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September 18, 2009

Biofuel Britain powered by willow trees and exotic grass

by David Masters
Energy Environment

Fields of coppice willow and exotic grass could help to meet the UK's energy needs and reduce carbon emissions. New research published this week found the traditional practise of coppicing could provide biofuel to cut Britain's carbon emissions and provide a haven for wildlife. The government wants to plant up to a million hectares of coppice willow and miscanthus grass to produce biomass for generating electricity. A team of researchers from the universities ...





September 10, 2009

Save on energy bills by upgrading your fridge

by David Masters
Energy

Comet is offering a 20% discount for customers who part exchange their old fridge, freezer or washing machine for a new model. Customers at the electrical store will be offered up to £200 cashback for their used appliances and white goods. There are currently 15 million fridges, freezers and washing machines over ten years old in UK homes. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) estimates replacing these would cut the UK's carbon emissions 1.3 ...





September 9, 2009

Recession impedes energy efficient IT

by David Masters
Employment Energy

Businesses are wasting money buying energy-inefficient computing equipment, new research discovered. A study by CDW Corporation for its 2009 Energy Efficiency IT Report found that although firms are doing more to improve IT energy efficiency compared to last year, a new focus on short-term financial gain threatens to undo their efforts. “Under extreme budget pressure in a recessionary economy, the number one IT purchasing concern is the current cost of equipment and ...





September 8, 2009

Engineer shortage threatens UK’s low-carbon future

by David Masters
Energy

Britain's future prospects as a low carbon economy could be jeopardised by engineering being viewed as a "dirty and menial" subject to study at university. Interviews conducted with 14-19 year olds on behalf of the National Grid found young people view engineering as a subject suited to less academic students. Over 1,300 young people were interviewed for the 'Engineering Our Future' report, which concluded that parents and teachers view engineers as "blue ...





September 4, 2009

Wind power “pivotal” for Northern Ireland

by David Masters
Energy

Wind turbines are set to adorn the Ulster countryside if Northern Ireland's environment minister gets his way. Edwin Poots believes wind farms are the key to Northern Ireland meeting its renewable energy targets. Wind power will play a "pivotal role" in ensuring Northern Ireland meets of target of producing 40% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. The minister made the comments during a keynote speech at an Irish Wind Energy Association ...





September 2, 2009

Solar panels add value to UK homes

by David Masters
Energy

One third of British adults would pay extra for a home kitted out with a renewable energy source, the Energy Saving Trust (EST) revealed today. A poll by the energy advice group found 35% of people in the UK would be willing to pay more for a home where some of their energy supply came from renewable resources such as solar, wood burning stoves, wind, or hydro-power. Nearly half (49%) of those surveyed said they'd ...





Christian Aid stages virtual climate protest

by David Masters
Energy Environment

With 100 days until world leaders meet in Copenhagen to forge an agreement on tackling climate change, Christian Aid staged a mass virtual trespass at E.ON Ironbridge power station. Instead of taking direct action to close down the power station, the charity beamed images of Christian Aid supporters onto the plant's cooling tower. In the images supporters held up messages to Prime Minister Gordon Brown encouraging him to take the lead in ...





August 26, 2009

Europe’s lightbulb phase-out begins

by David Masters
Energy

Energy saving lightbulbs are set to become the norm across Europe as a continent-wide phase-out of traditional bulbs begins next month. From 1 September, 100w and frosted lightbulbs will be phased out from shops across Europe. Shops will be able to sell-off current stock, but it will be illegal for them to place new orders for the banned lightbulbs. The move will save an estimated 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions ...





August 21, 2009

Could Scotland go 100% renewable

by Alan Harten
Energy

A new European Green Energy Centre opened in Aberdeen earlier in the week that the WWF Scotland claims could help make the county of Scotland 100% renewable. The WWF Scotland claims that with the new centre the country may be able to create power solely from energy that is produced by the renewable. With the location in Aberdeen, the WWF also stated that this could mark the change from Scotland’s ...





Ireland’s Climate Camp highlights peat bog destruction

by David Masters
Energy Environment

Around 100 environmental activists have gathered for Ireland's first Climate Camp outside West Offaly Power peat-fuelled power station in Shannonbridge. Solar-powered caravans and a vegan kitchen have been set up in the shadow of the power plant in a campaign to highlight the destruction of local peat bogs and the contribution of peat burning to global warming. "It is the largest peat burning station in the world," said Climate Camp spokesperson Molly ...





August 19, 2009

Green traffic lights across London

by David Masters
Transport Energy

Transport for London has announced plans to install energy saving LEDs in 3,500 of the capital's traffic lights. The £2.4 million move will cut energy consumption by around 60%, saving TfL an estimated £200,000 per year in fuel bills. The LEDs will replace 3,500 lamps at 300 junctions in the capital. As well as reducing its fuel bills, TfL said it aims to encourage businesses and homes across the UK to adopt LED ...





Christian Aid: Biofuels are eco-scandal

by David Masters
Transport Energy

Biofuels, once hailed as an environmental saviour, are driving deforestation and exacerbating global poverty, a report by social justice charity Christian Aid claimed this week. Billions of dollars invested in biofuels as subsidies from the US and the EU have proved "disastrous", the charity said in its new report, 'Growing Pains'. This support for biofuels has prompted drastic increases in global "hunger, severe human rights abuses and environmental destruction," Christian Aid said. Biofuels ...





August 18, 2009

Vestas factory officially closed

by David Masters
Energy

Vestas's wind turbine blade factory on the Isle of White has been officially closed down with the loss of 425 jobs. The factory was occupied for 19 days by Vestas employees until they were peacefully evicted by bailiffs last week. The site was the only significantly large producer of wind turbines in the UK. Protests have been held across the UK in support of Vestas employees and to demand that the government steps ...





August 14, 2009

Vestas occupation over, but protests continue

by David Masters
Employment Energy

Workers at Vestas' Isle of Wight wind-turbine blade factory have vowed to continue putting pressure on the company and the UK government to save their jobs. Their occupation of the factory ended peacefully last week as they were driven out by bailiffs armed with an eviction order. The workers, who occupied the factory for over two weeks, were greeted by huge cheers from the waiting crowd. None were arrested as they left the ...





Drugs barons seek oil profits

by David Masters
Energy

Drugs gangs in Mexico have expanded their brief in recent years to include oil smuggling. Petroleum produced by Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), Mexico's state-owned oil company, is being siphoned from national pipelines and smuggled into the US. "We suspect that some of this could be involved with narcotics," said Carlos Ramirez, Pemex spokesperson. Mexican authorities said the drug cartel's' decision to smuggle oil is a sign that president Felipe Calderón's two-year campaign against drugs ...





Public to vote on top coal villain

by David Masters
Sustainability Energy

Climate activists plan to swoop on a coal power station later this year, but they're not yet sure where. To decide, they're engaging the public in an X-Factor style vote called Britain's Got Direct Action. Voters can choose whether the climate camp protest will descend this year on the Drax plant in Yorkshire, the UK's biggest single emitter of carbon, or the E.ON Ratcliffe-on-Soar plant in Nottinghamshire.r. Together the plants emit over 30 ...





August 11, 2009

“Macabre” Tesco burns waste meat for energy

by David Masters
Sustainability Energy

Tesco's plans to incinerate 5,000 tonnes of waste meat per year have been branded "macabre" by animal rights group Viva. Viva said the scheme, which will generate enough electricity to power 600 homes, is "a sad indictment of modern life". Justin Kerswell, Viva campaigns manager, said the amount of meat being thrown away by Tesco is a sign of the supermarket's "greed and indifference". "To turn this wasted meat into power might seem ...





August 9, 2009

Wicks presents nuclear distraction

by David Masters
Energy

Greenpeace has criticised an official report urging the government to expand Britain's nuclear energy production. The report by former energy minister Malcolm Wicks said increasing Britain's nuclear capacity is vital to the UK's future energy security. “Energy reserves are concentrated in some of the most unstable parts of the world," Wicks said. "As we move out of recession, the global grab for energy will resume in earnest, consumption is predicted to rise, and ...





Taxpayers to fund government’s carbon failure

by David Masters
Energy Environment

Millions of pounds from the taxpayer's pocket will subsidise the failure of government departments to meet Westminster targets on reducing carbon emissions. The government has pledged to reduce carbon emissions from its own buildings and transport 12.5% by 2012 compared to 1999 levels. However, MPs from the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) are "unconvinced" that the government will meet its targets. If the government fails, it will be fined millions of pounds to offset ...





ESB acquires British wind farms

by David Masters
Energy

Irish energy firm ESB has expanded its pioneering of renewables to Britain with the purchase of two British wind farms. Government-owned Electrical Supply Board (ESB) acquired the Fullabrook Wind Farm in Devon and the West Durham Wind Farm in Co Durham. The West Durham site already generates 24MW of electricity, and the Fullabrook site has planning permission for a 66MW farm. ESB's acquisitions are the first step in its plans to generate 200MW ...





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