Hundreds of Asda supermarket stores will help power the UK’s electricity system this winter by using their fridges as a virtual battery pack for the energy grid. Britain’s third-largest supermarket chain has signed up 300 stores and 18 distribution depots to schemes which can earn the grocery giant extra revenue while helping to balance the electricity grid. Under the long-term deal with National Grid the supermarket’s nationwide networks of freezer aisles and storage fridges will make up a 13-megawatt power source – enough energy to power about 8,500 homes. Asda has also signed up to a trial which could mean its fridges are called on at only 10 minutes’ notice to act as a safety net if there is an unexpected power station outage. National Grid pays out about £1bn worth of contracts through its energy capacity market. Most are awarded to power plants so they are ready to ramp up their generation but they can also be given to companies which can cut their electricity use to help reduce overall demand on the grid. The supermarket is working with Flexitricity, a specialist Edinburgh-based energy firm, which uses technology to aggregate the energy potential of companies across the country. Flexitricity hopes that by creating a virtual battery across its portfolio of clients it can bid for National Grid contracts which would earn the companies extra revenue while cutting carbon emissions.
A user-led revolution in the way energy markets and infrastructure operates will be essential if the UK is to deliver the zero carbon energy system. That is the central conclusion from a wide-ranging new report from the Association for Decentralised Energy, which sets out how a combination of onsite heat and power generation technologies and advanced energy management systems could deliver significant financial savings for households and businesses, while enabling the rapid development of a net zero carbon energy system. It also argues the widespread adoption of smart energy management and grid balancing services should serve to place customers “at the heart of the way the UK meets its energy needs”, making it easier to engage the public with the wider net zero transition. “Whether through onsite generation, storage, energy efficiency, capturing waste heat or smart vehicle charging, the next stage of the energy revolution centres on the energy user,” said Dr Tim Rotheray, director of the ADE. The report estimates widespread efficiency upgrades could cut household energy bills by around a third, or £400 a year on average, while businesses could save £6bn through to 2030 thanks to cost effective energy efficiency measures. Similarly, the report argues energy storage systems and flexible grid services that automatically curb pressure on the grid at times of peak demand could unlock £800m in value for energy consumers through reduced bills and new financial incentives.
NFLA Policy Briefing 182: Keeping up with Energy – a report on the APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) Energy Summit 2018. APSE Energy provide support and promote best practice in the development of renewable and decentralised energy in the UK. NFLA has quoted from their reports a number of times, and their work has been included in the NFLA’s annual reports on the ‘state of play’ in decentralised energy and best practice examples. This report is provided for its member authorities so that they can keep appraised of new and interesting policy developments. There were two main themes to the APSE Energy conference. Firstly, what local authorities are doing in terms of setting up Publicly Owned Energy Companies (POECs) and what this can tell us about the Scottish Government’s plans to set up a POEC. Secondly, it looked at what local authorities in Scotland are doing to implement the Scottish Government’s policies on energy efficiency.
Energy for Londoners: Mayor powers up £34m solar and energy efficiency plan. Mayor Sadiq Khan officially launched the latest phase of the Energy for Londoners initiative yesterday, detailing plans to invest £34m in a range of new services and programmes designed to boost energy efficiency and improve access to clean power across the capital. Khan announced that a new £2.5m package would help address fuel poverty across the capital, offering households up to £4,000 in Warmer Home grants to fund improvements such as new boilers, heating controls and insulation.
Green Investment Bank loan to finance almost 15,000 low energy LED streetlights with aim of halving Barking and Dagenham’s streetlighting bill, Barking and Dagenham council has secured a £6.8m loan from the Green Investment Bank (GIB) to help finance the roll-out of almost 15,000 energy efficient LED streetlights in the East London borough.
A £2.1m partnership between E.ON’s energy efficiency business and Edinburgh City Council is set to reduce on-site energy costs by 24% at nine public buildings, as part of the city’s overarching aim to reduce carbon emissions by more than 40% by 2020. The agreement means that E.ON’s energy efficiency business Matrix will guarantee savings from the implementation of energy conservation measures such as LED lighting and Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems at buildings including seven schools, the Usher Hall and UNESCO World Heritage Site the City Chambers. The upgrade programme is designed to save more than £330,000 in energy costs and reduce carbon emissions by more than 1,500 tonnes per year. he project is a key initiative of Edinburgh City Council’s Sustainable Energy Action Plan that aims to reduce carbon emissions across the city by more than 40% by 2020. The Council’s 2020 objectives include more efficient energy consumption across all sectors by at least 12%, and renewable energy technologies contributing to at least 40% of energy consumed in the city. Last year, Edinburgh Council confirmed plans to install community-owned solar panels on 25 public buildings across the city. Edinburgh is not the only Scottish city with ambitions of becoming a world-leading centre for sustainable policy and innovation. Glasgow City Council partners with a number of businesses on diverse sustainable projects, which provide job creation and green capital growth. Glasgow recently ranked inside the global top 25 cities for environmental sustainability. Meanwhile, Aberdeen has become the first city in Europe to offer hydrogen powered cars for public use on a pay-as-you-go basis, as part of the City Council’s next step in expanding hydrogen infrastructure in the city. Plans to drill a deep geothermal well beneath the city of Aberdeen could deliver heating to thousands of nearby homes and an exhibition centre.
A nationwide shift to LED lightbulbs could slash the risk of a winter blackout, according to new research from Greenpeace. The research, carried out by energy analyst Chris Goodall, found a switch to the energy efficient LEDs in homes would reduce peak electricity demand in the winter by five per cent, or 2.7GW. The study also calculates the use of LEDs in office and other commercial building could save around 4.5GW, around nine per cent of peak demand, while LED street lighting would save a further 0.5 GW. While lighting might not seem an area of high energy demand, it is responsible for nearly a third of total winter peak electricity demand, according to the research. It calculates that a complete switch to LEDs would likely halve power use from lighting. Greenpeace said the research shows a business and government drive to promote a switch to LEDs could see a reduction in the UK’s electricity demand equivalent to over two Hinkley Point nuclear plants’ worth of electricity. Greenpeace estimates it would currently cost around £1.7bn to switch the most used bulbs in all UK homes to energy-efficient LED lighting, adding that the transition could be completed “relatively quickly”. The payback period for switching the most used lighting typical domestic house to LED is two to three years at current prices, with the estimated £62 cost of replacing 21 bulbs in living areas likely to cut annual electricity bills by at least £24, Greenpeace said. However, the new analysis also shows that in addition to helping cut domestic energy bills a national switch to LEDs would help save at least £65m a year on capacity market payments, reducing the subsidies the government pays for back up power capacity.
A new NHS sustainability report reveals the health service could save in excess of £26m a year by increasing adoption of combined heat and power (CHP) technology. The Securing Heathy Returns Report, which analyses the financial value of key sustainability measures in the NHS, states that CHP provides the biggest energy-saving opportunity – amounting to £26.4m a year. That’s enough to fund the salaries of more than 1,200 newly-qualified registered nurses. The report, published by the Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) for NHS England and Public Health England, analyses 35 proven measures that it says could achieve a total of £400m of cost savings and reduce carbon emissions by a million tonnes every year by 2020. These interventions were selected because they are supported by robust data and evidence to enable analysis and scaling. Of the 18 energy-saving measures covered in the report, CHP provides the highest annual potential cost savings (£26.4m), followed by staff energy awareness and behaviour change (£21.5m); high-efficiency lighting (£7.2m); and reducing temperature set points by one degree Celsius (£6.2m).
The NHS has saved more than £5m through taking a variety of sustainable measures, according to a new report released today from the NHS Sustainability Day campaign. The report rounds up submissions of financial and carbon savings from hospitals and NHS Trusts across England, achieved through a range of initiatives from energy efficiency measures through to waste management and the uptake of low carbon vehicles.
LED light bulbs are cheap and energy efficient, writes Chris Goodall. A crash programme to replace all the lights in the UK with LEDs would cut electricity bills, reduce carbon emissions and other pollution from coal and diesel generation, and reduce the risk of blackouts. At the peak at about 5.30 on a December evening lighting uses about 15GW (gigawatts / billion watts) out of total UK demand of approximately 52GW. This is an almost unbelievable 29% of our need for electricity, met at the precise moment that future blackouts are most likely. And there’s a simple way to cut that peak electricity demand – making our lighting more efficient by a mass switch to high efficiency LED lightbulbs. If all lights across the country were switched to LEDs my calculations (carried out under a project for Greenpeace UK) suggest that the need for electricity to provide improved lighting would fall by about 8GW, a saving of about 15% of all power consumption. As part of my work for Greenpeace, I located 100 case histories of switches from other types of lights to LEDs in industry, commerce and public sector. On average, replacing less efficient bulbs saved two thirds of the electricity bill. These studies were usually written up by companies with an interest in selling more LED bulbs, but show a very consistent pattern across factories, shops, schools, sports clubs and offices. In most places, lighting quality was improved substantially. In some locations electricity costs were reduced because LEDs produce less waste heat and therefore cut the need for air conditioning in places such as hotels and large office buildings. Even a much more restricted national campaign that just focused on domestic houses would have a dramatic impact. If we switched the lights in the parts of the house that are in use in early evening – essentially the kitchen and living areas – we would reduce home demand by more than 50%. Importantly, these rooms are the places where we now often use halogen downlighter bulbs, the most inefficient lights currently on the market. A standard halogen GU10 bulb uses 50W of power. The LED equivalent does the same job with just 5W.