Local Government Association and Defra to “help others who’ve expressed interest and who tell us they are in the process of signing up”.
Extreme weather caused by climate change could increase electricity bills for UK businesses by £335m a year in by 2030 - with the retail sector hit hardest.
And, retailers and businesses reliant on warehouses are likely to be most vulnerable to prices increases as they will be forced to use significantly more electricity to run their buildings.
However, office-based businesses and buildings which rely on air conditioning for cooling could face paying more than £250m a year, as a result of hotter summers and colder winters.
These are the findings of a new report by independent organisation RICS, which set out to measure the impact of climate change on future energy demand in commercial buildings.
RICS sustainability and special projects director Martin Russell-Croucher warns that many of the UK’s commercial buildings will be unable cope with changes in climate as they are not energy efficient. However, he adds, they will become too expensive to run in their current state.
He said: “It is important that property professionals and businesses understand how they can and should adapt, and maintain their buildings now to ensure they are not only cost efficient but also sustainable for generations to come. Failure to do so can result in electricity costs spiralling out of control.”
As a result, RICS predicts that a commercial property of about 2,500m sq can expect to pay more than £5,000 in electricity costs per year by 2030.
London’s commercial properties are forecast to incur the largest increase in electricity demand with costs expected to rise to an additional £3.20 per square metre, compared to approximately £2.87 per square metre in Newcastle.
UK businesses and public sector bodies could save up to £400m a year by taking simple steps to improve the efficiency of their boilers and hot water systems, according to two new reports from the Carbon Trust.
The new guides, the latest in a series of reports designed to highlight the steps firms can take to improve their energy efficiency, argue that it is possible to cut heating costs by up to 30 per cent by implementing simple, low-cost efficiency measures.
The company said that with hot water and heating typically accounting for over a third of an organisation’s energy consumption, any measures to enhance boiler efficiency can deliver significant cost and carbon savings.
“Heating water uses a huge amount of energy so if you want to cut your bill and boost your bottom line, checking your boiler is not a bad place to start,” said Richard Rugg, director of Carbon Trust Programmes in a statement. “UK organisations could be saving over £400m a year by following simple, low-cost measures.”
The guides include a series of recommendations to help companies cut their heating bills by around 10 per cent, including advice on how to carry out regular boiler maintenance, insulate boilers and pipes effectively, and install water treatment systems to remove contaminants and impurities.
It also urges organisations to consider replacing old or inefficient boilers, arguing that newer systems can deliver significant energy and carbon savings.
The guides, entitled Steam and high temperature hot water boilers and Low temperature hot water boilers, cite the example of an unnamed Scottish knitwear manufacturer that saved 35,000 litres of fuel oil and £13,200 per year by switching from an oil-fired boiler to two smaller gas-fired boilers equipped with digital combustion controls.
In addition, water heating systems that use renewable energy sources, such as solar hot water technologies and biomass boilers, can take advantage of the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, shortening the payback period for many green boilers.
Source: Business GreenBack
UK industrial and manufacturing firms could save themselves up to £1.4bn a year by switching to new lighting technologies, according to a major new study undertaken by an energy efficient lighting firms.
The report makes the case for switching to more energy efficient lighting technologies and configurations. But it also highlights how industrial facilities can cut their lighting energy use by an average of 58.6 per cent by deploying new reflectors on light fittings and switching to lower wattage, higher efficiency lamps.
The report, entitled The Light Bulb Moment, extrapolates that manufacturing and industrial firms across the UK could save £1.4bn a year on their energy spend while saving 10 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, simply by installing more efficient lighting systems.
Vita Energia director Duncan Stevens said “The calculations are very robust, they are based on detailed surveys of lighting technologies, fittings and energy prices at a variety of locations,” he explained. “The evidence is there that energy efficient lighting systems can save firms a lot of money.”
Stevens argued that deployment of energy efficient lighting systems was being hampered by tight budgets and a reluctance of some firms to invest in facilities improvements, despite evidence many new lighting systems can deliver a return on investment in 12 to 15 months.
“The technology is proven now and people can see it delivers substantial savings,” he said. “The focus for businesses has to be on the economic case for these types of deployments.”
The Low Carbon Business Programme offers 40% grants for energy efficiency projects such as lighting replacements. If you are an SME in the South Essex Thames Gateway region then you could qualify for a grant. For further information call 01268 758423.
Source Business GreenBack
The government has listed seven electric vans that are eligible for a discount of up to £8,000 as part of the Plug-In Van Grant first unveiled last month.
In addition to the grant, the scheme also allows businesses to reclaim the full list price VAT of any new electric van, transport secretary Justine Greening and business minister Mark Prisk have confirmed.
To qualify for the scheme models must emit less than 75g/km CO2, be capable of travelling at least 60 miles between charges – or 10 miles in electric mode for hybrid vans – reach speeds of more than 50mph, and meet European safety standards.
As well as benefiting from reduced refuelling costs, electric vans are exempt from company car tax, attract capital allowance concessions, and receive a 100 per cent discount for the congestion charge in the London, making them an attractive choice for many businesses’ fleets. A report released today by The Climate Group in collaboration with the Energy Saving Trust and Cenex finds that, when used for the right tasks, electric vehicle’s save businesses £700 per vehicle per year compared to diesel alternatives.
“Vans are essential to the smooth running of so many businesses and contribute enormously to the UK economy,” Prisk said in a statement. “An upfront purchase grant, when combined with lower running costs and tax benefits, can make switching to an ultra low carbon van an attractive choice for those businesses.
“Now there are seven different models eligible for that support, van buyers should be able to choose one they find easy on the eye as well as the wallet.”
The models confirmed as eligible for the scheme are: Azure Dynamics’ Ford Transit Connect Electric, the Mercedes-Benz Vito E-CELL, Renault’s Kangoo Z.E. and others in that range, and Smith Electric’s Edison, plus variants SE2 and SE3.
Italian manufacturer Faam’s Ecomile and Jolly 2000 models will join the scheme in March, while discounts for Mia-electric’s Mia U will be available from May.
Greening also announced Mia Electrics’ Mia/Mia L electric car has become the 11th model eligible for the £5,000 plug-in car grant.
A Department for Transport spokeswoman told BusinessGreen the government anticipates more electric vans will join the scheme, but manufacturers must apply to be added.
Around £300m has been set aside to cover both the plug-in van scheme and its electric car equivalent, under which 1,052 cars were sold in 2011, using up just £5.26m of the original £250m budget.
The DfT spokeswoman said no targets have been set for van adoption under the scheme, although the Committee on Climate Change estimates 1.7 million electric vehicles need to be on UK roads if the country is to meet its emissions targets.
Paul Everitt, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said the van grant was good news for British manufacturers.
“Home to a high level of low carbon R&D and manufacturing activity, the UK is well placed to take full advantage of the ultra-low carbon vehicle sector,” he said in a statement. “Incentives that support the development of a flourishing market will add to our competitive advantage.”
Source: Business GreenBack
The UK must “find a way to save water” in order to ease the strain on water supplies and reduce the effects of drought, according to environment secretary Caroline Spelman.
Speaking earlier today (February 20), at an emergency drought summit attended by water companies, businesses, wildlife groups and non-governmental organisations (NGO), Ms Spelman said that she called the summit as “ensuring we have enough water this summer is vitally important”.
This follows an official announcement today that the South East is now officially in drought - largely the result of another year of below average rainfall and successive dry winters.
As part of the summit, key water industry players met to decide what actions need to be taken to limit the impact of drought in the future and were urged by the environment secretary to find ways of reducing water waste and water usage.
Speaking after the water summit held at Defra’s headquarters, Ms Spelman, said: “Drought is already an issue this year with the South East, East Anglia and other parts of the UK now officially in drought, and more areas are likely to be affected as we continue to experience a prolonged period of very low rainfall.
“It is not just the responsibility of government, water companies and businesses to act against drought. We are asking for the help of everyone by urging them to use less water and to start now.”
During the summit an in depth analysis of the current drought situation and the ensuing effects on the environment was provided by the Environment Agency (EA), which is expected to publish its latest drought prospects report next month.
According to the EA, the report aims to help water companies, farmers and other water abstractors plan for the year ahead, and sets out clear actions that these groups should take to help manage the country’s valuable water supplies.
As a result of the summit, water companies at high risk of drought have pledged to take action to reduce water wastage and increase leakage detection, as well engage their customers to use water wisely.
Consultancy Atkins architect Ben Piper described the drought summit as “a good step in working out the measures needed to manage the impacts of drought in parts of England this summer”.
However, he said that “in addition to immediate short-term responses to combat the threat of drought problems this summer, the water industry also needs to build on the proposals in the Water White Paper and other initiatives to reform the industry and work towards a sustainable medium and longer term response.”
He added: “The on-going and worsening drought conditions may well trigger more emphasis on the scope and speed of reforms which could include more incentives for water trading, metering, and other demand management measures.”
Meanwhile, Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) water panel chair Michael Norton said: “If we are to avoid the spectre of drought becoming an annual event we must urgently change our approach to water management, taking a more strategic overview and focusing on preventative measures for addressing scarcity before it gets to drought stage.
“Introducing demand management measures, improving interconnectivity between water companies and better and more imaginative methods of storing winter water would be a good start to safe-guarding this precious resource for the future.”
Source: edie newsroomBack
SMEs are increasing turning to renewable energy generation such as solar panels and anaerobic digestion (AD) to power their own business operations, according to a new survey.
Research from energy supplier Opus Energy suggests a growing level of interest among SMEs in renewable power, with one third (32%) expecting to introduce solar panels, wind turbines or anaerobic digestion, and 38% expecting to be generating their own renewable energy within five years.
Despite recent cuts in energy tariffs, and perhaps faced with finding new ways to generate income - 42% highlight the revenue opportunity behind any decision - a large number of business leaders expect to be generating renewable energy within the next five years.
The research also found that 42% of SMEs said they would switch to generating some or all of their own power from renewables if it could be proven that they would make money out of it. Most business owners (59%) felt they would definitely be interested in generating their own power if the Government provided subsidies.
Opus Energy’s managing director Charlie Crossley Cooke said: “There’s real dynamism in the SME sector from people who are genuine entrepreneurs and we expect to see more examples of SMEs powering other businesses as well as their own.
“With so much talk around the consumer energy sector, we need to be championing the cause for business. We need more carrot than stick when it comes to the Government’s intervention in renewable energy generation.”
Soucre: edie newsroomBack
The first date of the series of innovative workshops for accountants and financial advisors being run by Groundwork has been set for February 24th 2012. Baker Tilly, a leading national provider of accounting and business services has kindly agreed to support, sponsor and host the event. The workshops are designed to give financial advisors tools and training to enable them to work with their small business clients on actions to make sure their businesses are resilient to extreme weather events.
Employees could save businesses and public bodies £500m and cut 2m tonnes of C02 through ‘empowerment’ according to the Carbon Trust.
The trust, which has launched an online tool to help organisations, says engaging employees in cutting energy use, paper waste and travel could save small business more than 15% in energy costs.
Businesses could also use the Carbon Trust Empower tool to save £150K and more than 500 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
According to the trust leisure giant Whitbread and Oxford City Council have already signed their staff up to use the system
Carbon Trust Programmes director, Richard Rugg, said: “Companies often struggle to harness the huge energy savings that an effectively engaged workforce can help deliver.
“Part of the problem employers face is making actions practical, fun and sustained. By creating a virtual tour entirely from an employee’s viewpoint, every aspect of Empower has been designed with the end-user in mind.”
“Employees are a critical ally in cutting energy waste, get them onboard and reap the rewards in lower bills and reduced carbon emissions.”
People are able to look for energy saving throughout their office - starting by considering how they arrive for work, with options to join a company carpool or travel by public transport, before moving on to their desk, where they can commit to switch off their PC when not in use, print double-sided, and teleconference rather than travel.
The virtual journey also helps staff cut energy waste in other parts of the office, such as the reception area, kitchen, corridors and toilets.
As well as helping individuals create and keep track of personal action plans, Empower provides a wealth of engaging workplace facts and enables office managers to view the sum of their employees’ individual energy savings.
Whitbread’s head of energy and environment, Chris George, said: “Whitbread has a clear target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 26% by 2020.
“We believe that Empower is a strong learning platform which will help our teams to understand how we can work together to reduce energy consumption within our portfolio of buildings in the UK.
Source edie newsroomBack
RWE npower will start commercial operations at Britain’s biggest biomass power station at Tilbury at the end of January, a spokeswoman said on Thursday.
The third of three units at the 750-megawatt (MW) power plant will start producing power next week and the whole plant will be commercially operational by the end of January reports Reuters newsagency.
“Tilbury has two of its three units operating and the third will be commissioned next week,” she said.
The new power station will burn wood pellets to produce electricity and is located on the site of the utility’s ageing Tilbury coal-fired power plant, which will shut down by the end of 2015.
The plant received its first delivery of 46,000 tonnes of wood pellets in November from Georgia in the United States, where RWE Innogy owns a biomass pellet factory.
Most of the wood pellets used at Tilbury will originate from North America, while some supply will stem from continental Europe, RWE npower said.
The utility is also on track to open a 2,000 MW gas-fired power plant at Pembroke in the third quarter of this year, with two out of five units undergoing commissioning as of last week, the spokeswoman said.
RWE npower started another large gas plant in late 2010, the four-unit Staythorpe plant with a capacity of 1,650 MW.
Source: Your ThurrockBack
Small and medium-sized businesses that are working to become more resource-efficient and reduce their waste arisings are to be supported under a new EU eco-innovation action plan (EcoAP).
Under the plan, subsidies, training and funding will be made available to companies driving products, techniques, services or processes which aim to reduce environmental impacts, or contribute to the optimal use of resources.
Examples include helping to increase the use of recycled materials, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to use resources such as water and raw material more efficiently.
The EU says that the main driving force behind the plan is to reduce pressure on the environment and bridge the gap between innovation and the market. It also sees eco-innovation as crucial to the economic competitiveness of Europe.
Commenting on the scheme, European Environment Commissioner Janez Potoċnik said: “The innovation challenge for this century will be making our resources go further - doing more with less and reducing the impact of our activities.
“Europe must be in the lead in meeting that challenge if we want to be competitive in a world of increasing resource constraints. This is a plan for green jobs and green growth.”
The plan includes targeted actions both on the demand and supply side, on research and industry and on policy and financial instruments. The potential of eco-innovation is recognised by the business community with venture capital investments growing from £0.3bn in 2004 to approx. £1.3bn in 2010.
Source: edie newsroomBack
Measures to improve air quality in the capital came into force today (January 3).
New initiatives, stemming from the Mayor’s Air Quality Strategy and controlled by Transport for London (TfL), are aimed at detering some of the oldest and most polluting vehicles from driving into London through changes to the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) and reforms to taxi licensing standards.
According to TfL leading health organisations including Asthma UK, the British Lung Foundation and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy have voiced their support for the changes.
London mayor, Boris Johnson, said: “From January we are ushering in even higher environmental standards to curb pollution and ensure fresher, healthier air for all.
“Delivering cleaner air is key to my goal of creating a better quality of life for Londoners.
The measures being introduced are:
·From 3 January 2012, larger vans and minibuses will have to meet Low Emission Zone standards for the first time, meaning only cleaner vehicles of this type that meet the Euro 3 emissions standard for particulate matter can drive within Greater London without their owners paying a £100 daily charge or risking a £500 fine.
·In addition, vehicles already affected by the Low Emission Zone - lorries, buses and coaches - will now have to meet stricter emissions standards. These vehicles will need to meet a Euro IV standard for particulate matter to drive within Greater London without their owners paying a £200 daily charge or risking a £1,000 fine;
·The introduction of London’s first ever age limit on black cabs from 1 January 2012: this will mean the oldest and most polluting vehicles will no longer be licensed, affecting any vehicle over 15 years old.
·From 1 January, a 10-year age limit for licensed private hire vehicles will also apply to licensed operators;
·The launch of a no-idling campaign in early January: drivers of all vehicles in London including coaches and buses, will be encouraged to do their bit by turning off their engines when stationary, reducing the amount of unnecessary and harmful exhaust fumes emitted.
Source: edie newsroomBack
A proposed mechanical and biological treatment (MBT) facility for Essex has moved a step closer after Essex County Council and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council selected Urbaser and Balfour Beatty as their preferred bidder for residual waste treatment.
The MBT plant will process kerbside-collected residual waste, trade waste collected by local Essex authorities, street sweepings, and all non-recyclable waste from household recycling centres across Essex and Southend.
The facility is to be built in Basildon and will treat up to 417,000 tonnes of municipal waste a year. Once completed, it will create 87 full-time jobs, as well as apprenticeship positions.
County Councillor Kevin Bentley, cabinet member for economic development & waste, said: “We are confident that the proposal from Urbaser and Balfour Beatty will enable Essex and Southend to achieve a sustainable waste management solution which is affordable and environmentally acceptable.”
Urbaser Balfour Beatty’s bid director Tom Meacock added: “Over the coming months we look forward to meeting, talking with and listening to local residents, businesses and community groups to ensure our facility is something the people of Essex will be proud of.”
Source: edie newsroomBack
21st December 2011: Article for General Release
Being able to keep a business going in the midst of extreme weather and not be damaged by the consequences of climate change is all down to good planning. Every business is different with different risks so understanding the priority actions to take is key.
Groundwork East of England in partnership with the Environment Agency are planning to run a series of interactive workshops across the East of England region for the advisors that are often closest to the business- Accountants. Ideally placed to offer business management advice, the aim is to give Accountants and financial advisors the understanding and tools to help keep small businesses safe, viable and potentially growing.
Each of the 7 workshops will take 22 delegates, who will be guided in the use of resilience tools, information, processes and templates so that they can prepare bespoke action plans to help their business clients. The delegates and their business clients will also receive post workshop support from Groundwork East of England as they make changes to their business plans.
Supported by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and in Suffolk by the Suffolk Climate Change Partnership, we hope that forward thinking financial advisors will be keen to participate and that small businesses will also nominate their own advisors to take part in the programme.
Notes to Editors:
Groundwork East of England is an environmental regeneration charity that supports communities in need, working with partners to help improve the quality of people’s lives, their prospects and potential and the places where they live, work and play. For more information: www.groundwork.org.uk/eastofengland
The Environment Agency is the leading organisation for protecting and improving the environment in England and Wales. It is responsible for making sure that air, land and water are looked after by today’s society, so that tomorrow’s generations inherit a cleaner, healthier world.
The Suffolk Climate Change Partnership is part of Creating the Greenest County, an aspiration that involves the whole county in responding to climate change and enhancing the natural and historic environment. The initiative involves a huge range of committed individuals and organisations across the county in many different ways: www.greensuffolk.org
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, founded in 1919, is the world’s leading and largest professional body of Management Accountants, with 183,000 members and students operating in 168 countries, working at the heart of business. CIMA members and students work in industry, commerce, the public sector and not for profit organisations. CIMA works closely with employers and sponsors leading-edge research, constantly updating its qualification, professional experience requirements and continuing professional development to ensure it remains the employers’ choice when recruiting financially-trained business leaders.
Professionalism and ethics are at the core of CIMA’s activities with every member and student bound by rigorous standards so that integrity, expertise and vision are brought together.
CIMA is proud to be the first professional body to offer a truly global product in the fast moving area of Islamic finance.
For more information about CIMA, please visit www.cimaglobal.com
New to voltage optimisation? Energy Management Systems (UK) managing director, Dr Alex Mardapittas, designer of the voltage optimisation system Powerstar, gives an overview of the technology.
Voltage optimisation is an innovative technology dedicated to matching power demands to the needs of electrical equipment.
It is a cost effective and highly efficient energy saving technique that is successfully being used across various applications and in numerous market sectors and is well worth considering as part of any organisation’s overall energy reduction strategy.
Voltage optimisation is an electrical energy saving technique in which a device is installed in series with the mains electricity supply to provide an optimum supply voltage for the site’s equipment.
The reason voltage optimisation can have such a significant impact on energy used is because on the whole, the National Grid supplies a higher voltage than is generally required. Although the nominal voltage in the UK is 230V, the average delivered is actually 242V.
Voltage optimisation deals with this over supply and brings incoming mains supply into line with what equipment needs to run at its most efficient, thus saving money, lowering carbon emissions, helping equipment last longer and reducing maintenance costs.
There are two common approaches to voltage reduction available on the market today: simple step-down transformers that drop the voltage only, and voltage optimisers that optimise the voltage as they reduce it.
In doing so, true optimisers tackle poor power quality issues such as harmonics and transients, therefore allowing for greater efficiency and savings.
Generally voltage optimisers will deliver between 12% to 15% savings. However, the most efficient voltage optimisation solutions can save up to 26% of total electricity consumption and related CO2 emissions, all without compromising the supply to electrical equipment.
Virtually all sites can benefit from reducing and controlling their voltage, but as conditions and loads differ from site to site, the size of the benefit will vary - savings will be determined by the type of system used, as well as site specifications.
To ensure optimum savings and performance, a comprehensive analysis of a building or site’s power conditions should be completed before installation.
As each building is different, with its own unique infrastructure and specific load requirements, a voltage optimisation strategy should be customised to ensure that savings are maximised. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.
In addition to saving energy and reducing CO2 emissions, voltage optimisation offers countless other benefits, including no maintenance, protection against voltage spikes, surges and signiﬁcant reduction of harmonics, independent three phase control to provide voltage phase balancing, and an intelligent interface to track product and site performance in real time.
The cost of a voltage optimisation system will differ depending on a site’s unique requirements.
However, the payback period after installation (despite the size of the installation) is typically between 0.8 and 2.5 years. To help companies maximise cash flow and to offer support in terms of the initial outlay, there are various financing options available today, including a 40% grant from the Low Carbon Business Programme.
Voltage optimisation is commonly recognised as a proven, cost effective and reliable way for companies to meet their energy and CO2 reduction targets.
In light of various schemes being implemented to help raise environmental awareness and encouraging changes in behaviour and infrastructure in organisations, the implementation of a voltage optimisation system enables companies to be proactive in taking steps to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.
There are various types of equipment that misleadingly touts itself as ‘voltage optimisation’ technology, so beware.
Most buildings require genuine, dynamic voltage optimisation solution supplied by an experienced and reputable company to maximise energy savings and carbon reductions.
Installing the right type of system is essential to ensure that electrical equipment never receives more or less than the required minimum voltage for correct operation - important during power dips and surges.
By opting for a true voltage optimisation solution, equipment will operate as efficiently as possible at all times, the lifetime of equipment will be maximised, and maintenance costs will be significantly reduced.
Ultimately, if your company’s power is not optimised, you are paying much more for electricity than you need to, and at the same time, emitting excessive amounts of CO2. As voltage optimisation is one of the simplest and most cost effective ways to reduce electricity use and cut carbon emissions, it should be regarded by all organisations as the cornerstone of their energy efficiency agendas.
Source: edie newsroomBack
Businesses keen to invest in more energy efficient water systems look set to receive a boost, after the environment secretary confirmed a range of hot water technologies could be included in the government’s flagship energy efficiency Green Deal scheme.
Caroline Spelman said hot water efficiency measures, such as new efficient boilers, might be included in the Green Deal financing scheme which is due to launch next autumn.
The comments came as Spelman launched the government’s delayed white paper setting out how it intends to improve water management across the UK.
“Making sure we’ve got enough water for everyone is going to be one of the major challenges this country will have to deal with in the years ahead,” she said. “We can already see the problems we may face with part of Britain still in drought even though we’re in December.”
The White Paper outlines how the government plans to drive investment in new water infrastructure and encourage water efficiency among homes and businesses through new incentives and labelling systems.
In addition to revealing that hot water efficiency measures might be available through the Green Deal, the paper also confirms government plans to develop water efficiency guidelines designed to encourage greater uptake of water butts and dual flush toilets.
It also hinted that some of these water saving measures could be promoted to businesses and homeowners applying for Green Deal financing to undertake efficiency makeovers.
The paper sets out a wide-ranging package of reforms designed to extend competition among water companies and prevent steep increases in water bills.
Spelman said businesses were increasingly considering water and energy efficiency in tandem and cited Defra research which found the UK economy could save £23bn by using resources more efficiently.
“As part of the greening of our economy an increasing number of businesses taking up new technological solutions to reduce their carbon footprint and their water footprint,” she said.
“Water as a resource and energy as a resource are two commodies that businesses generally are reviewing their use of as part of their own resource efficiency.”
The wide-ranging White Paper is a precursor to a draft Water Bill which will be presented for pre-legislative scrutiny in early 2012.
Spelman said government was keen for UK businesses to take advantage of the $300bn a year global market for water products and services.
She added that Defra will launch a £3.5m innovation competition in March 2012, seeking technologies which can recover 1,000 megaliters per day from surface water and ground water cycles.
“Part of what we need to do in order to grow our economy is support science and technology, research and development into these new green technologies because they are undoubtedly growth area and also exportable technologies,” she said.
“The UK already has a lot of international leadership in terms of green technologies and our commitment to reduce our carbon footprint and be more resource efficient. And the opportunities for businesses to invest go hand-in-hand with delivering those objectives.”
Source: Business GreenBack
UK businesses and the public sector could cut their annual energy bills by up to £700m a year by switching to energy efficient lighting technologies, according to a report from the Carbon Trust.
The company yesterday launched a new guide detailing how embracing lighting best practices, such as installing efficient LED bulbs or automated sensor-based controls, can help the average organisation reduce energy bills by a fifth.
It added that companies with significant lighting requirements such as supermarkets, retailers and large office environments could cut electricity use by between 30 per cent and 50 per cent by installing efficient lighting technologies.
Some firms are reluctant to invest in energy efficient lighting technologies on the grounds that they can cost more than traditional lighting systems.
However, the report also argues that with lighting accounting for around a fifth of all the electricity used in the UK, even zero cost measures such as encouraging staff to switch lights off when they are not in use can deliver savings equivalent to around £350m or 2.2 million tonnes of CO2 a year.
“As the Christmas lights go on and the days grow shorter, I’m urging businesses to think about the huge savings they could make by boosting the efficiency of their lighting systems,” said Richard Rugg, director of Carbon Trust Programmes.
“From simple reminders to turn the lights off, to installing the latest in lighting technology, there’s £700m and 4.4 million tonnes in CO2 emissions to be saved by UK businesses making lighting more efficient. The guide demonstrates how businesses can dramatically reduce both their carbon output and their bottom line.”
The free guide contains a wide range of recommendations designed to help companies reduce their lighting bills, including proposals to install modern lighting controls, ensure fittings are positioned to reduce the number of bulbs you need, and switch to energy efficient technologies that can deliver rapid rates of return.
The Low Carbon Business Programme can provide a 40% grant towards the cost of installing energy efficient lighting in small and medium sized business in the Thames Gateway. For further information contact the team on 01268 758423.Back
Businesses with annual turnovers of between £100,000 and £2m with ambitions for growth could win one HSBC’s new grants.
HSBC has launched its brand-new Business Growth Grant competition, to support motivated business owners and entrepreneurs across the UK looking to expand. All they need to do is demonstrate how the grant will help them boost their operation, either in the UK or by trading overseas.
A total grant pot of £200,000 is available, and up to four grants worth £50,000 each, will be awarded. Applications are being accepted until 31 December 2011.
Ambitions to expand
Up to two of the grants are essentially domestic growth grants that will be awarded to businesses that want to take their UK operations to the next level; this might be because they’ve got a fantastic business model that they want to grow organically, such as opening more outlets or increasing production. Alternatively, it could be a business with plans to take over another business that could support their supply chain, for example.
Up to two grants are for entrepreneurs with overseas ambitions. These will go to businesses that have either been successful in the UK but perhaps now have their eyes on overseas trade for the first time, or businesses that already focus on overseas trade but have aspirations to expand or enter other countries.
Who can apply?
Businesses that are eligible to enter the competition for the HSBC Business Growth Grant are those that:
- are UK-based (includes Northern Ireland and excludes the Channel Islands and Isle of Man)
- have been trading for 12 months or longer
- have a minimum turnover of £100,000 and a maximum turnover of £2m per annum
- can provide profit and loss and balance sheet information for 12 months or longer and projected financial information for a minimum of two years
Visit www.hsbc.co.uk/businessgrant - for full details and terms and conditions.
If your business is eligible, you can download an application form from the HSBC Business Growth Grant website. You’ll need to answer some straightforward questions about the financial aspects of your business, as well as queries about your business thinking and your strategies for growth. You can then submit the form online.
After the 31 December 2011 application deadline, The Judging Panel will select up to a maximum number of 5 entrants as finalists for each category.
The ten selected finalists will then be invited to visit HSBC’s headquarters in London in February 2012, where they will be asked to pitch their case to the judges and demonstrate how a grant could turn their forward thinking into business action.
The winners will be annouced by 31 March 2002
Act now to get your application in before the 31 December 2011 deadline
It’s easy to apply:
1. Download the application online from the HSBC Business Growth Grant website.
2. Fill in the application
3. Submit online
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a new Government initiative providing finance to non-domestic renewable heat generators and producers of biomethane in Great Britain.
Designed to revolutionise the way heat is generated and used, this is the first financial support scheme for renewable heat of its kind. Under the scheme’s terms, organisations may to apply for assistance and, if successful, receive payments on a quarterly basis for heat generated over 20 years.
£860 million has been made available from central Government funding to support the RHI over the period 2011-2015.
The following technologies are included in the scheme:
- Biomass boilers (Including CHP biomass boilers).
- Solar Thermal.
- Ground Source Heat Pumps.
- Water Source Heat Pumps.
- On-Site Biogas combustion.
- Deep Geothermal.
- Energy from Municipal Solid Waste.
- Injection of biomethane into the grid.
The scheme is being introduced in two phases. In the first phase, long-term tariff support is targeted within the non-domestic sectors, focusing on high energy consumers, including the industrial, business and public sectors. These energy users contribute 38% of the UK’s carbon emissions. Under this phase there is also support of approximately £15 million for households through the Renewable Heat Premium Payment.
The second phase of the RHI will see the scheme expanded to include more technologies as well as support for households. Details about the introduction of Phase 2 are expected to be announced in early 2012.
Generators of heat and producers of biomethane that are based in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) may apply to the RHI, providing they meet the eligibility criteria, at any time.
“Long-awaited” £860m subsidy scheme expected to result in 126,000 installations, 500,000 jobs and save 43 million tonnes of carbon by 2020.
Businesses can register to be paid for the renewable heat they produce from Monday 28th November under the government’s £860m Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).
Climate minister Greg Barker announced today that applications would open next week for the flagship scheme, which the government hopes will encourage 14,000 industrial installations and 112,000 in the commercial and public sector by the end of the decade.
Technologies including biomass boilers, solar thermal equipment and heat pumps installed since 15 July 2009 are eligible for respective payments of up to 7.9p per kilowatt hour (kWh), 8.5p per kWh and 4.5p per kWh on a quarterly basis for 20 years.
Moreover, the RHI is expected to cut carbon emissions by 43 million tonnes of carbon by 2020, the equivalent of 19 new gas power stations’ annual output, as well as create up to 500,000 jobs.
“The RHI will usher in a new era in clean green heat technology,” Barker said. “It’s a world first and has the potential to put the UK at the forefront of a vibrant new green technology sector.
“Renewable heat will be a big win for our economy – it will support thousands of green jobs, reduce our dependency on imported fossil fuels, reduce our carbon emissions and help us meet our renewable target.”
Despite strong support from government and industry, the introduction of the RHI was initially delayed because it fell foul of EU state aid rules. A compromise was struck last month, with Brussels giving the go-ahead on the condition that rates for large biomass installations drop from the 2.7p per kWh agreed in March to 1p per kWh.
The scheme will be open to businesses first before the domestic sector, although an interim programme providing money off renewable heat technologies for householders, the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme, is up and running and open until March 31 next year.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) expects the first payments to businesses who sign up in the scheme’s early stages to be made in the first quarter of 2012.
Gaynor Hartnell, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association (REA), a trade body that has campaigned for the scheme to be included in legislation since 2008, called the RHI’s eventual introduction “excellent and very long-awaited news”.
“It’s high time the UK started benefiting from a major roll out of some of the cheapest forms of renewable energy,” she added. “It’s not a perfect policy yet, but we look forward to working with DECC and [Ofgem] to help it bring out the best in British renewables.”
Source: Business GreenBack
Government policies to keep the lights on and emissions down will ensure household energy bills are an average seven per cent lower by 2020 than they would otherwise be, but will add 19 per cent onto those of the average business.
New analysis announced today by the Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne estimates that by the end of the decade the average household energy bills will be £94, or seven per cent, lower than they would be without Government energy and climate change policies. However, Huhne revealed that those same policies will on average add 19 per cent onto the bill of a UK business with a medium-sized energy consumption by 2020 – and 28 per cent by 2030.
Huhne unveiled the figures as he made his Annual Energy Statement to Parliament and announced the publication of a consultation on the Government flagship energy efficiency policy, the Green Deal. The release of the statistics follows increasing criticism over the Government’s energy and climate policies in the face of rising UK household and business energy bills. Some have blamed the Government’s renewable energy policies for increases in energy bills of the past few months, rather than the rising wholesale cost of gas.
Household energy bills
While households have seen their energy bills increase by up to 20 per cent this year, the impact of Government green policies on those bills have only been two per cent, according to Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) figures. But over the next decade, £200 billion of new investment is required to upgrade the UK’s ageing energy infrastructure to make it fit for a low carbon future. Meanwhile, the Government has to meet tough carbon reduction targets.
It will do this through the introduction of policies such as the Green Deal, electricity market reform, a carbon price floor, smart meters, and large and small-scale renewable generation subsidies. However, today it showed, that while the introduction of such measures would add £280 to an average household bill by 2020, the same policies would cut bills by £373 from an estimated £1379 to £1285 – a net benefit of £94.
“We cannot control global gas prices, but we can soften the blow. Prices and bills are forecast to rise, but we can ensure they rise less than they would otherwise do,” said Huhne.
Business energy bills
However, Government energy and climate policies, such as Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme, will push up business energy bills, Huhne said.
“By 2020, policies are estimated to add 19 per cent to the average energy bill of businesses that are medium-sized energy consumers.
For large energy intensive users, who are more exposed to fossil fuel price volatility, that figure is between two per cent and 20 per cent,” he told Parliament.
By 2030, the estimated impact of energy and climate change policies on business energy bills will be much greater than in their absence, rising to 28 per cent for an average energy consuming business and 11 to 34 per cent for a high energy user.
Government figures show that its low carbon policies have already increased the average energy bills of a medium-sized business user by 18 per cent by 2011. A medium-sized business user is defined by the Government as having an annual consumption of between 2,778 and 27,777 megawatt hours (MWh) of gas and between 2,000 and 19,999MWh of electricity. Larger energy intensive industrial users, defined as those covered by the Climate Change Agreements, have seen their bills increase by between three and 12 per cent.
Businesses that reuse office chairs and desks are saving over £14 million a year, as well as helping to reduce carbon emissions and increase jobs in the UK, according to new research by WRAP.
But the benefits could be much higher if more companies dispensed with buying new, more expensive items, the resource efficiency body will say when it launches its full findings tomorrow.
In the first research of its kind, WRAP will show the full benefits in terms of cost savings, carbon emissions and job creation by businesses that acquire used office furniture, rather than making new purchases. The research will also show the enormous financial savings as well as economic and environmental benefits of UK households reusing items such as sofas and TVs.
“The research findings are staggering,” WRAP ceo Liz Goodwin said. “Current levels of reuse create financial savings to households of around £1 billion and reduce CO2 equivalent emissions by one million tonnes – the same as taking 300,000 cars off the road. But in terms of potential impact, this is clearly just the tip of the iceberg.”
According to the research, around 495,000 office chairs and desks (8,500 tonnes) are reused in some form in the UK every year, but this represents just 14 per cent of each furniture item reaching the end of its life each year. The remainder end up in landfill or are recovered for energy or recycled.
The one million sofas re-used in the UK every year, save households over £320 million pounds, but WRAP points out this is just 17 per cent of the total number of sofas discarded each year. The environmental benefits of reusing one tonne of sofas are the same as recycling one tonne of plastics, according to the agency.
The research points to the economic benefits of reuse, through new jobs in organisations preparing items for a new life with a second owner. WRAP points to approximately 150 jobs created already through the reuse of desks. Its research shows reuse is commonly taking place through charity shops, online exchange and informally through friends and family, but could become a significant industry with greater quality assurance in the future.
Reuse versus recycling
It also shows that for many items studied, reuse offers greater environmental and economic benefits than recycling.
“Recycling is still crucial to ensure we maximise the value of materials, as not all items will be in a fit state for reuse, however the research demonstrates the significant benefits of reuse to the economy and environment,” Goodwin said.
The reports will be launched at WRAP’s annual conference, along with a new online tool to help businesses and households work out the benefits of reuse. Through the findings and further work, WRAP hopes to grow the reuse market in the UK by among other things, establishing greater confidence in the quality of reused products.
Commenting on the research, Matthew Thomson of the London Community Resource Network (LCRN), which links grassroots community organisations with businesses, local authorities and customers to increase the amount re-used in London, said: “Hundreds of community organisations across the country have for many years been quietly salvaging, restoring and redistributing discarded furniture and equipment to provide vital help to families and other people in need, creating employment and training thousands of volunteers in the process.”
Source: Business Green
The government has confirmed it is planning to slash solar incentives by more than 50 per cent, cutting the feed-in tariffs available to domestic and small-scale business installations, from 43p per kWh to just 21p per kWh.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has launched a consultation on the proposed changes, confirming it wants the reduced tariffs to come into force as early as 12 December.
Under the proposals the new tariffs would apply to all new solar PV installations with an eligibility date on or after 12 December 2011.
Such installations would then receive the current tariff before moving to the lower tariffs on 1 April 2012, assuming the government does not make further changes following the closure of the consultation on 23 December.
The timeline prompted criticism from the solar industry, with founder of Solarcentury Jeremy Leggett stating on Twitter: “So you ‘consult’ until 23 Dec but cut off tariff from 12th? I guess you have a good lawyer?”
The proposed changes are largely in line with those that appeared in a document inadvertently published by the Energy Saving Trust before the announcement.
If brought into effect they would cut rates of return for solar installations from current levels that have, in some cases, topped 10 per cent to just 4.5 per cent to five per cent.
Significantly, the returns would be below the five to eight per cent originally envisaged by the feed-in tariff scheme.
The consultation also proposes cuts of between 14 per cent and 55.5 per cent for larger installations with between 4kW and 250kW of capacity.
The largest cuts of more than 55 per cent are reserved for installations with 4-10kW of capacity, while larger installations with 150-250kW capacity that are typically favoured by businesses and community projects will see tariffs fall from 15p/kWh to 12.9p/kWh.
Industry experts have warned the deep cuts would lead to a severe contraction in demand, and an end to free solar financing schemes and social housing projects.
Leading solar firms are predicting significant job losses if the proposed changes come into effect and are promising to mount a high-profile campaign against the scale of the cuts and the rapid pace at which they are expected to come into effect. There are also rumours that some solar firms could pursue legal action against the government over the rapid timeline for the consultation and the manner in which the proposed cuts could come into effect before the consultation exercise is officially completed in late December.
However, climate minister Greg Barker insisted the deep cuts were essential to ensure the feed-in tariff scheme remains within its spending cap and provides more “sustainable” foundations for the UK’s solar industry.
“My priority is to put the solar industry on a firm footing so it can remain a successful and prosperous part of the green economy, and so it doesn’t fall victim to boom and bust,” he said in a statement.
“The plummeting costs of solar mean we’ve got no option but to act so we stay within budget and not threaten the whole viability of the FITs scheme.
“Although I fully realise that adjusting to the new lower tariffs will be a big challenge for many firms, it won’t come as a surprise to many in the solar industry that have themselves acknowledged the big fall in costs and the big increase in their rate of return over the past year.”
DECC said that based on the current rate of adoption of solar panels, the feed-in tariff scheme would breach its Treasury-imposed £863m spending cap and solar PV would cost consumers £980m a year, adding around £26 at 2010 prices to annual domestic electricity bills in 2020.
It added that under the new proposals, feed-in tariff PV costs will be limited to between £250m and £280m in 2014-15, reducing the impact of PV installations to an estimated £3 a year on energy bills by 2020.
The consultation also proposed a new energy efficiency requirement that would mean any household or business applying for feed-in tariff incentives from April next year would have to meet minimum energy efficiency standards.
The consultation suggests these standards could include ensuring the building has an Energy Performance Certificate level of C or above, or requiring people to take up Green Deal measures before they can install solar panels.
DECC said that as a transitional arrangement installations with eligibility dates between 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2013 would have 12 months from entering the feed-in tariff scheme to comply with the energy efficiency requirement.
Industry insiders have warned that unless any new standards are well structured they could act as a further barrier to solar adoption.
In addition, it proposes new multi-installation tariff rates for aggregated solar PV schemes, presumably aimed at free solar and social housing projects, where a single individual or organisation owns or receives feed-in tariff payments from more than one PV installation located on different sites.
Under the proposals the new tariff rates would come into effect from 1 April 2012 and would provide tariffs of 80 per cent of the standard tariff rate for all aggregated PV schemes.
The change would represent a further blow to free solar financing schemes and social housing projects, which are already likely to be halted if rates of return fall below five per cent – a level at which industry insiders believe it will be impossible to attract private finance.
However, the government said that as part of the review it would “consider whether more could be done to enable genuine community projects to be able to fully benefit from FITs and whether, for example, a definition of community scheme is required and, if so, how this should be defined”.
Green groups accused the government of dealing a crippling blow to a fast-expanding green industry.
“This is a real setback for jobs in Britain today, with the government announcement that they are slashing funding for solar panels,” said Louise Hutchins from Greenpeace. “The renewable sector is one of this century’s critical growth industries, with the solar industry creating more than 20, 000 jobs in the last year alone. There’s a real inconsistency with the government’s approach to job creation – on the day that deputy PM Nick Clegg announced funding for 35,000 new jobs the Treasury pulls the rug out from under this vibrant industry.”
Her comments were echoed by Friends of the Earth’s energy campaigner, Donna Hume, who warned the changes could put tens of thousands of people out of work.
“Greg Barker says he wants to make subsidies fairer, but the new rates mean that unless you have significant savings, you’re unlikely to be able to afford solar panels,” she said.
“The government should be encouraging more people – not fewer – to save money by making their own electricity, freeing us from the stranglehold of the Big Six energy firms that are pushing up our bills.”
Source: Business GreenBack
The Carbon Trust will launch a new service today aimed at helping companies make the business case for energy efficiency by providing advice on the measures to implement and the technologies that deliver the best returns.
The Carbon Trust Implementation (CTI) business ties in with the £550m energy efficiency financing scheme the organisation announced with Siemens earlier this year.
A survey by the Carbon Trust of 500 small and medium businesses released today also highlights that, while 76 per cent are more concerned about energy prices rising now than six months ago, 35 per cent do not have a plan to manage the expected increases.
Myles McCarthy, newly installed managing director of CTI, said that companies often struggle to push energy efficiency up the corporate agenda, partly because executives demand payback periods for energy efficiency investments that are often far shorter than they require from other business investments.
McCarthy said that the new business, which has received backing from climate change minister Greg Barker, aims to mobilise energy efficiency savings, which in turn could finance investment in new equipment.
The company plans to choose the three most relevant suppliers from a pool of accredited installers, and organise a competitive tender process for those companies planning energy efficiency projects.
Should the client decide to opt for one of the shortlisted suppliers, the supplier will then pay CTI commission.
Companies can also make use of the financial services offered by the Carbon Trust’s tie-in with Siemens, although McCarthy stressed that the loans are a separate service to the consultancy provided by CTI.
The business already has its first client in Peach Pubs, where it helped install energy efficient cookers, and is in discussions with several other clients.
“We’re pleased with the rate of growth of our early pipeline and the interest from a range of businesses. We’re talking to trade associations ... and franchises and large companies wanting to address their supply chain emissions,” McCarthy said.
“We’ll build the pool [of suppliers] up over time and use our knowledge of that pool to select the best companies for clients.”
The business has targeted the lighting and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning sectors, and has around 50 companies currently going through its accreditation process. It is also now widening its scope and calling for companies to come forward to be accredited.
CTI aims to deliver £100m of energy efficiency savings a year over its first five years, but estimates that the market for energy efficient equipment could be far larger.
“We know many more companies are concerned about rising energy costs and want to act, but they need help,” said Carbon Trust chief executive Tom Delay.
“The new business will help unlock £8bn of investment into energy efficient equipment. We are confident that our new business will catalyse organisations to take action and in turn benefit from implementing cost effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and help the UK capitalise on green growth.”
Source: Business GreenBack
New data released by E.ON this week suggests nearly four million of the UK’s 4.8 million small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are potentially missing out on savings of up £2,000 per year each by not implementing energy efficiency measures, such as lighting timers and turning heating down by one degree.
The results of a survey of around 1000 UK SMEs last month, found 86 per cent did not have lighting timers or motion sensors in their workplace. A further 13 per cent admitted leaving the windows open when the air conditioning or heating was on.
Lack of awareness
The least energy savvy SMEs were found to be in the financial services sector, where 97 per cent claimed to be unaware of the savings that could be achieved through energy efficiency measures.
“Worryingly, four out of five small businesses are not aware of the significant financial savings that can be made by becoming more energy efficient in the workplace,” Iain Walker, head of Business Sales at E.ON, said. “Introducing small changes in your business behaviour, like installing energy saving equipment and light sensors, can have a significant financial impact on your energy bills.”
Carbon Trust guidance
Last week, the Carbon Trust issued new guidance for companies that showed that turning down the heating by one degree could save UK workplaces £35 million a year alone.
E.ON is among the Big Six energy firms trying to win back the trust of domestic and business customers following energy price hikes this year. Last week, they agreed to a package of measures with the Government to help cut the fuel bills of UK households this winter.
Business and public sector organisations could save millions of pounds by turning the heating down one degree, according to new guidance by the Carbon Trust.
A one degree change could save business and the public sector more than £35m a year in energy bills and help organisations save up to 30% on winter heating bills.
The research claims the service sector has heating costs accounting for more than 75% of its fuel bills.
But, simple measures such as resetting timers and replacing old controls could save 15% on annual heating costs.
The guide tells business to take simple steps like avoiding overheating and remembering when the clocks changes could be worth thousands of pounds in savings.
Carbon Trust Programmes director, Richard Rugg, said: “Many companies are in for an energy cost shock in the coming weeks as the temperature drops and heating bills rise.”
The main tips from the guides are:
·Clock on - don’t forget to reset your controls when the clocks go back later this month
·Get control - buildings with well-controlled heating systems typically have a 15-30% lower heating fuel usage
·Don’t overheat - heating costs rise by about 8% for each 1ºC of overheating. Buildings have different optimum temperatures depending on their use - use the checklist in the guide
·Maintain regularly - energy consumption of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems can increase by up to 30% if regular maintenance is not undertaken
·Think big picture - energy is wasted when heating and air conditioning work against each other so remember to look at these in the round
·Train staff - employees should receive guidance on recommended operating temperatures and how to set heating or cooling units correctly - remember there’s a common misconception that turning thermostats up as high as they go heats a room more quickly
·To date the Carbon Trust has helped its customers save 38m tonnes of carbon equivalent to direct cost savings of £3.7bn.
More information can be found on the Carbon Trust website
Source: edie newsroomBack
Small and medium-sized businesses will be able to take advantage of a new recycling charter launched today (October 19) which should provide them with better access to low-cost waste services.
The Business Waste and Recycling Services Commitment will match up smaller businesses that need recycling services together with local authorities offering services as well as agencies offering best practice waste reduction advice.
Under the charter, local authorities will pledge to provide regular collections for businesses which require them. Councils will also be able to offer advice on saving money by preventing waste and provide help in donating unwanted items and buying second-hand goods. In some cases, they will also allow businesses access to household waste recycling centres.
The Commitment - which has been jointly developed by Defra, WRAP and the Local Government Association (LGA) - seeks to formalise the way councils work with local businesses.
It emphasises 12 principles of best practice that councils can use to tailor services to local businesses, such as the need to make recycling easy, provide value for money and continually improve services through feedback.
In announcing the charter, Defra’s new Recycling Minister Lord Taylor said: “This deal will bring much needed relief for smaller businesses that want to do the right thing, but are struggling to get a decent recycling service.
“For the first time we’ve got solid agreement between councils and businesses to make it easier and more cost-effective for smaller firms to recycle more and improve their resource efficiency.”
The charter has been welcomed by the Federation of Small Businesses. Its environment committee chair, David Caro, said: “Our research has shown that 95% of businesses would recycle more if they had better access to recycling facilities and we are pleased that Defra has launched this commitment ... now we call on all local authorities to sign up to the commitment.”
Recent research by Defra shows that UK businesses have the potential to save up to £18bn a year by taking steps to reduce waste. SMEs produce around 30m tonnes of waste a year with recycling rates already exceeding 50%, but over half of councils still don’t offer a trade waste recycling service.
The voluntary commitment is part of a package of measures outlined in the Waste Review earlier this year, and builds on a responsibility deal with the Environmental Services Association to help businesses prevent waste and recycle more.
Source: edie newsroomBack
The government’s planned Green Deal energy efficiency scheme took a major step forward yesterday after the Energy Act enabling the ambitious financing initiative passed into law.
The Energy Act was yesterday granted Royal Assent, paving the way for its flagship Green Deal policy to be launched next Autumn.
The passing of the law will enable approved Green Deal providers to offer upfront finance to businesses, private landlords, and householders to cover the cost of energy efficiency improvements, such as loft, cavity, and external wall insulation.
The investments will then be repaid over 25 years through a surcharge on energy bills, which under the scheme’s so-called “golden rule” cannot exceed the efficiency savings participants realise.
Significantly, the loans are attached to the property rather than the individual taking part in the Green Deal, meaning that if someone moves they no longer have to pay for the improvements and the surcharge is passed on to the people who move into the property.
Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said the scheme would offer a huge boost for green businesses.
“As well as helping people save money through home energy improvement, the Green Deal will be a massive business opportunity,” he said.
“It’s expected to attract capital investment of up to £15bn in the residential sector alone by the end of this decade and at its peak, the Green Deal could support around 250,000 jobs.”
DECC also today published a Housing Energy Fact File, revealing that energy used in housing is more than a quarter of Britain’s total energy consumption – almost 50 per cent more than energy consumed by businesses, and about the same as road transport.
It added that despite the high energy consumption in the domestic sector, more than half of the homes in Great Britain are not sufficiently insulated.
Commenting on the study, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said the Green Deal would make it simpler for people to install energy efficiency measures.
“When it’s introduced, the Green Deal will be as easy as ABC by making work affordable, providing bespoke independent advice and choice in the market from well-known and trusted high street names,” he said.
However, the news is likely to further fuel concerns among green groups over the tight timescales now in place to launch the Green Deal, and the extent to which households and businesses will sign up to the scheme.
The National Insulation Association welcomed the news, but warned that a great deal of work now needs to be completed before next Autumn, including selecting an assessment organisation, and ensuring enough people are qualified and accredited to install measures.
Speaking to BusinessGreen, NIA chief executive Neil Marshall said industry and government must now draw up a roadmap to ensure the sector can successfully ramp up and adapt.
Opposition MPs have also warned that the scheme will require over 50 pieces of secondary legislation, meaning that it will have to meet an extremely tight deadline if it is to launch next autumn as planned.
Questions also remain about whether the scheme is attractive enough to convince people to go through the hassle of retrofitting their properties.
WWF Campaign Manager Darren Shirley tweeted: “Energy Bill Royal Assent today. Now the hard work starts on the #GreenDeal. Govt has a long way to go to make it attractive & affordable.”
Critics have consistently maintained that with Green Deal financing deals expected to be provided at commercial rates of interest it will be difficult to convince people to sign up to the scheme.
The government has repeatedly declared that it is working on a number of proposals designed to ensure the scheme operates with competitive rates of interest and incorporates incentives that encourage people to sign up, but as yet few details have been released.
Source: Business GreenBack
Biffa claims to have developed a cost-effective online trade waste recycling service for SMEs, in a bid to make its collection services more accessible to smaller waste producers.
The new website allows companies to undertake a postcode search for waste collection services in their area, before receiving a quote specific to their requirements. They can also book and pay online in advance for the service.
Biffa is offering a variety of waste and recycling services such as bespoke glass collections and dry mixed recycling (DMR) including cardboard, paper, newspapers, plastic films and bottles, steel and aluminium cans, and general waste.
The company’s divisional recycling director, Michael Topham, said: “This new website is all about opening up collection services to businesses that are appropriate for their needs.
“A lot of small businesses find it difficult to access suitable waste and recycling services as many local authorities don’t offer a business collection service so it’s even more important that businesses can access services elsewhere at a competitive price.”
Biffa’s new service comes in the wake of the launch of the Government’s Waste Review Responsibility Deal, which has been drawn up to make it easier for SMEs to access affordable trade waste and recycling services.
For further information visit Biffa’s website here.
Source: edie newsroomBack
Electrical retailers and distributors can save hundreds of pounds a year by taking advantage of a new free WEEE collection scheme, set up by kitchen appliance manufacturer Amica.
Amica is offering electrical retailers and distributors a free collection and disposal service for electrical products, and will also collect any associated packaging for recycling.
Under the arrangement, retailers will no longer be required to be members of The Distributors Take Back Service or pay fees to the organisation, which can represent a saving of around £500 a year.
Amica has joined forces with The Wastepack Group, based in Harlow, and Electrolink to set up the scheme, in which all WEEE as well as plastic, polystyrene and card packaging can be collected at the same time. Every item is then dealt with individually and in strict accordance with regulations under Wastepack’s compliance scheme.
Amica’s country manager Simon Freear said: “This scheme saves our retailers paying additional fees and also removes the hassle and time associated with compliance paperwork. Amica retailers may then choose to offer a complimentary collection and disposal service to their own customers.
“Enterprising early adopters of the scheme are also offering a collection point service for any old electrical products and all packaging for the consumer right in their own high street. This increases shop foot fall and saves unnecessary trips to local refuse centres.”
Retailers registering for the new scheme will receive all documentation to show effective and proper WEEE handling along with a range of point of sale material to promote the recycling service in store.
To find out more about the Amica Wastepack Scheme go here
Source: edie newsroomBack
The business case for installing renewable energy technologies is now stronger than ever, according to new research that revealed average returns of 11 to 12 per cent on investments made in onsite renewable energy systems.
The new paper from Carbon Trust Advisory argues that with energy bills expected to rise 37 per cent by 2020 the financial case for investing in renewable energy technologies such as solar panels or small scale wind turbines is getting steadily stronger.
It adds that when spiralling bills are coupled financial incentives, such as feed-in tariffs and the renewable heat incentive (RHI), there is “a strong case and increasing requirement for businesses to produce their own renewable energy”.
Both feed-in tariffs and the RHI offer fixed payments for generators of renewable energy or heat, without which returns would be around the six per cent mark, the paper says.
But with these incentives, businesses investing in anerobic digestion, hydro power and biomass heat projects can expect returns of over 15 per cent. Meanwhile, wind turbines that qualify for the feed-in tariff scheme can generate returns of around 13 per cent.
According to the report, only large solar installations offer low rates of return with recent cuts to incentives meaning that many solar arrays will now produce returns of under five per cent. However, smaller installations with under 50kW of capacity can srtill deliver attractive returns of around 10 per cent.
The report recommends that businesses should be careful to assess the full range of renewable energy options in order to select the technology best suited to their site.
It advises firms to consider whether to purchase renewable energy through green tariffs or generate energy onsite, ensure it has the skills to support on-site projects, and assess how a project will be impacted by planning and safety considerations.
Hugh Jones, managing director of Carbon Trust Advisory, said businesses should take a staged approach to renewable technology adoption.
“This report should help convince more UK businesses to move to renewable energy. However, selecting the right strategy for renewable energy can be a complex area,” he said. “We recommend… trialling different measures, testing their viability and doing this sooner rather than later before energy price increases and regulatory pressure become more pressing.”
Sources: Business Green & Carbon Trust
A number of blue chip names in banking, building and energy have signed a deal to create a unique not-for-profit financial company which will deliver billions of pounds of energy efficiency investment to business and residential premises.
The aim of the companies, which include power companies British Gas and E.ON, retailer B&Q and the banks HSBC and Goldman Sachs, is to ensure low-cost finance is available to the 14 million busineses and homes the Government hopes will be refitted by 2020 under its Green Deal starting in October 2012.
The Green Deal will enable businesses and homeowners to access loans for loft lagging, cavity wall insulation and other efficiency measures. It is a rule of the scheme that the savings on energy bills must be at least as big as the loan repayments.
Companies and banks had feared that if the loans were priced at personal loan rates, only basic efficiency measures could be funded without breaking the rule, limiting effectiveness of the scheme in cutting carbon emissions.
“The new company would put together as many loans as possible and very quickly give access to the capital markets,” said Paul Davies, a senior partner at consultants PwC who is co-ordinating the founding of the Green Deal Finance Company.
While the 16-strong consortium includes rival firms, Davies said they had an interest in founding the green deal market. “They will collaborate first, then compete.” He believed the move by such big companies to found a not-for-profit venture to build a new market is unique in Britain. Davies expected that the finance consortium would run a loan book of billions of pounds a year, rising over the next decade to £10 billion a year. The Green Deal is a flagship policy for the Government in its drive to cut the nation’s carbon emissions and to reduce fuel poverty. A quarter of the UK’s emissions come from heating and powering homes – many of them ageing and leaky – with a similar amount coming from industry and businesses.
Davies said the GDFC would allow the green deal loan rate to drop by three or four percentage points, perhaps from nine per cent to six per cent. Each percentage point drop means a seven per cent increase in the energy efficiency refurbishments possible. Davies said he expected the Green Deal loan book to have a credit rating of at least AA. Another advantage of the consortium approach was that the loans would not appear on the companies’ balance sheets.
The GDFC would be open to any company or local authority. Tesco and Marks & Spencer had been touted as companies with strong consumer brands that could help open up the Green Deal to homeowners, but they are not in the initial founding group. “They would be first on the list,” said Davies.
The consortium members are: British Gas, Carillion, Clifford Chance, E.ON, EDF Energy, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Insta Group, Kingfisher, Linklaters, Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets, Mark Group, npower, PwC, RBC Capital Markets and SSE.
The UK green sector grew by 4.7 per cent in 2010-11, latest figures show.
Sales of environmental and low carbon goods and services reached £122.2 billion, up 4.7 per cent on 2009-10, according to data compiled by analyst KMatrix and published in a new report, ‘Sustainable Business 2011’, yesterday. Underlying growth was slower, due to inflation, but annual sales are still expected to accelerate over the next five years, according to KMatrix.
Renewable energy and low carbon goods and services saw the fastest growth, at just over one per cent and around two and half per cent respectively. Environmental activities, the smallest of the three sectors, accounted for the rest of the growth.
Growth in these sectors is being driven by the UK’s transition to a green economy, the report published by ENDS and Forum for the Future, which assesses UK businesses’ sustainability performance, said.
The report tracked UK business progress across 16 indicators covering environmental, social and economic sustainability, and found opportunities for low carbon and environmental goods and services are emerging across many existing economic sectors including waste, transport, construction and energy. These include the Green Deal, a major Government policy to insulate Britain’s homes kick-starting next year, and a £200 billion investment to transform the UK’s ageing electricity infrastructure into a low carbon energy supply system by 2020.
“Low carbon and environmental goods and services are providing opportunities for thousands of firms and helping Britain go green,” the report said.
Despite this bright spot, the research found UK firms have slipped back in a number of areas crucial in the fight against climate change, including industrial carbon emissions, energy efficiency, decarbonising electricity generation, and greenhouse gas emissions from freight transport. It concluded UK firms were a long way off meeting Government targets for an 80 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Green energy company Freetricity has unveiled a £500m fund to install solar panels on the roofs of commercial buildings across England & Wales for FREE.
The Power of Green
The installations are fully maintained throughout the 25 year period of the scheme for free. All generated electricity is available free of charge to the property owner as part of the programme. Larger installations can contribute up to 17 tonnes of carbon emission reduction per annum as well as saving up to £6000 in avoided electricity costs.
Install Now for Long Term Gain
Freetricity’s scheme enables commercial property owners to achieve long term savings against the rising cost of utilities. Freetricity’s return on this investment is funded through the government’s Feed-in Tariff Scheme (FiT), whilst the property owner or user benefits from the green energy generated without any capital expenditure to have the system installed.
How do You Sign Up?
Some buildings will not qualify for the grant, due to size, orientation and roof material content, but all of this is advised on the Freetricity website where you can apply for a survey of your property.
If you are serious about renewable energy and looking for long term savings on your electricity expenditure then apply now at www.freetricityenergy.com and quote ‘J4BC’.
The first annual report for the Low Carbon Business Programme is now available for viewing and/or downloading.
The Low Carbon Business Programme (original working title, “Thames Gateway South Essex – Leading A Low Carbon Economy”) formally came into being on 2nd September 2009 when Thurrock Council was awarded a grant from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) on behalf of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for £2.5 million towards the cost of delivering the £6.3m TGSE-wide ‘Low Carbon Business programme’. The remaining £3.8 million will be provided from matched funding contributions from partners (£1.7 million) and a further sum of £2 million will be sought from private business to support a capital grants programme for carbon reduction improvements.
The Low Carbon Business programme has been designed to address the specific challenges and issues faced by the TGSE sub-region and also to contribute to the wider European, regional, subregional and local strategic agenda. The TGSE geographic area emits some of highest volumes of carbon dioxide in the east of England and there is currently no single entity across the South Essex region that is able to provide the co-ordination, advice and bespoke support that is required to achieve significant reductions in these damaging emissions…
To read the full report, please click hereBack
The Government plans to draw up a series of voluntary responsibility deals to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to recycle more of their waste.
The responsibility deals will involve a cross-sector approach across the waste industry to improve the experience and access of SMEs to cost-effective recycling services.
The Government is also working with councils on a business waste and recycling collection commitment, due to be published this summer, to encourage them to collect more trade waste from local businesses.
One key barrier to local authorities collecting commercial waste has been the landfill allowances trading scheme (LATS), but this will now be scrapped by the end of 2013.
Councils will also be encouraged to consider whether their household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) and bring bank facilities can be adapted to accept business waste at affordable cost to SMEs.
Under the Government’s Waste Review announced today (14 June), ministers want companies to focus more on waste prevention and resource efficiency by exploring new business models and taking greater responsibility for the products they place on the market, from design to disposal.
The responsibility deals initially will focus on the hospitality sector which generates a lot of food and packaging waste, along with other sectors including paper, direct mail, textiles and construction.
Source: edie newsroomBack
Large numbers of Small and Medium Enterprises based in the Thurrock area attended High House Production Park in Purfleet on the 9th of March to find out how the Low Carbon Business Programme could help them to reduce their operating costs by improving their resource efficiency.
Members of the grants panel responsible for approving applications to the Low Carbon Business Programme were on hand to offer advice and talk through ideas or concerns. Suppliers of low carbon goods and services, and business support organisations were also available to offer advice and expertise.
The aim of the Low Carbon Business Programme is to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to reduce their carbon footprint and therefore increase their competitiveness. A co-ordinated programme of support will be provided at an individual business level, including expert advice on ‘greening’ businesses such as how to use products and services more efficiently, identifying tailored carbon reduction solutions and providing small capital grants for investment in carbon reduction processes and equipment
The Low Carbon Business Programme is running events across South Essex. View our events pages for further information about upcoming events.Back
If you want to hear more about the Low Carbon Business programme, this is a recent interview of the Programme Manager by Bradlee Nelson of KeyWorkersDirect (http://www.keyworkersdirect.co.uk)Back
EnviroCluster is offering our members the chance to win £1000 worth of overseas market research and support from the British Embassy in the country of your choice.
UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) have teamed up with UK CEED and the EnviroCluster to bring you this great opportunity to get support for your export ambitions. UKTI’s Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) is a flexible business tool which uses the expertise of our global trade teams to benefit your business
How Can OMIS Help Me?
UKTI’s Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) benefits your business by providing you with the services of our trade teams, located in our embassies, high commissions and consulates across the world.
Our overseas staff are at the heart of the service because of their local language skills, market knowledge and extensive political and commercial contacts.
Whether you’re a first timer or a very experienced exporter, a broad range of elements can be combined to suit your individual needs. OMIS can provide help at any stage – from initial research, to arranging a market visit, to using our contacts and impressive facilities to help close a major deal.
A service package could include:
▪ Market, sector advice
▪ Analysis of market entry strategies
▪ Support during overseas visits
▪ Identification of possible business partners
▪ Setting up of a visit programme
How Do I Win This?
Simply tell us in 100 words, or less, how this help and support would enable your business to expand into new markets. The three entries judged to demonstrate the most potential benefit will each receive £1000 worth of OMIS. Submit your entry completing the form at the bottom of this page. Your company will need to be based in the East of England (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk) to be eligible for this OMIS.
Click here to enter the competition and to view the terms and conditions.
The deadline for entries is 4th March 2011.Back
Fast-tracking patent applications for green inventions has delivered real benefits to green businesses, Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Wilcox said today.
The Intellectual Property Office’s Green Channel service offers accelerated processing for patent applications where the invention has an environmental benefit.
Since it was launched in May last year, 329 patent applications have been, or are being, fast-tracked. On average, a patent is granted through the Green Channel in eight months compared with a 32 month average for standard applications.
British businesses have been the main beneficiaries with 86 per cent of requests for fast-tracking coming from UK firms.
Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Wilcox said:
“The demand for low carbon products is growing across the world. Putting the UK at the forefront of the green technology industry will deliver enormous benefits to this country.
“It will provide the UK with economic growth and new jobs as well as improving our environment.
“Fast-tracking green patents provides businesses with practical help in developing green technology and bringing it to the consumer as quickly as possible.”
The Green Channel service has attracted interest from other countries with the US, Australia and South Korea all introducing similar schemes.
One third of the applications received so far relate to energy saving. Green Channel applications have also been made for technologies ranging from harnessing natural sources of power, such as wind wave and solar energy, to recycling and transport.
Requests for fast-tracking can be refused if the invention does not have an environmental benefit but so far only two per cent of requests have been turned down.
Source: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (National)Back
The Government hopes 2011 could be the year of the electric car as it today (December 14) announces the first nine electric cars to qualify for its 25% grant.
In January next year car buyers who opt for an electric vehicle - which meets the Government’s guidelines - will get about 25% off the price up to £5,000.
Firstly, three vehicles will be available under the scheme Mitsubishi’s iMiEV, Mercedes-Benz’s smart fortwo ED and Peugeot’s iON.
Another six cars, including Toyota’s new Prius Plug-in, will also qualify for the discount when their new models are released throughout 2011.
Prius Plug-in is equipped with a lithium-ion battery so the car can run on electric power alone for up to 12.5 miles and at speeds up to 62mph with zero fuel consumption and no tailpipe emissions.
Toyota managing director, Jon Williams, said: “I welcome today’s announcement which demonstrates that Toyota’s advanced, user friendly plug-in technology is recognised as having significant potential to make a valuable contribution to the UK’s low carbon transport strategy.
“Toyota is committed to developing sustainable low emissions mobility and Prius Plug-in marks an important step in our environmental leadership, delivering exceptional emissions and fuel performance in urban driving.
“This consumer incentive scheme will further strengthen the case for Prius Plug-in among private and fleet owners, following the model’s market introduction in 2012.”
The other five cars that will come into the scheme are Citroen’s CZero, Nissan’s Leaf, Tata’s Vista EV, Vauxhall’s Ampera and Chevrolet’s Volt.
Five new areas, Greater Manchester, east of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, will share £20 million to install electric vehicle charging points.
However, despite saying the need for electric cars was there as we ‘can’t go back to riding on horses’ Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson interviewed on the BBC this morning, said: “Unfortunately they just don’t work.”
Source: edie newsroomBack
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has released data at the Climate Change Conference confirming that 2010 was one of the hottest years globally on record.
Record temperatures were recorded in 17 countries including Russia, China, Pakistan and North Africa.
This year will be in the top three of the warmest years since 1850. Whether it is the hottest on record will be revealed when data for November and December is available early next year.
The WMO underlined the message that the rise in temperatures was man-made and highlighted extreme weather around the globe: the Pakistan floods and drought in the Amazon.
WMO director general, Michel Jarraud said: “These are the facts. If nothing is done the curve will go up and up and up.
“If we continue this trend the heatwave in Europe in 2003 will not be exceptional. It will be on the cool side. This is what will happen.”
In the UK, the effect of La Nina is expected to make 2011 cooler than this year, but still above average. The warmest 10 years in the UK have all been since 1996.
Source: edie newsroomBack
The Big Society Bank will open next spring with at least £60m to dish out, minister for civil society Nick Hurd said yesterday.
“Don’t expect less than £60m when it starts,” Hurd said in a panel session at the Good Deals conference. “It will be given some direction to invest in youth projects but in general it will respond to the marketplace.”
Last week Hurd confirmed that the government expected the total amount available to the Bank from dormant bank accounts in England would be in the region of £300m to £400m.
But yesterday he issued a plea to social business leaders and entrepreneurs to make sure the Bank will have something to invest in when it opens for business.
“Please let’s work together so when the Bank finally comes online it will hit the ground running with ideas,” he said.
On social investment in general, Hurd said the huge prize would be to prove it was an asset class, even if it was at the margins of funds under management.
Sir Ronald Cohen, chairman of the social investment taskforce and the Commission on Unclaimed Assets, told Hurd that the Bank should not be constrained by a wholesaler definition: “We have to be careful in defining it as a wholesale bank and give it the ability to fill gaps in the market. Also we need to back social entrepreneurs who have an idea that may seem unconventional.”
Cohen also said that government needed to create incentives for social investment and said there could be a tenfold increase in social investment by foundations if the Charity Commission issued progressive guidelines.
Nick O’Donohoe, global head of research at JP Morgan, added that social investment was an emerging asset class, valuable from a reputational point of view and long-term return.
“The realisation of social investment continuum will be one of the biggest trends over the next ten years,” he said.
He said, however, that the social investment market was being slowed down by a lack of indices and metrics but to create these would take time, and patience was needed.
“Of 1,100 organisation surveyed by JP Morgan on social metrics, only 2 per cent did it themselves”, he said.Back
Local Authorities face huge liabilities from landfills
The recent findings from the Local Government Association (LGA) that Britain will run out of landfill space in less than eight years should be of grave concern to local authority finance directors as much as the recycling lobby.
By Edward Dent, Managing Director, Blackfield Land.
While the study raises many questions about the strategic direction of UK waste policy, it should also be asking what local authorities and other site owners will do with these sites once they are full. While open, landfill sites can operate as a profitable business. However, once full, they become a significant financial and environmental liability.
Under current rules, any owner looking to close a landfill site has to make financial provision in order to guarantee the monitoring, maintenance and security of the site for a minimum of 60 years into the future and this must be shown on their balance-sheet as a contingent liability.
Cornwall Council, for example, is spending in the region of £1million per year on the maintenance of just one landfill site - and has eleven more in total under its control.
Multiplied over several decades, this is a considerable financial burden for any organisation, particularly cash-strapped local authorities looking to make savings throughout their portfolio. The problem is compounded by the fact that there is no guarantee that this liability will be lifted after 60 years. Some estimates suggest contingency payments will continue for over 100 years.
Costs of course will be even higher if any incidents - floods, explosions, escape of leachate into groundwater and soil - occur which pollute neighbouring areas and leave the owner with compensation and clean up costs in addition to their ongoing liabilities.
For example, Northamptonshire County Council recently agreed to pay out £6 million compensation after it was found that leachate from one of its old landfills had contaminated a neighbouring area of land. And Northamptonshire is not alone. Most local authorities face similar problems and the older the landfill site, the worse the potential hazard as many modern safety design features will not have been included. For many, it is only a matter of time before a similar incident occurs.
Site owners, especially local authorities, need to start planning now to minimise future costs. They should start thinking of these sites as “Blackfield Land” with the potential for development. The sites are, for the most part, large spaces with good road and communications links on the outskirts of urban areas. In other words ripe for other usage.
We have been working with a number of local authorities which have been struggling to assess their options. Many have considered measures such as creating public amenities, for example golf courses or wildlife and dog walking areas.
However, this is not a cheap option. It costs a great deal to close, remediate and restore landfill sites, and public amenities generate almost nothing in terms of return to the tax-payer.
Another option is to see the sites as resource beds, full of useful materials for recycling and other markets. Authorities could partner with energy-from-waste operators to retrospectively recycle resources, generate energy and income and then start a clean-up operation ahead of development for industrial, business or even housing usage.
They could even incorporate all aspects in a transition plan which starts with intermediate uses which don’t require major engineering works but can generate an income, followed by longer term measures to remediate and reclaim the site in full.
No local authority can afford to ignore the liabilities or the potential opportunities these Blackfield Land sites represent. Even mitigating some of the burden is better than paying the full cost.
However, unless plans are made now, the liabilities will be paid for decades to come. Yesterday’s waste will mount up to become tomorrow’s debts. Its time we paid them off.
This article first appeared in Edie Legal Briefs September 2010Back
The Environment Agency in England and Wales will start using new enforcement powers, called civil sanctions, from 4 January 2011.
They give the environmental regulators a wider range of options to use against a business committing certain environmental offences as alternatives to prosecution and criminal penalties of fines and imprisonment.
They allow the Environment Agency to take action that is proportionate to the offence and the offender, and reflect the fact that most offences committed by businesses are unintentional.
The Environment Agency will still be able to use criminal punishments for serious offences.
The government believes civil sanctions will make environmental law enforcement more flexible and effective for both regulators and businesses.
Environment Civil Sanction Orders came into force in England on 6 April 2010 and in Wales on 15 July 2010.
Natural England will also be able to use the new civil sanctions at a later date.
What are the main civil sanctions?
The new civil sanctions the environmental regulator can use against a business committing certain environmental offences include:
• Compliance notice - written notice to take steps to ensure that an offence does not continue or recur.
• Restoration notice - written notice to restore harm caused by non-compliance.
• Enforcement undertaking - voluntary agreement by business to take corrective action to make up for non-compliance.
• Fixed monetary penalty - a low level penalty for minor offences fixed at £100 for an individual and £300 for a company.
• Variable monetary penalty - a monetary penalty for more serious offences with a maximum of £250,000.
• Stop notice - written notice to stop an activity which is causing harm.
What offences can civil sanctions be used for?
Civil sanctions have been introduced for a limited number of offences. Initially they will cover offences relating to harm to water resources, hazardous waste and packaging waste.
Other offences, including those covered by the Environmental Permitting regime, will be added by future legislation. The Orders specify which civil sanctions can be used for which offences.
Procedures for using civil sanctions
These vary from sanction to sanction. In most cases:
1.The regulator issues a notice of intent to impose the sanction.
2.The offender can make objections.
3.The offender can appeal against a civil sanction to an independent tribunal.
4.Subject to the appeal, the offender must pay the penalty.
How will civil sanctions be enforced?
Again this depends on which sanction is applied.
• Legal action will be taken against anyone not paying monetary penalties.
• Anyone not complying with restoration notices or stop notices will usually be prosecuted.
• In some cases, the regulator may recover costs of investigation or legal advice.
Chancellor George Osborne announced the country’s spending cuts today in one of the most savage Comprehensive Spending Reviews in history.
The environment was always going to be high on the agenda as interested parties waited to discover if the government would live up to its former claim to be one of the ‘greenest governments ever’.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change suffered an overall annual cut in budget of 5% but announcements on the future funding for a Green Bank and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) were not all bad.
Secretary for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, succeeded in securing £1 billion for carbon capture technology, although this was half the amount he had bid for.
That sum was matched for investment in a Green Bank. While this is seen as something of a victory, Greenpeace expressed disappointment, saying that the £1bn fell short of the amount needed.
Greenpeace executive director, John Sauven, said: “A poorly financed fund is not a green bank. It doesn’t have the financial clout, or the independence to do the job, and will end up as nothing more than an ill-equipped quango.
“So if this government wants to live up to its own billing as the greenest ever, this bank must be independent and properly financed.
“Anything less will dash hopes of a new green economy for Britain, and our chances of tackling climate change and energy security.”
Businesses have also joined the criticism. SmartestEnergy’s vice president retail, Jo Butlin, called the news “hugely disappointing”, while Tarmac’s head of sustainability, Dr Martyn Kenny feared the result would be a “cut price” Green Investment Bank that “will not provide the catalyst the UK needs to make the transition to a low-carbon economy.”
Other announcements included a £200 million funding for wind power development. Chancellor George Osbourne expressed support for low-carbon energy.
He said: “Research and technological innovation will also help us with one of the greatest scientific challenges of our times - climate change - and it will support new jobs in low-carbon industries.
“So today, even in these straightened times…we will also invest over £200 million in the development of off-shore wind technology and manufacturing at port sites.”
New incentives were also announced, including a funded Renewable Heat Incentive to encourage home energy efficiency with no upfront cost to homeowners but this also meant a phasing out of the Warm Front programme.
Environmental groups will digest the news and reflect on what this means in the face of huge cuts for welfare, councils and the police, with a total of £81 billion cut from public spending.
Source: edie newsroomBack
A range of fuel conditioning products has been developed that increase combustion efficiency while reducing costs and emissions
Local authority fleet operators are under ever increasing pressure to find ways of cutting their costs as well as their carbon footprint. To address this, Carbonsave Solutions has a range of Kinetic fuel-conditioning products, which can provide an improved MPG of 7-14% and a cut in emissions of up to 75%.
The Kinetic Kleen and Boost liquid products, for example, can be offered on a low cost, professionally monitored, trial basis over a four to six week period, and the company claims payback on investment can be achieved in a matter of weeks.
Carbonsave is currently running field trials with several organisations, including two local authorities with refuse and street cleaning vehicles. Each vehicle will be initially dosed with Kinetic Kleen to fast-track the cleansing process before Kinetic Boost is applied; the amount determined by the diesel tank size. During the trial, the dosing will be done manually. However, once the whole fleet is using Kinetic Boost, it will be delivered by the automated dose and metering system direct into the stock holding tank.
The Kinetic products are also used in marine diesel with documented fuel savings between 9-24%. The product has proven itself in industrial boiler applications, providing a homogeneous catalysis for heavy fuel oil used in open flame boilers. One such, a YClotherm steam generator, showed a consistent 9.7% fuel saving.
In power generation engines, Kinetic Boost cleans the heat transfer plates and reduces fuel consumption and particle emissions. One large international retailer, who uses 2.5M litres a month, has saved 9% on fuel costs.
Chris Slater, Carbonsave’s director of testing & implementation, explains how the product works. “If you look at the action of a petrol, diesel, bio-fuel internal combustion engine, the four cycles involved are the intake cycle, the compression cycle, the power cycle and the exhaust cycle.
“What actually happens in an internal combustion engine without Kinetic Boost is that the power cycle does not complete within the combustion chamber, causing carbon build-up, increased fuel consumption and harmful emissions. In fact, if you look closely, you’ll see fire coming out of the exhaust system during the exhaust cycle.
“Now, once the Kinetic Boost liquid is placed into the fuel, it disperses and becomes a catalyst in the fuel itself. Once in the combustion chamber, it cleans the carbon build-up and accelerates the combustion. This creates a cleaner exhaust, reduced exhaust emissions, and a reduction in exhaust temperature which increases the efficiency of the engine, lowering fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.”
Kinetic Boost has been scientifically tested under stringent laboratory conditions and is 100% organic. The company says it brought the product to the UK at the end of 2009 and spent the first six months of this year conducting field trials before launching Kinetic Kleen and Kinetic Boost at FutureSource 2010 in June.
Carbonsave says its ultimate aims are to increase fuel combustion efficiency, reduce fuel costs and exhaust emissions, extend payback life of capital equipment, enable compliance with emission regulations and subsequent trading of carbon credits.
This article first appeared in LAWR October 2010 page 16Back
A joint business declaration, published today (13 Oct), is the first time such a large number of businesses have called on the European Union (EU) to increase its target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 per cent by 2020 from 1990 levels. The declaration has been signed due to businesses’ growing concern that Europe will be unable to remain competitive in the growing global market for low carbon goods and services without a tougher carbon policy. Currently, the EU has set a target to cut GHG emissions by 20 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020.
The joint declaration proposes that an increased emissions target will boost economic growth and create jobs. Entitled ‘Increasing Europe’s Climate Ambition will be Good for the EU Economy and Jobs’, it states “there is no high carbon low cost future for Europe”.
It says the EU must invest in low carbon technologies now to ensure energy security for the future and to avoid high carbon “lock-in”. It says the recession has made emissions cuts easier and cheaper, but market incentives will be the only way to ensure action going forward.
The global low carbon goods and services market is already worth over £3 trillion and Europe’s share of that market is 22 per cent. It is a market that is expected to grow by four per cent a year over the next five years and signatories of the declaration say a move to a 30 per cent cut in emissions would ensure Europe stayed competitive with countries such as China and the US.
The declaration follows a letter jointly signed by three European climate change ministers – the UK’s Chris Huhne, France’s Jean-Louis Borloo, Germany’s Dr Norbert Röttgen – in the summer. It also called for an increase in the EU emissions target to 30 per cent.
Today’s joint business declaration was organised by The Climate Group, The Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership, and WWF Climate Savers Programme. It has been sent to the European Commission, Council, Parliament and Presidency ahead of an EU Environment Council meeting discussing the EU’s climate reduction target.
Companies supporting the joint business declaration include Acciona, Alstom, Asda, Atkins, Barilla, BNP Paribas, BSkyB, Capgemini, Centrica plc, Climate Change Capital, Crédit Agricole, DHV Group, Elopak, Eneco, F&C Asset Management, GE Energy, Johnson Controls Inc, Kingfisher, Google, Marks and Spencer, Nike, Philips Lighting, SKAI Group of Companies, Sony Europe, Standard Life, Swiss Re, Tryg, Thames Water and Vodafone.
A Bedfordshire businessman has been forced to pay almost £6,500 in fines and court costs after illegally burning waste on his farm.
Anthony West, who runs a marquee business, pleaded guilty to charges against him which included failing to adequately treat and dispose of controlled waste, which could cause significant damage to both the environment and humans.
Giving evidence at Bedford Magistrates’ Court last Tuesday (September 21), the Environment Agency’s (EA) Sarah Nicholson told the court West first came to the attention of authorities in December last year, following reports of burning at his farm.
At that time EA officers found plastic soil pipe and adhesive tube being burned with wood and tree loppings and advised West of the dangers and criminal repercussions of burning plastics.
Following further reports of fires, EA officers turned to West’s farm nine days later and discovered two fires - both of which contained illegal materials.
“There was a distinct smell of burning plastic or rubber in the air,” said Mrs Nicholson.
“The larger of the two fires was about five by six metres and one metre high at the centre, the main bulk of which appeared to be rolls of thin foam-backed synthetic carpet.”
When questioned about the fire West claimed the illegal materials had been included by accident, after he had buried them under other waste which he intended to burn.
Further claims that he had disposed of surplus carpet from his marquee business at a legitimate waste site were also disproved.
Speaking after the hearing, EA officer Jeremy Hay said: “Emissions from fires such as these are likely to include toxic substances such as hydrogen chloride, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide.
“Had West listened to our advice nine days previously he could have avoided being convicted and fined.
“However, we will always endeavour to prosecute those who flagrantly breach environmental legislation - it is there to protect our environment.”
Anyone who notices illegal waste disposal or water pollution should contact the Agency’s 24hr hotline on 0800 807 060.
Source: edie newsroomBack
New figures released today (September 14) show at least 500,000 new jobs would be created in Europe if countries recycled 70% of their waste.
Taken from a Friends of the Earth study entitled ‘More Jobs, Less Waste’, the report goes on to claim that recycling creates around ten times more jobs per tonne than sending rubbish to landfill or incineration.
Coming just a week after President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, called for the creation of 3 million new green jobs by 2020 in his State of the Union address, ‘More Jobs, Less Waste’ will no doubt prove interesting reading to the more environmentally conscientious nations.
“Our research shows that a 70% recycling target would create more than half a million new jobs by 2020,” said Friends of the Earth Europe’s Dr Michael Warhurst.
“That is a significant contribution towards the 3 million green jobs that President Barroso has called for.”
Currently, the EU’s recycling target is 50% by 2020 - significantly lower than the 70% figure Friends of the Earth are looking for.
Previous research conducted by the group seems to back their call further, with figures showing that by recycling materials the EU currently buries or burns, the equivalent of 148 million tonnes of climate changing emissions would be saved: comparable to taking almost 50 million cars off the road.
“Despite the economic, environmental and employment benefits of recycling more, the European Commission has up until now failed to set high enough recycling targets for Europe,” added Dr Warhurst.
“Europe must stop throwing valuable resources - and the potential jobs that come with them - in holes in the ground or sending them up in smoke in expensive incinerators.”
Source: edie newsroomBack
Ibex Earth is a not-for-profit organisation, established in 2008 to provide support, advice and assistance to environmental charities and not-for-profit organisations. They develop unique and innovative projects to encourage businesses, local authorities and individuals to adopt a more pro-active and meaningful approach to environmental issues.
They have just launched a series of free-to-download e-books, the first 2 of which can be found on our Public Download section, entitled:
• Getting Started & Staff Awareness
• ‘Greening’ your I.T.
Please click the link above to download these useful guides and look out for more in the future; sometimes all you need is to read how simple carbon- and cost-saving is to achieve in order to take the first step!Back
Environment think tank BSIRIA is heading a campaign, championed by major building management firm NG Bailey, pushing for compulsory Display Energy Certificates (DECs)for all office buildings larger than 1000m2.
BSIRIA says in campaign publicity: “Carbon is invisible, out of sight and largely out of mind.
“Buildings represent the single largest cause of carbon release but this is poorly understood, and it is hard to differentiate between good and bad performers.
“There is now widespread agreement that DECs - prominently displayed in every building - will, over time, create the necessary awareness among occupiers which will drive a desire for buildings with better energy performance among tenants.
“And this will create differential rents incentivising landlords appropriately to undertake energy focused refurbishment.
“Government may be willing to support such legislation, and will find this easier if there is a groundswell of support from major businesses and industry bodies.”
Major trade body, the UK Green Building Council, is backing the campaign and urging members to sign up.
It has long lobbied for Display Energy Certificates (DECs) to be a legal requirement on buildings beyond those used by the public sector.
It argues wider use would boost awareness of energy efficiency amongst tenants and landlords and incentives become greener.
Source: edie newsroomBack
In a new report, ‘Making sense of going green - small businesses and low carbon economy’, the Federation of Small Businesses highlights the huge contribution the SME sector can make in cutting UK carbon emissions as well as what policies are needed to help small businesses drive the way to the new green economy.
The FSB is advocating a mixture of short, medium and long term measures to green our small business sector. The report argues the case for short term financial incentives to implement quick wins such as installing more energy efficient equipment, the use of medium term measures to maximise the potential of smart metering and Feed-In Tariffs and longer term targeted support that addresses the structural and financial barriers that stop small businesses from greening their buildings. It also looks at how public support for Research & Development could be made more responsive to the needs of innovative green small businesses to drive the transition to a low carbon economy.Back
SMEs in Thames Gateway South Essex region have been awarded funding for energy efficiency improvements as part of the Low Carbon Business Programme. The Programme, Improving Your Resource Efficiency, is part of Solutions for Business, the Government’s package of publicly funded business support designed to help companies start and grow.
Over 200 SMEs have so far engaged with the programme since the programme started in the beginning of 2010. Many of these businesses have already received their free business environmental audit with recommendations to make them more resource efficient. The Low Carbon Business Programme is able to provide grants for these improvements; some of the businesses which have already benefited from these grants are:
Club Kingswood - to dramatically reduce their heating/cooling costs through improvements to their air handling system.
Elliot Offset - to purchase a new plate making machine which will significantly reduce their print process costs and reduce chemical, electrical and water waste.
Centreline Shopfitting - to relocate and reconfigure their spray booth so that it is heated by a lower carbon biomass system rather than mains gas.
If you are, or know of, an SME in South Essex, make sure you take advantage of the free support.
The Coalition Government is committed to nuclear power despite concerns from the business community, according to the energy minister.
Lib Dem policy has been towards scrapping nuclear power, however Conservative policy has been to increase it - putting the coalition at loggerheads.
And leaving business groups like the CBI fearing a lack of clarity will prevent investment in the UK’s energy infrastructure.
Launching a new report today (August 9) called No time to lose: Deciding Britain’s energy future, the CBI claim that without clarity on Government policy, £150bn of private sector investment in low-carbon infrastructure would fail to materialise.
This investment is essential for the UK to achieve a secure, sustainable and cost-effective energy mix that includes renewable sources, nuclear power and fossil fuels.
CBI deputy director general, John Cridland, said: “The Government’s first few months in office have been rightly dominated by sorting out the fiscal deficit, but it must not let the timetable for energy and planning reform slip any further.
“Energy companies are unable to get the ball rolling on new infrastructure projects when it is unclear how the future planning regime will work.
“Uncertainty on plans for electricity market reform, slow progress on clean coal and nuclear power, as well as the cost of renewable energy are adding to the mood of caution among investors. We need investment from companies, not delays from government.”
But, speaking on Radio 4’s the Today Programme, Mr Huhne said: “We are on course to make sure that the first new nuclear power station opens on time in 2018.
“There are a number of sites that have been identified around the country and those are generally on sites where we have previously had, for example, nuclear power stations and where the local people are very keen that there should be new nuclear build.
“What we have to do - we have eight years now before I hope that the first one will come making a contribution to the grid - and we have to get through all of the prior arrangements, like, for example, the national planning statements, like making sure that investors have got their application in and formally approved.”
Local businesses and budding entrepreneurs from across the East of England can secure up to £20,000 to help test the commercial potential of new products or processes.
The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) has today (22 July) opened a new and final round of its Proof of Market funding and local businesses have until 5pm on Friday 10 September to apply for a grant.
The funding can be used to carry-out in-depth market research, helping the business to identify the demand for new products and allowing them to hone their ideas to conquer those markets. Projects must be completed by March 2011.
Paul May, executive director of innovation at EEDA, said:
“As the economy continues to recover, businesses are looking to stay that one step ahead of their competitors by bringing new products to market. EEDA’s grants are designed to give local businesses a head-start, by helping them to identify and target lucrative gaps in the market.”
Since EEDA introduced Proof of Market (formerly Proof of Concept) funding back in 2006, 250 projects have shared a total of nearly £5 million. Everything from waterproof socks, next generation wind turbine technology and superconducting magnets have received funding to take them to the next stage of development.
“EEDA’s funding for innovative businesses has a real track record of delivering significant bang for the taxpayers’ buck,” Paul May added. “Independent reports show that for every £1 we invest in a company, over £12 is generated for the region’s economy – whether that’s business growth through increased turnover or creating new jobs.”
Businesses looking to apply for a Proof of Market grant can visit www.eeda.org.uk/finance for more information and to download the application form.Back
Local businesses with innovative ideas can access highly sought after university expertise this summer with a new East of England Development Agency (EEDA) ‘Innovation Voucher’.
EEDA has set aside a fund of £250,000 for small to medium-sized enterprises based in the East of England to access up to £3,000 worth of one-to-one collaboration with the region’s top universities and research institutes – to help develop, challenge and improve projects in the pipeline.
The vouchers are available free of charge, on a first come first served basis. Businesses have until Tuesday 30 November to apply for a voucher at www.eeda.org.uk/finance.
Part of the government’s Solutions for Business portfolio, an innovation voucher offers businesses a unique opportunity to access specialist consultancy from a university or institute to help resolve innovation-related business challenges, whether that is by bringing a new technology to market or improving an innovative product or process.
The scheme opened to all small and medium sized enterprises today (2 August). This follows previously successful rounds of this scheme where over 100 businesses benefitted from the vouchers.
Paul May, Executive Director of Innovation of the East of England Development Agency, said:
“EEDA’s voucher scheme offers a great opportunity to innovative businesses and will play a vital role in driving forward the growth of new ideas and technologies by uniting industry and academia. The East of England can be proud of its world-class universities, which are collectively one of its biggest assets. EEDA will be working closely with businesses who receive a voucher to select the most appropriate university to suit their needs.”
For further information including an application form, businesses should visit www.eeda.org.uk/finance.Back
The European Commission has announced a potential investment of €6.4 billion in European research and innovation programmes over the next 14 months.
The record financial package, to be allocated through the European research and innovation funding mechanisms, covers a huge range of scientific disciplines, public policy areas and commercial sectors.
The funding will advance scientific boundaries, increase European competitiveness and contribute to solutions for societal challenges such as climate change, energy, food security, health and an ageing population. The translation of research into new technologies, products and services is key to the overall funding strategy, as is the potential to create 165,000 jobs.
Funding will be accessed through calls issued under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) over the next 14 months, including funds allocated by the European Research Council and Marie Cure Actions.
SMEs will collectively access up to €800m, and for the first time will have access to ring-fenced budgets in a number of key areas, such as health, knowledge-based bio-economy, environment and nanotechnologies.
Source: Europa, 26/07/10Back
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across Thames Gateway South Essex joined the programme partners to launch a Low Carbon Business Programme at Coalhouse Fort,East Tilbury on the 1st of July. The Programme, Improving Your Resource Efficiency, is part of Solutions for Business, the Government’s package of publicly funded business support designed to help companies start and grow.
Businesses attending the launch found out how the programme can benefit them, and met with the businesses already receiving support. Other organisations that offer low carbon services and support for SMEs showcased their products and speakers provided both a local and regional context.
Peter Wognum, Programme Manager, ‘The event was a real success – we were very gratified with the level of SME attendance from across the region as well as the excellent support provided by the many local suppliers to the event, which confirmed to everyone present that we are not just Open for Business, we are Open for your Business.’
The aim of the programme is to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to reduce their carbon footprint and therefore increase their competitiveness. A co-ordinated programme of support will be provided at an individual business level, including expert advice on ‘greening’ businesses such as how to use products and services more efficiently, identifying tailored carbon reduction solutions and providing small capital grants for investment in carbon reduction processes and equipment.
This programme is supported by funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which is managed by East of England Development Agency (EEDA). This programme is being delivered by Thurrock Council, Essex County Council, Groundwork South Essex, Southend Borough Council, Basildon District Council, Rochford District Council, Castle Point District Council, Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation, Thurrock Local Enterprise Agency and National Industrial Symbiosis Programme.
Further information on the Low Carbon Business Programme is available from:
Peter Wognum at Groundwork South Essex, Council Offices, Kiln Road, Thundersley,