Latest news on ethical and eco friendly living in the United Kingdom

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Energy saving and suppliers

Growth in Global Oil Market Slows 07.07.12

Global oil consumption increased by 0.7 percent in 2011 to reach an all-time high of 88.03 million barrels per day, according to new research conducted for the Worldwatch Institute’s Vital Signs Online service. This rate of increase was considerably slower than in 2010, when oil consumption rose by 3.3 percent following a decline of 1.3 percent in 2009 due to the global financial crisis.

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New review of evidence about onshore wind power to dispel myths for MPs 13.06.12

Onshore wind power clearly has a role in supplying the UK’s future electricity needs despite a number of myths about its costs and reliability, according to a new report by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy.

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Government loses appeal over ’unlawful’ solar cuts 26.01.12

The Court of Appeal today (Wednesday 25 January 2012) unanimously rejected Government attempts to overturn last month’s High Court ruling that its plans to rush through sudden cuts to solar tariff payments are illegal.

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Ecotricity launches EcoBonds for a Green Britain 09.11.10

Ecotricity Group Limited (“Ecotricity” or the “Company”), the UK’s largest independent green energy company, has announces that it is offering investors the opportunity to participate in ‘EcoBonds’. Proceeds from the EcoBonds will be invested into expanding the Company’s green energy generation capacity here in the UK, building new windmills, sunmills and renewable gas sources.

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Cost of Wind power will fall, especially if local supply chain is created 30.09.10

The UK faces significant challenges in meeting its renewable energy targets for 2020. Offshore wind is widely expected to make a major contribution. However, rising costs have been associated with its deployment. A report from the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) released this week explains why costs have risen significantly since the mid 2000s – and suggests ways in which these costs may be reduced in future.

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Low carbon private rentals? 12.09.10

A straightforward change to an act of parliament could remove many of the barriers to landlords investing in energy efficiency, argues Andrew Warren Director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy-the energy efficiency industry association.

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How agrofuel land grabs are undermining African farming 30.08.10

Access to land provides food and livelihoods for billions of people around the world, but as the availability of fertile land and water is threatened by climate change, mismanagement and consumption patterns, demand for land has been increasing says Friends of the Earth in their latest report ’Africa up for grabs: The scale and impact of land land grabbing for agrofuels’

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Go into free solar panel deals with your eyes open – warn campaigners 11.08.10

Following an announcement from a company who say they intend to provide free solar panels to 100,000 households, Consumer Focus and the Centre for Sustainable Energy are warning consumers to investigate the details of such schemes to avoid future problems.

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Moves towards greening government already saving £60-70m a year 05.08.10

A new report published by the sadly soon to be abolished Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) shows that moves towards greater sustainability made by the previous administration already save government £60-70 million every year, and calls for the Coalition Government to step up its green ambitions in order to benefit from further efficiency savings.

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Fossil fuel subsidies 12 times larger than support for renewable energy 04.08.10

New research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance reveals that despite many platitudes and pledges, governments of the world are spending substantially more on subsidizing dirty forms of energy than on renewables and biofuels. In fact, support for cleaner sources is dwarfed by the help the oil, coal, and other fossil fuel sectors receive.

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Sureblades rises from Vestas ashes 26.07.10

One year after workers occupied the Vestas wind turbines factory on the Isle of Wight in protest at the company’s decision to cease production a new organisation, Sureblades, set up by former Vestas employees, has risen from the ashes and is due to begin production of blades within two months just yards from the closed factory.

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Work Foundation-A 2020 Low Carbon Economy 22.06.10

New research from The Work Foundation shows that confusion over regulation and a proliferation of agencies and bureaucracy is putting the creation of jobs in the low carbon economy at risk. The low carbon economy has been identified as a potential area for economic growth and job creation.

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When is a subsidy not a subsidy?-When it’s for the Nuclear Industry 28.05.10

The negotiations around the policies of the new ConDem Government were always going to be interesting, and nowhere more so than around Energy Policy. In a nimble piece of semantic two stepping Chris Huhne has managed to combine the Conservatives pro-nuclear Energy Policy with the Lib Dems opposition. The solution, while lucrative for the Energy companies and their financial backers is a financial black hole for the UK Taxpayers argues Natural Choices editor Peter Shield

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Alstom enters solar market by investing in BrightSource Energy 21.05.10

Alstom, a global leader in equipment and services for power generation, said today that it will complement its strong portfolio in renewables through a partnership with BrightSource Energy Inc to enter the high-growth solar energy market. Alstom today announces it is investing up to $55 million in BrightSource Energy Inc., with an equity stake that positions Alstom as one of the main shareholders in the company.

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Making the UK’s energy systems fit for 2050 18.03.10

Fundamental restructuring of the UK’s entire energy system is unavoidable if it is to meet future energy demand while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, even assuming that energy demand in all sectors can be substantially reduced, according to a report published today by the Royal Academy of Engineering. If we are to achieve this, the scale of the undertaking will require the biggest peacetime programme of investment and social change the UK has ever seen, says the Academy.

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Business Leaders Warn Of Impending Oil Crunch 09.02.10

A report due to be launched on Wednesday will say that the UK economy is particularly dependent on oil and will urge any new government to pursue coherent policies to enable the UK to adapt to a future of high-cost oil.

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Renewables top Europe’s Energy Investment in 2009 08.02.10

More new wind power capacity was installed in the EU in 2009 than any other electricity-generating technology, new statistics published today by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) reveal. 39% of all new capacity installed in 2009 was wind power, followed by gas (26%) and solar photovoltaics (16%). Europe decommissioned more coal and nuclear capacity than it installed in 2009. Taken together, renewable energy technologies account for 61% of new power generating capacity in 2009.

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Small-scale green energy schemes more productive than 2 nuclear power stations. 30.11.09

Small-scale renewable electricity schemes could generate more than twice the output of Sizewell B nuclear power station by 2020 if Ministers improve the proposed Clean Energy Cash-back scheme (or feed-in tariff), due to be launched in April next year, according to figures released today (Monday, 30 November 2009) by Friends of the Earth.

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Hot water use key to cutting domestic emissions, says study 22.07.09

Hot water use will remain a major cause of domestic carbon emissions - and could even overtake emissions from heating in new homes - unless action is taken to reduce demand and energy losses from inefficient boilers and poorly lagged pipes, says a new report from The Energy Saving Trust.

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£100m Green Deal to Slash SME Energy Bills 30.06.09

The Carbon Trust is to improve access for small and medium businesses to over £100m in interest-free and unsecured loans, it was announced today, 29th June. The move is intended to help more businesses survive the recession by cutting both their energy costs and their carbon footprints.

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Avoiding a green bad deal 15.06.09

Investing our hopes in green growth or new technological fixes will not avert the climate crisis. So what will? To inaugurate Red Pepper’s new series on transitions to a world after fossil fuels, Oscar Reyes, from Carbon Watch, looks at the democratic deficit in the power sector

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Wind could provide 18% of Scotland energy and speed retirement of coal and nuclear 11.06.09

Greens today welcomed the announcement from Iberdrola, owners of Scottish Power, of plans for five more substantial wind farms to follow their success at Whitelee, Europe’s largest wind project. The industry estimates that suitably located projects on this scale could produce 18% of Scotland’s electricity , and Greens argue this would allow the early closure of polluting and unsustainable nuclear and coal plants.

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UK can have wind power and wildlife says RSPB 25.03.09

One more barrier that sometimes pits conservationist against ecologists has been removed by a report commissioned by the RSPB which found that the UK could greatly increase the number of onshore wind farms it builds without trashing wildlife.

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Energy direct debits ‘interest-free loans’, says Which? 25.03.09

New research from Which? Money reveals that energy suppliers are effectively using their customers’ money as ‘interest-free loans’, by taking unnecessarily high direct debit payments each month.

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EDF and E.0N lobby for lower UK renewable targets 17.03.09

GreenPeace: Prepare to be unsurprised. Very unsurprised. Those lovable energy giants EDF and E.ON have put their collective boots into government plans to generate 35 per cent of our electricity from renewable sources.

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91% of UK households would consider installing solar power 11.03.09

According to a new survey to be published by the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) 91% of the UK population have considered or would consider buying solar photovoltaics (PV) to generate electricity at home

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Online wind estimator tool blows away confusion around wind power 05.03.09

The Carbon Trust is today launching a new online tool to help businesses and consumers considering installing a wind turbine to work out how much power it could generate alongside the cost and carbon savings.

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24 million UK homes to be near zero carbon by 2030 03.03.09

The Sustainable Development Commission has hailed as "truly visionary and very positive" the Government’s plans to upgrade all 24 million UK homes to be near-zero carbon by 2030.

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Big 6 fail Green Energy Investment targets 02.03.09

The annual WhichGreen figures, released today by green energy company, Ecotricity, reveal that Britain’s failure to invest in green energy will leave the government’s 2020 emissions targets in tatters.

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Feed-in tariffs: another romantic delusion 04.12.08

As with other great popular causes, such as improving access to public libraries, reducing the use of plastic bags, and the protection of urban hedgehogs, everybody is in favour of ‘feed-in tariffs’ for renewable energy, writes Chris Goodall.

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Why is the UK so far behind in renewables? 30.11.08

Most major countries in Europe have decided to focus on one or two technologies to reduce carbon emissions. By making concentrated investments in one or two promising areas these countries are likely to achieve substantial cost reductions and rapid increases in deployment, writes Chris Goodall in his Carbon Commentary, and author of the newly released Ten Technologies to Save the Planet .

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Will The Alternative Energy Industry Survive The Oil Price Crash? 30.11.08

Two years ago CarbonFree warned that companies exploiting the growing market for alternative energy should ensure their technology and services remain competitive, even if the price of oil fell as low as $30 per barrel.

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Ethical Consumerism Report 2007 28.11.08

Household expenditure on ethical goods and services has almost doubled in the past five years according to the eighth Co-operative Bank Ethical Consumerism Report published 30th November 2007.

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53% of householders willing to pay more for green homes 27.08.08

New research from the Energy Saving Trust reveals that energy efficient homes could be a vital driver to keeping the property market moving, with ’carbon appeal’ set to replace ’kerb appeal’ when it comes to swaying buyers. The study reveals that half of UK homeowners believe homes with greener features are easier to sell in the current market and 53% of all householders say they would be willing to pay extra for them.

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Brits say they are planning to Spend £13 Billion on Green Home Improvements 17.01.08

New research by Co-operative Bank Mortgages has revealed that Brits are planning to spend over GBP13 billion making their homes greener, with over two thirds of people (68%) claiming they have already taken steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their homes over the last year alone.

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Top 28 Ethical companies to chose from for Christmas Gifts 13.12.07

The Ethical Company Organisation publishers of The Good Shopping Guide and the site www.gooshing.co.uk have published their top accredited ethical gifts companies, organic food and clothes, to green energy and pet foods. You couldn’t want for a better place to start your seasonal shopping.

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UK offshore wind farm development-33GW by 2020? 13.12.07

The UK government has announced an intention to allow offshore wind farm development around most of the UK. John Hutton suggested that about 33 GW capacity could be added by 2020. This would provide about 25% of current UK electricity demand (which is itself rising by 1 to 2% per year) writes Chris Goodall, author of ’How to Live a Low-carbon Life’ .

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Ethical market worth £32.3bn in 2006 30.11.07

The Co-op Bank’s ethical consumerism report for 2006 show the sector has grown from 29.3 billion in 2005 to £32.3bn in 2006. Household spending on ethical goods and services is now £664, up from just £366 in 2002 an 81% increase in five years.

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£2.3 billion micro-generation industry by 2016 is possible 22.11.07

Zero Carbon homes could create a £2.3 billion renewable energy supply market by 2016 argues a report by the Renewable Advisory Board. The report looks at the key role played by onsite micro-generation as opposed to relying on large scale offsite generation such as offshore wind farms.

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169 Women - That’s the Answer to Saving the Planet 19.10.07

Research released today, ahead of Energy Saving Week 2007 (October 22nd -28th), reveals the first ever index to pinpoint Britain’s biggest energy-saving influencers. With 169 people in their social networks Britons are already acting as advisers to 10 people on energy-related issues.

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Corporate Watch to launch ’Technofix Top Trumps’ 19.10.07

Whenever the issue of climate change is discussed in the Mainstream media the first thing the pundits do is to reach for their trump cards. Who needs to stop burning coal - coal can be clean! Look here. Trump. Carbon Capture and Storage! Beat that hippie!

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BT announces £250 million investment in wind power 19.10.07

BT unveiled plans to develop wind farms aimed at generating up to 25 per cent of its existing UK electricity requirements by 2016. The wind farm scheme represents the UK’s biggest corporate wind power project outside of the energy sector.

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Only £5.23 million spent on home microgeneration as LCBP ‘collapses’ 01.10.07

The Low Carbon Building programme of support to home microgeneration has effectively ground to a halt as Government prevarication and un-economic limits put off home owners from installing renewable energy.

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Good Energy doubles ‘pay back’ to 9p a unit for home generation 26.09.07

On 1st October Good Energy the 100% renewable electricity supplier is launching its new ‘pay-back’ tariff to its customers generating their own electricity. Good Energy will pay 9 pence for every unit their customers generate.

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SolarCentury’s C21 is a natural fit for Sony 07.09.07

Derry Newman, COO of SolarCentury, talks to naturalchoices about the link up with Sony’s UK Technology Centre to make the revolutionary C21 solar roof tile, and Solar Century’s strategy in the UK and beyond.

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Nick Rosen on launching Off-Grid.net 23.08.07

Nick Rosen, author of How to Live Off-Grid and website publisher explains how he launched the site, wonders if he is rather sad, and why now, with the explosion of media interest, nobody seems to have remembered his phone number.

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Companies waste £6,000 per year by leaving electronic equipment on standby over the weekend 22.08.07

“The Big Switch Off” campaign is urging UK businesses to save energy and switch off this weekend in a nationwide campaign to reduce CO2 emissions. npower business’ ’Big Switch Off’ calls on businesses to switch off unused equipment before leaving for the August Bank Holiday weekend.

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The Ampere Strikes Back 24.07.07

A new report from the Energy Savings Trust, ‘The Ampere Strikes Back’, reveals the dawn of a new ’ICE (Information, Communication, Entertainment) Age’ as a proliferation of home entertainment equipment across the UK undermines efforts to manage domestic energy demand to curb the effects of climate change.

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Smart meters - 40,000 households in energy saving trials 12.07.07

Around 40,000 households will be taking part in energy saving trials in a bid to cut household bills and help in the fight against climate change, Business and Enterprise Secretary John Hutton announced today.

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Eco-Centres and Courses – by Terena Plowright 06.07.07

Throughout the UK the galaxy of courses and hands on training around living a more sustainable life is breath taking. Published by Green Books, this is a comprehensive guide of fun and interesting days out for both adults and children.

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The Eco-store that Nigel Built - from clicks to bricks 05.07.07

Nigel’s Eco Store was founded strangely enough by a man called Nigel-Nigel Berman. While the trend in retail is moving from selling through shops to selling online, Nigel Berman talks to Natural Choices about why they have gone the other way.

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’Blowing in the Wind’ - Companies Want Wind Energy: if Only They Could Get it! 16.05.07

Red tape surrounding "green" wind energy is hampering UK companies looking to significantly cut their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions says the Co-operative Insurance in a wish list sent Alistair Darling, Secretary of State for the Trade and Industry and backed by 10 of the UK’s major corporations.

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Renewable energy- now only for the rich 11.05.07

Despite the fact that Gordon Brown increased the funding for the Low Carbon Building programme from £12 million to £19 million Alistair Darlings newly launched scheme will mean that an average solar photovoltaic system will rise 60% in price.

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How to live a low-carbon life by Chris Goodall 03.04.07

In the UK the average individual is responsible directly and indirectly for 12 ½ tonnes of carbon dioxide. How do we get that down to 3 tonnes- well reading Chris Goodall’s ‘How to live a low carbon life- the individual’s guide to stopping climate change’ is the best start.

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Brown’s budget a lighter shade of Green 21.03.07

Gordon Brown’s 11th budget held few surprises for the environment. It continues Brown’s theme of carrot and stick, encouraging ‘good’ behaviour rather than punishing ‘bad’.

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