Posted on 12 April 2013 by Priyanka Shrestha
US President Barack Obama has proposed a $28.4 billion (£18.5bn) budget for the US Department of Energy (DoE) for the fiscal year 2014.
The figure is an 8% rise from 2012, which includes increased funding for the DoE’s clean energy projects by more than 40% above the 2012 level.
Mr Obama also set two new goals – to cut US net oil imports in half by 2020 and double energy productivity in the nation by 2030, reports claim.
Detailing the President’s proposals, US Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman emphasised Mr Obama’s continued commitment to an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.
Mr Poneman said: “The United States faces one of the greatest challenges ahead, the opportunity to lead the global clean energy race. We must continue to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world to meet this challenge. This budget reflects strong commitments to fiscal responsibility and shared sacrifice, while embracing the President’s all-of-the-above energy strategy which expands both oil and gas production and investments in new clean energy technologies, while advancing our national security.”
The budget includes $615 million (£400m) to increase use and cut costs of clean power from solar, wind, geothermal and water, $575 million (£374m) for cutting-edge vehicle technologies research and $147 million (£95.6m) for research and development of smart grids.
Posted on 14 March 2013 by Priyanka Shrestha
Japan’s plans to reconstruct areas affected by the tsunami with renewable energy systems and back up power supplies is “impressive”.
That’s the view of the International Energy Agency (IEA) following its visit to the country earlier this month as it marks two years since the disaster. It advised the nation in designing and developing ‘smart communities’ that use biofuels, industrial heat waste and other sustainable ways to power grids efficiently and effectively.
Two members toured the sites and recommended systems that provide clean and reliable supply whilst incorporating energy efficiency. They emphasised demand-management technologies and educating consumers to use the information provided by smart grids to make their use of energy more efficient.
The IEA said the country’s planned reconstruction sites where co-generation and solar farms are expected to provide a more sustainable energy system would “serve as an example to the rest of the world”. The town of Minami-Soma is developing a park that combines a solar power plant with a renewable energy “green academy” interactive learning centre for children whilst industrial waste energy will be reused as heat for a hospital elsewhere.
John Dulac, Energy Demand Technology Analyst and one of the members who visited Japan said: “The communities wanted our impressions and they appreciated our feedback. It was a two-fold opportunity: international comment that helps local communities and then the communities become an example to the world. It’s impressive to see the progress they’ve made on cleaning up the disaster-affected areas. Even more impressive is their ambition to build stronger, more resilient, sustainable communities for the future.”
The tour was part of Japan’s ‘New Disaster-Resilient Smart City’ initiative.
Posted on 27 March 2012 by Priyanka Shrestha
Connecting smart grids in EU countries could help high electricity demands in the UK, a new report suggests.
The research by ReportsnReports claims interlinking the smart grids between the UK and EU could make full use of renewable resources in Europe. Smart grids send information about energy use between suppliers, distributors and consumers.
Electricity produced by hydropower in Norway could be transferred to the UK via smart grid interconnection and help Britain cope with the rising energy demand, the report suggested.
The EU plans to develop smart grid infrastructures over the next eight years.
Posted on 14 February 2012 by Vicky Ellis
Government needs to make the Green Deal more ‘consumer friendly’ to guarantee its popularity. That’s the view of Colin Calder, founder of home energy management firm PassivSystems which has been helping DECC to shape its plans on the new policy.
While the Government’s flagship scheme to give loans for home efficiency improvements is an “innovative concept”, the Green Deal needs to make customers the focus, he said.
Mr Calder told ELN: “If we put more emphasis on consumer engagement and what’s in it for the consumer, we would have a much higher take up.”
At a time when wallets are being squeezed, he suggested, Government needs to think about making the extra cost worth it for the public.
Mr Calder added: “We all have a limited amount of money to spend – it’s about, at the end of the day, ‘What’s in it for us?’”
Posted on 09 February 2012 by Vicky Ellis
The number of smart meters in Europe will grow five-fold over the next five years, according to research by American consultancy Frost & Sullivan.
The analysts suggest the installed base of smart meters, which pass information between homes and suppliers remotely, will jump from around 44 million in 2010 to at least 200 million in 2017.
This trend is being driven by European law, said Neha Vikash, a Frost & Sullivan analyst: “The smart meter market is expected to prosper, owing to the recent impetus from renewable energy and smart grid implementation. Europe is focused on meeting the 20-20-20 targets which is a necessary driver for increase in renewable energy and the third energy directive targets 80% smart meter penetration in the residential sector by 2020.”
Competition for the new market is high because Europe has less than 20 vendor companies, added the analysts.
Posted on 20 January 2012 by Vicky Ellis
Consumers are the only “obstacle” to the success of so-called ‘smart’ meters and homes. That’s the view of Pilgrim Beart, founder of AlertMe which makes energy monitors for homeowners to check up on their energy use.
The serial entrepreneur and ex-Silicon Valley programmer made the claim at the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s annual Clerk Maxwell lecture, where he spoke about the future of smart homes and smart meters in Britain.
‘Smart’ meters refers to energy monitors which accurately measure how much energy is used. The small industry is set to grow massively as the government is gearing up to a mass rollout of the new devices to 54 milion homes and businesses by 2019.
Mr Beart told the audience: “I don’t see any fundamental obstacles except for consumers and their adoption. I don’t underestimate that. It’s a massive challenge. The sort of thing that an 80-year old lady living alone needs in her house is probably very different from what a family of six with young children needs in their home.”
The solution is a “massive education campaign” on how people can take advantage of smart metering, similar to the recent one for the digital TV switchover, he added.
But the industry will have to tailor smart technology so it is simple to understand and easy to use, the AlertMe founder added: “We’ve got to make sure we adapt these technologies so they work for everyone. They’ve got to be mass market. None of these things are mass market yet.”
Around three million homes in the UK have smart meters already, with the mass rollout kicking off in 2014. Models in the UK cost around £25 each at the moment, compared with pricey American versions that can average £200-300.
Posted on 04 January 2012 by Vicky Ellis
This week is the public’s last chance to get across their views on energy regulations as part of the Government’s blitz on red tape.
Energy Minister Charles Hendry launched the energy department’s involvement in the Cabinet Office’s Red Tape Challenge in November last year. It is part of the Government’s bid to cut back on regulation that hinders business or makes it harder to get the right investment and skills.
Energy is the biggest infrastructure sector in the UK and a huge revamp is in store over the next decade, starting with the Electricity Market Reform and including the use of more renewable energy plus a move to ‘smart’ electricity grids.
The deadline to submit an opinion falls on Friday 6 January. Members of the public can either comment on the Cabinet Office’s website or email DECC directly at email@example.com
Other DECC stories:
DECC to fight FiTs decision
Minister awards new North Sea licences
DECC chief scientist: renewables offer value for money
DECC announce renewable projects worth £2.5bn
FiT ruling could bring instability to solar
Posted on 29 December 2011 by Vicky Ellis
Ireland plans to cut more than 250 million tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2050. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has unveiled three roadmaps which pick out wind power, smart grids and electric vehicles to focus its efforts on.
It estimates smart grids will lead to a total reduction in energy-related CO2 emissions in of 250 million tonnes over the next forty years, while electricity generated by wind could create almost €15 billion by 2050 and switching to electric cars for personal users could cut carbon dioxide by four million tonnes a year by then.
Professor J. Owen Lewis, Chief Executive of SEAI said: “The Roadmaps show a great many benefits, including reduced energy imports leading to increased security of supply, increased use of renewables leading to lower CO2 emissions and significant employment and economic opportunities.”
Posted on 07 December 2011 by Vicky Ellis
Mexico, Singapore and Poland are just a few of the countries that could make up a $49billion market for smart metering in under a decade. A US study by smart grid analysts Northeast Group pinpointed 25 nations it believes have huge potential for the new technology.
Northeast said the majority of smart grid activity has so far been focused in North America, Western Europe and East Asia, with more than 95% smart meters installed in these markets.
But this balance could change, according to the research, which sees “very strong potential” in countries including Brazil, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the United Arab Emirates.
The report, called ‘Emerging Markets Smart Grid: 25-Country Overview’ looked at Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia but did not cover the Chinese or Indian markets.
Posted on 28 November 2011 by Tom Gibson
Six projects across the UK have been earmarked for £57 million of funding to help discover ways in which to make power networks smarter. Ofgem wants the money to help trial innovative projects, in order to ease the transition to a low carbon economy.
The money comes from Ofgem’s £500 million Low Carbon Networks Fund (LCN Fund), set up to encourage and enable companies to trial new technology, with money up for grabs up until 2015.
Rachel Fletcher, Ofgem’s Acting Senior Partner for Smarter Grids, Governance and Distribution, said: “Britain’s energy grids need to undergo a revolution in how they are run so they can connect more renewable generators and a range of low carbon technologies such as ground source heat pumps. There is a significant opportunity for companies to contain the cost of this transition by making better use of existing capacity and exploring the scope to use demand side response.
“Lessons learnt from the projects will be shared with all network companies and other interested parties. The aim here is to ensure that the networks do not hold up the decarbonisation of our energy use, and that the cost of this transition is kept as low as possible for customers.”
One of the projects involves installing electric storage batteries in homes, schools and an office to see if customers could be encouraged to use this stored electricity at times of peak demand. This would reduce the load on the networks and mean customers would be rewarded with lower bills.