£4 billion cost-saving energy investment opportunity

gab elf

A survey by British Gas business identified the barriers to energy investment and a £4bn cost-saving opportunity.

British Gas was the headline sponsor of the Energy Live Future conference at the Leicester’s National Space Centre, which took place on 7 June.

The event attracted more than 200 of the UK’s largest energy users, experts and innovators who shared their views on the future of energy with Gab Barbaro, Managing Director of British Gas business.

Both businesses and public sector organisations expressed their concern that political uncertainty and difficulties gaining boardroom approval are presenting major barriers to making energy investments.

They also described the growing pressure to reduce costs and convince senior management about the need to take control of their energy needs.

More than a third (38%) of delegates at the event, agreed that reducing energy costs remained the central energy issue for large organisations. This was closely followed by the challenge of convincing business leaders to allow investment in new technology (35%).

Nearly half (48%) of delegates suggested that political uncertainty, caused by the General Election, Brexit and changing regulation, could make it even more difficult for them to make significant energy changes.

Despite these challenges, British Gas business urged UK businesses and the public sector to embrace the disruptive trends and technologies that are transforming the UK’s energy landscape, as they present a unique opportunity for large energy users.

Barbaro said: “My challenge to business leaders is to get smart and be more proactive about their energy use. Businesses must think long-term rather than be swayed by current political or economic uncertainty – there are countless opportunities for organisations to save money on their bills today, by getting to grips with how it’s being used and taking action where it’s being wasted.”

When asked what would be the biggest energy trend of the coming decade, more than half of delegates (56%) believed that battery storage would be most important, followed by using demand-management technology through the Internet of Things (31%) and generating all of your own energy from on-site generation (12%).

space centre

British Gas business showed delegates how to overcome their energy issues by adopting three principles:

1. Smarter buying of energy

2. More intelligent use of energy resources

3. Greater control over energy use through initiatives such as on-site generation or demand management technology.

A variety of new and emerging energy technologies were on show at the event including the latest generation and storage products on offer to customers through Centrica’s Distributed Energy & Power business.

Several other influential businesses took part at the future-gazing event, including Microsoft, EY and Tesla. Delegates learned how to make use of block chain technology and the smart grid, and gave their verdict on current energy technologies during the ‘Energy Tech Tinder’ session.

Stephen Church, Partner at EY, said: “The industry is changing at a pace that has never been experienced before. This is the age of the empowered customer – and disruptive technology is at its very heart. Now the industry must rise to new challenges and embrace this change and disruption if it’s to make of the most of the ever arising new opportunities.”

A new record for renewables in the UK

Renewable Enegy UK

Renewable energy sources have generated more electricity than coal and gas in the United Kingdom for the first time.

According to a report from National Grid, power created from wind, solar, wood pellet burning and hydro supplied 50.7% of Great Britain’s energy on Wednesday 7 June, during lunchtime.

Add nuclear power to the mix, and by 2pm low carbon sources were supplying 72.1% of electricity in the UK.

These weather conditions on this day were perfect for renewables being both sunny and windy. Currently, records for wind power are being set across Northern Europe.

The National Grid tweeted: “For the first time ever this lunchtime wind, nuclear and solar were all generating more than both gas and coal combined.”

On the day before (Tuesday 6 June), a tenth of the UK’s power came from offshore wind farms – a first for the energy sector where cost dropped far faster than expected.

In fact, wind turbines generated so much power that prices dropped to a tenth of their normal level.

Emma Pinchbeck, who heads up renewable energy trade body RenewableUK, said: “National Grid is confirming that low-carbon sources are generating 70pc of our electricity – with wind power the star amongst these sources.”

She said the “incoming government should be proud of what the wind sector has achieved in the UK, and work with the industry to ensure that these record-breaking days for wind energy generation become our new norm”.

This is truly a milestone for renewables, and a step towards a low carbon economy.

Storage is of huge importance. For low-carbon sources such as wind, solar and hydroelectricity their efficiency is completely dependent on the weather.

The key is to be able to store excess energy produced – feeding it into the national grid as and when it’s needed.





The 10 leading European countries in renewable energy

Wind farm at sunset moment, Egypt

Climate change and the need to manage diminishing fossil fuel reserves are, today, two of the biggest challenges facing the planet.

In order to secure a future for generations to come, we need to reduce energy consumption and substantially cut down on greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.

Renewable energy technologies are clean sources of energy that will not run out. Ever. They also have a much lower environmental impact than fossil fuels..

Here is a look at 10 European countries where renewable energy is becoming an increasingly important part of the country’s energy mix.

10. Romania – 24.8%


Almost a quarter of Romania’s total energy consumption comes from renewable energy sources. The country surpassed its national target of 24 per cent and easily exceeded the European target of 20 per cent.

9. Lithuania – 25.8%


An important pillar of Lithuania’s energy policy, renewable energy accounted for 25 per cent of the country’s gross energy consumption. At the start of this year, Lithuania was home to more than 2,500 power plants from renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydro.

8. Portugal – 28%

Portugal has become one of Europe’s leaders in terms of renewable energy sources – specifically with wind and micro-generation.

7. Estonia – 28.6%


Oil shale and renewable fuels meet a large part of Estonia’s energy needs. Renewable energy plants are becoming more available in the country, with 28 per cent of energy consumption coming from renewable energy resources.

6. Croatia – 29%

Croatia copy

Hydropower forms a huge part of Croatia’s installed renewable capacity with wind and solar power following behind.

5. Denmark – 30.8%


Denmark relies heavily on wind power – with more than 31, 000 people working in the industry in 2015.

4. Austria – 33%


Austria is home to more than 2.4 gigawatts of installed wind capacity and 900 megawatts of installed solar capacity. However, hydropower is the largest supplier to the country’s renewable energy, contributing more than 13 gigawatts of installed hydropower capacity.

3. Latvia – 37.6%


Hydropower and gas provide the majority of domestic electricity supply for Latvia, with wind and biomass also contributing to the energy mix. In 2014, hydroelectricity produced 39 per cent of the country’s total electricity generation.

2. Finland – 39.3%


Bioenergy, hydropower, wind power and ground heat are among the largest renewable energy sources in Finland.

1. Sweden – 53.9%

Sweden renewable energy

By quite some way, Sweden is the leading European country in terms of renewable energy, with over half of its energy supplies coming from renewable energy sources.

In 1970, 75 per cent of its energy supplies consisted of oil – this figure has now fallen to roughly 20 per cent today.




Image credit: Romania | Lithuania | Portugal | Estonia | Croatia | Denmark | Austria | Latvia | Finland | Sweden

Champions League final: how much energy can players produce?

Madrid vs Juventus

This weekend Juventus face holders Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final at the National Stadium of Wales in Cardiff.

While the hype may be around the team line-ups and who will come out on top, have you thought about how much energy players will produce this weekend?

A game of football is characterised by intensity – short sprints are mixed between periods of walking, jogging and moderate-paced running.

Let’s take a look into this maximal intermittent form of exercise and see just how much energy football players will produce…

Intensity and distance covered

During a football game all three types of energy would be used, as intensity changes from low to high.

However, because it’s not clear just how fast, how many and how long the sprints are, as well as how easy and how long the intervening periods are, it’s not easy to determine which of the energy systems are most important.

In 1976, two English researchers, Thomas and Reilly analysed the patterns of football players in the old first division.

They worked out that a player would change their energy activity every 5-6 seconds, and on average would sprint for 15 meters every 90 seconds.

According to SportVU the average distance covered by a football player is 15km.

Thomas and Reilly found that of the distance covered over the 90 minutes, the average football payer’s energy could be broken down into the following intensities:

  • 25% walking – 3.7km
  • 37% jogging – 5.55km
  • 20% running (below top speed) – 3km
  • 11% sprinting – 1.65
  • 7% running backwards – 1.05

Calculating the energy used

If we take the average distance to be 15km over a period of 90 minutes with the average weight of a player being 70 kg’s – the energy usage per player would be 1575 kcal (6615 Kjoules).

With this total, we can then work out how much power is generated by converting this figure into a unit for measuring electricity.

By converting this figure to watts and then kilowatts, 1,575 kilocalories would be 1.84 kWh. A team of 20 players (excluding the 2 goalkeepers and reserves) would generate 36.8 kWh.

What could these 20 players power?

Using the total of 36.8 kWh, 20 football players competing in the Champions League final could power:

  • A coffee machine for just under a year (if used 10 minutes everyday)
  • A microwave oven for up to 20 weeks (if used for 1,5 hours per week)
  • An LED TV for 7 months (if used 4 hours a day)
  • A low-energy light bulb (12W) for almost 3 years (if used 5 hours per day)
  • An electric shaver (8 -12W) for 123 years (if used 5 minutes every day)

Of course this is not an accurate measurement, as each player’s work rate differs. However, it does show the potential energy that can be created by footballers.

Human energy generation won’t save the world’s energy crises anytime soon, but they remain a foundation for generating clean energy in the future.

Self-powering gym workstations are currently one way the human body can help produce electricity.






Image Credit: Sky Sports

Volcano power plant can generate 10X more energy than oil or gas wells

Iceland's Thor volcano

Iceland’s “Thor” volcano can generate 10X more energy than oil or gas wells by tapping into liquid hot magma.

Geothermal energy is nothing new, but Iceland’s volcano will take things to a whole new level.

Named after a Nordic god, “Thor” is a rig that symbolises Iceland’s leading-edge efforts to produce powerful clean energy. Engineers plan to drill nearly 3 miles into the live volcano to tap liquid hot magma.

The extreme heat and pressure at this depth makes the water take the form of a “supercritical” fluid, which is neither gas nor liquid.

The aim is to generate electricity from the heat stored inside the depths of the volcano by creating steam that causes turbines to move and generate power.

The well is anticipated to be the hottest hole on earth, containing magma that averages 427 °C (800 °F). The hole, completed in January this year has begun production – and if successful, the clean energy source will be able to generate ten times more energy than standard oil or gas wells.

Albert Albertsson, an engineer at the Icelandic energy company HS Orka, involved in the project says; “we expect to get five to ten times more power from the well than a conventional well today.”

The geothermal well is expected to generate enough energy to supply electricity and hot water to the capital city of Iceland, Reykjavik, with a population of 212,000.

Usually, you would require 30-35 conventional wells to generate enough energy for a city of this size, however, if Thor performs as expected, it would only take 3 – 5 wells.

The volcano is situated not far from the Blue Lagoon – a stream attracting more than a million tourists last year.

Thor also overlooks craters formed by the last volcanic eruption that took place 700 years ago, covering part of Reykjanes peninsula with a sea of lava.

Scientists and engineers working on the “Thor” experiment have two years to determine its success and the economic feasibility of the drill project.

 Thor Iceland

Also read:

Britain achieves first ever coal-free day ‘since Industrial Revolution’






Image source: inhabitat

Summer energy tips: How to cut down on costs

Save on energy costs during summer

The summer season couldn’t be closer, and while you may be welcoming the warmer weather with open arms, your energy bills can quickly add up.

With temperatures rising, there are several things you can do to make sure that your energy costs don’t rise with the heat.

Here are some tips to help your business some money this summer.

Keep the cool air in

With the hot sun beating down on us, many businesses will crank up the air conditioner without second thought.

If you have an existing air conditioning system in place, you may want to think about servicing or repairing it to help keep the system running smoothly and efficiently.

Insulating your business premises doesn’t just keep the cold air out in the winter, it also prevents hot air from getting in during the summer. If using air conditioning, remember to keep windows and doors shut to keep the cool air from flowing out.

According to the Department of Energy, you can also save 10 per cent a year on your cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat back 7°- 10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.

Service your boiler

Summer is the best time to make sure your business boiler is in good shape before winter. An annual service by a Gas Safe registered engineer should help catch any problems, keeping your business safe and warm throughout the year. If it turns out that your boiler needs a little more than just a service, it’s much easier dealing with it in summer when it is warm, when you’re not as dependent on it.

Preventing problems with your boiler helps avoid unnecessary hassles to your business routine. A faulty boiler could waste you money on energy and might even start leaking poisonous carbon monoxide.

Make the most of natural lighting

It may sound obvious, but many businesses still struggle to achieve maximum efficiency when it comes to office lighting.

Apart from using fluorescent bulbs that use around about 75 per cent less energy than standard light bulbs, you can make use of natural light coming into your office.

You may need to figure out where the sun will be and when, and rearrange the layout of your business space accordingly. Move desks around so that they are not in direct line with the main window when the sun is beaming in throughout the afternoon. This way you can keep your blinds open and your lights off.

What else?

Here are some easy other ways you can help feel more comfortable during the summer months:

  • If there is a heatwave, relaxing business dress may help staff morale
  • Using a fan can help increase the efficiency of an air conditioning system
  • Turn off anything which creates heat when not in use, such as printers and monitors
  • If you’re not making use of air conditioning, open windows and doors to prevent stuffiness

Many business leaders tend to pay more attention to their energy consumption during the winter months, however for every pound that they save on lower heating bills, they’re likely to be spending the same amount, if not more on air conditioning.

Also, don’t assume that you have to wait until the winter before you take serious control of your energy usage. Start today!

You may also want to read:

Checklist: 10 ways to save energy in the workplace






Takeaway boss jailed after tampering with gas meter

tampering with gas meter

The owner of a takeaway store was recently jailed after putting the lives of employees and customers in danger from a possible gas explosion after tampering with his gas supply.

A British Gas Revenue Protection Officer made a visit to the business, only to find that the meter had been tampered with once again.

Mr Ergisi, 46, of Commercial Street, Camborne, had previously been convicted of stealing £53,659.18 from British Gas by tampering with the supply between August 2014 and February 2016 after watching an online video on how to tamper and bypass with his gas meter.

But energy theft doesn’t pay off and Mr Ergisi was sentenced to 12 months in prison.

Addressing Ergisi, Judge Simon Carr said the case must send a warning to others and act as a deterrent against the likelihood of a possible explosion.

He said: “This was clearly a breach of the responsibility you had to your staff and members of the public by tampering with the gas supply. I’ve considered [the charge of] general theft but that does not take into account the threat in this case.”

Energy theft is a recurring problem across the UK. It’s a criminal offence to tamper with gas and electricity meters and is costing the industry up to £500m a year.

A way for businesses to combat energy theft is by having a smart meter installed. The benefits of a tamper-proof smart meter include more control of your energy usage, accurate bills, the elimination of estimated readings and better budgeting.

The meter readings will be more closely tracked enabling you to monitor your energy consumption.



F1 car vs. electric vehicle: which is more energy efficient?

Spanish Grand Prix

Formula 1 plays a big role in the development of next-generation automotive technologies, but are F1 cars more energy efficient than electric vehicles?

You wouldn’t think that a car built to go as fast as possible would be the most efficient car in the world. But, believe it or not, Mercedes 2016 W07 Hybrid Formula 1 race car model was in fact more energy efficient than the average electric vehicle on the road.

According to a report in 2016, the thermal efficiency of Mercedes’ class-leading hybrid Formula 1 engine was over 45 per cent.

Laurence Edmonson, a Formula 1 editor at ESPN, argues that a Formula 1 car is greener, since in the U.S., “at least 66 per cent of electricity comes from coal- and oil-fired energy stations, with just 13 per cent coming from renewables.”

Coal and oil power stations have a thermal efficiency of roughly 33 per cent, meaning the power used to drive an electric car is likely coming from a less efficient source compared to a Formula 1 engine.

Former Mercedes technical director, Paddy Lowe, says: “Electric cars are seen as green and the solution to all carbon emissions, but they are absolutely not.”

“It all depends where you get the electricity from and in a typical country with a regular profile of electricity generation, a Formula One car is massively more efficient than any electric car being charged from a power plant which is burning hydrocarbons. It is incredible that we’ve done that, but nobody is really talking about it that much.”

He added: “And while we have already achieved 45 per cent, we are not even stopping and so we will probably in two or three years’ time achieve 50 per cent efficiency. When you bear in mind that road cars have been stuck around 30 per cent for the last 50 years that is just mind blowing.”

Although this is hardly a direct comparison, the key fact here is that F1 cars can help push the development of energy-efficient technologies – influencing the production of new vehicles.

Spanish Grand Prix 2

Mercedes new WO8

With the Spanish Grand Prix just around the corner, the three leading F1 teams Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull are all bringing big upgrades for the first European race of the season in Barcelona.

Andy Cowell, the head of the Mercedes engine division says that they have put a lot of effort into improving the cooling system in the new W08 to make sure the most efficient package possible.

“One of the consequences of having an extra 5kg of fuel and an extra 10 per cent used per lap is that the waste energy – the engine is very efficient but not 100 per cent efficient, so there is some waste energy – how do you get rid of that waste energy?”

“We have put a lot of effort into the cooling system on the engine to get that waste energy out of the piston, out of the cylinder head, out of the crankcase and out of all the bearings, transmit that to the car and the cooling packages on the car need to increase as well.”

The Spanish Grand Prix will reveal the different upgrades of the F1 cars, and if Mercedes energy efficient engine will pay off for them.


You may also want to read:

Ferrari looks to piston innovation and 3D printing for F1 2017








Image source: formula1.com

Business boilers: The installation of your new boiler

Business Boiler

Business boilers help keep your business running all year round.

The boiler is an integral part of every business, powering both central heating and hot water.

British Gas has been installing new boilers in homes and businesses for more than fifty years and installs more gas boilers than anyone else in the UK.

Watch how your British Gas boiler is installed with end-to-end quality service.

Preventing problems with your boiler is key to avoiding any unnecessary disturbances to your daily routine.

One of the best ways to ensure that your boiler is there for you when you need it is to ensure that it undergoes regular servicing.

Boiler breakdown? Help speed up the fix

Video Interview: The future of energy with Gab Barbaro

future of energy

The energy sector is undergoing fundamental change and the market is currently experiencing massive innovation. British Gas is the headline sponsor of the brand new Energy Live Future event – taking place on 7 June.

Managing Director at British Gas Business, Gab Barbaro discusses the event:

He says: “There’s going to be a wide diversity of companies coming together. Tesla will be bringing along ideas around battery storage, and large corporates from the telecommunications industry and the networks will be joining us to bring new ideas together.”

Also watch business leaders discuss how they cut down on energy bills.