What is Green Gas and why do we like it?

So you want to be “more green”? Honestly, Walking the Walk isn’t as hard as you might think. Here’s a breakdown of what green gas actually is, then I’ll pop in a link so you can get on with switching! If you already know or don’t care how all this works, just scroll to the bottom now.

Green Gas’ real name is Biomethane, it works in exactly the same ways that natural gas does, except it comes from cow poop and doesn’t destroy the planet! Trust me, this is going to be way less effort than switching to veganism. Seriously though with over 50% of gas emissions coming from businesses, it’s really important to get on this. Gas boilers are going to be eradicated by 2025 anyway, so you might as well get it done now, make your business look good and save some money.

Biomethane is made through a process called anaerobic digestion. Very clever scientists use very clever science to utilise bacteria to break down organic materials – like food or farm waste – to release biogas. The biogas is purified and turned into biomethane (your new best friend), which is injected into the gas grid. Once in the grid, it’s piped into homes up and down the UK.

Two things qualify your gas as “green”:

  1. It’s made from renewable sources like food and farm waste. Not fossil fuels
  2. Burning it is carbon neutral

Biomethane can be produced from three sources. These sources are biogas from anaerobic digestion, landfill gas and synthetic gas (‘syngas’) from the gasification of biomass. All these gases can be converted to biomethane by removing CO2.

Anaerobic Digestion

Anaerobic Digestion ferments vegetables, animal manure, garden waste to make biomass: organic material containing stored energy from the sun. Plants absorb the sun’s energy (via photosynthesis) and this is turned into electricity.

How anaerobic digestion works

A typical anaerobic digestion process involves feeding manure and other waste matter into a large oxygen-free container (the word ‘anaerobic’ means ‘without oxygen’). This stirs the waste around at a warm cow-like temperature so that bacteria can thrive.

These bacteria break down the waste and produce biogas – primarily methane. This can be piped into a generator (a ‘CHP’ or combined heat and power unit). Here it explodes, turns pistons and creates electricity.

It’s estimated that every tonne of food waste recycled by anaerobic digestion as an alternative to landfill prevents between 0.5 and 1 tonne of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

And what’s more, the digestate (the matter left over from the digestion process) is a nutrient-rich biofertilizer. This is a renewable alternative to commercial fertilizer that’s also more environmentally friendly than raw manure.

Anaerobic digestion is getting smarter and the range of waste products we can use is expanding. It promises to be one of the clever ways we can continue to wean ourselves off non-renewable gas and electricity.

Landfill Gas

I dare you to guess where this gas comes from… no? You can’t? No wonder you failed chemistry. Anyway, don’t worry, let’s spell out the basics.

Landfill gas is a natural by-product from when organic material in landfills decomposes (obviously). Landfill gas is composed of roughly 50 percent methane (the primary component of natural gas), 50 percent carbon dioxide (CO2) and a small amount of non-methane organic compounds. 

Instead of escaping into the air, LFG can be captured, converted, and used as a renewable energy resource.

LFG is extracted from landfills using a series of wells and a blower/flare (or vacuum) system. This system directs the collected gas to a central point where it can be processed and treated depending upon the ultimate use for the gas. This is when it is made into Biomethane! Remember that guys?

Synthetic Gas (‘syngas’)

Can’t guess this one either? Come on pay a little attention! Okay class, so this gas is synthetic! Synthesis gas (also known as syngas) is a mixture of carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2) that is used as a fuel gas but is produced from a wide range of carbonaceous feedstocks and is used to produce a wide range of chemicals. These chemicals have a lot of names that none of us understands but essentially, it gets made into electricity.

Thing is, you don’t really need to know all the above information, because these methods are just all the things that happen to the meat before you buy the sausage from ASDA.

Point is, this all gets made into Biomethane (have I repeated that word enough for you yet? Is it stuck in your memory? Can you whip it out in a meeting to make you look smart?). You need Biomethane to go green. Sorted.

If you’d like a quote (its probably cheaper then what you’re paying now anyway!) go here.

What Makes Up The Cost Of Energy?

Guide to non-commodity costs

Non-Commodity: Electricity

Overall in 2020, there was a dramatic decrease in wholesale prices so many thought that overall costs should be reduced. Nevertheless, commodity accounts only for a third of the billed rate for electricity, which restrains the overall effects of the increases in non-commodity charging. The decrease will rebound in 2021 and the benefits of it will not be seen as the industry and the market will correct themselves.

In the next few years, there will be many changes to the charges in the electricity network. These variations can affect what you pay for your tariff.

Key Drivers

  • COVID-19 has resulted in a drop in demand reducing the charging base.
  • Contracts for Difference (CfD) hit a record outturn cost of £7.58/MWh and £7.84/MWh for the first and the second quarter of 2020.
  • Renewable Policy charges are expected to increase by 2%.
  • Demand generation became diversified, which resulted in changes to the structure of network tariffs.

What are non-commodities?

There are several non-commodities:

  • Wholesale Energy
  • Elexon
  • CCL
  • Contracts for Difference (CfD)
  • Renewable Obligation (RO)
  • D UoS
  • Distribution Losses
  • AAHEDC
  • BSUoS
  • Capacity Market
  • Feed in Tariff (FiT)
  • TNUoS
  • Climate Change Levy (CCL)
  • Transmission Losses

2020/21 Energy Cost Breakdown

The table below illustrates the percentage of each non-commodity in the 2020/2021 Energy Cost Breakdown.

Non-commodityPercentage
Distribution Losses2%
Transmission Losses0%
DUoS9%
TNUoS6%
Renewables Obligation (RO)20%
Feed in Tariff (FiT)6%
Contracts for Difference (CfD)8%
Capacity Market4%
CCL7%
BSUoS4%
AAHEDC0%
Elexon0%
Wholesale34%

Transmission Charges (TNUoS)

NUoS costs represent the costs of moving electricity across the UK from power plants to distribution operators. They have traditionally been treated as Triad charges, which measure the average demand at three 30m segments in winter when demand is often greater, and the cost is based on these averages.

There are plans to no longer use Triad charges in 2021-22 to recover TNUoS costs. After the changes, the residual element of charges will have a form of fixed charges rather than Triad measurements. These fixed charges will represent around 80% of all TNUoS charges.

Distribution Charges (DUoS)

Distribution Charges are levies that are paid to the Distribution Network Operators that operate in the UK. DNOs are responsible for delivering energy to customers from substations. DUoS will be reformed after April 2020. After this point business customers will be charged based on voltage, agreed capacity, and consumption. These changes will be reflected in fixed charges for each segment that will apply to all customers.

Policy

Policy covers a number of non-commodities:

  • Renewables Obligations (RO)
  • Capacity Market (CM)
  • Feed-in Tariff (FiT)
  • Contracts for Difference (CfD)
  • Climate Change Levy (CCL).

These charges have been introduced to promote renewable energy generation and encourage people to be more energy-efficient. The fees also aim to make businesses consume less energy. As existing redemptions expire and FiT closes to new applicants in 2019, we should see a drop-off in this fee over the next 5-10 years. That should balance the new charge, which is CfD. As CM was reinstated, all outstanding charges need to be paid and customers are likely to be charged extra to repay the scheme. As several energy suppliers have recently left the market, the costs in all other suppliers are likely to be affected.

Forecasts

Even though forecasts take into consideration industry analytics, as well as market and supplier research, they are likely to change as the circumstances in the market change. For example, between October 2019 and August 2020, certain elements of the forecasts changed. Overall, however, non-commodity costs altogether have increased by 2.3%, which was predicted a year before. That means that if a customer secured these costs the year when a forecast was made, they paid 2.3% less than they would if they paid the fees now.

The individual elements that changed were:

  • Distribution Losses – an increase of 13.1%
  • CfD – an increase of 11.2%
  • BSUoS – an increase of 22.9%.

All these individual changes could have been observed for the same period.

A forecast for 2024/25 suggests that non-commodity rates will increase by as much as 29% from the current rates, and unit-rates are expected to raise by more than 2p per kWh.

Non-Commodity: Gas

Key Drivers:

  • The price for wholesale gas has fallen for 2020/2021 and is now 40% lower than what the forecast in October 2019 predicted.
  • The cost of gas is now 61% wholesale commodity, which has affected the billed rates in 2020.
  • In 2021/2022 the wholesale cost is expected to rebound and the cost of CCL to increase by 15%.

Transportation

There are several types of charges involved in the gas transportation

National Transmission System (NTS)

The NTS charges account for the shipping of gas around the UK. They cover both commodity and capacity elements. For the time being, there isn’t much information available to forecast how they are going to change in the next few years. There are also ongoing negotiations for the prices to be reset in April 2021.

Local Distribution Zone (LDZ)

LDZ costs cover the costs that the distribution networks pay to make gas usable for customers’ meters. There are ongoing negotiations regarding the charges so there is uncertainty surrounding the forecasts.

Climate Change Levy (CLL)

Climate Change Levy is an environmental tax charged on the energy consumed by businesses. The goal of imposing CLL on businesses is to be more energy-efficient and to help them reduce their gas emissions.

CLL has increased significantly from 2018/2019 to discourage the reliance on fossil fuels and to encourage businesses to get their energy from renewable sources. In two years, CLL increased by 100% from 0.203 to 0.406 in 2020/2021. CLL is charged per kWh of energy consumed.

2020/2021 Gas cost Breakdown

The table below illustrates the percentage of each charge in the 2020/2021 Gas Cost Breakdown.

Gas chargePercentage
Climate Change Levy (CLL)26%
Wholesale61%
NTS2%
DNZ11%

Forecasts

Forecasts regarding non-commodity gas costs are very broad because of ongoing negotiations regarding various gas-related charges. Nevertheless, in the year 2022/2023 gas prices, all elements included in the gas cost breakdown are expected to increase. Some predictions include:

  • Wholesale costs increasing from around 1.25p/kWh to 1.40p/kWh
  • NTS increasing from around 1.35p/kWh to 1.45p/kWh
  • DNZ increasing from around 1.45p/kWh to 1.55p/kWh
  • CCL increasing from around 1.90p/kWh to 2.10p/kWh.

These rates are just estimates, however, and they are subject to change.

Energy Saving Guide For The Public Sector

Did you know? The Carbon Trust says that by implementing simple energy efficiency projects, the public sector could reduce their energy bill by £1 billion.

We know how important energy efficiency is for public sector organisations. Small budgets, spending public money safely, can be tough.

For example, hospitals and schools having to balance the safety and comfort of people in their care, while trying to reduce energy can be extremely difficult.

Making it increasingly challenging, local authorities are continually expected to promote environmental issues in their communities.

At Energy Solutions, we are here to help our customers, by offering free advice on how to improve their energy efficiency.

Let’s being with asking some questions to monitor how you currently use energy: 

  • Do you have the cooling and heating working at the same time?
  • In the near future, do you have building refurbishments planned?
  • Are your lights left on all and, or even all night?


If you answered yes to any of these questions, then with our help, you will likely be able to save yourself a lot of money, all in an easy and simple way.   

Here are some statistics that may shock you: 

  • Utilising daylight in classrooms can have a reduction of up to 19% in lighting costs.
  • Simply raising energy awareness could see a decrease of more than 25% in energy consumption in hospitals.
  • By an increase of just 1°C in heating, fuel consumption will rise by around 8–10% in educational establishments.


So, what steps can you make to save yourself some money and become more energy efficient? Let’s dive right in.   

Lighting Tips

  • Purchasing daylight sensors and time switches can be a great investment to save some money and reduce your energy usage. This removes the possibility of leaving lights on for long periods of time when they aren’t in use as they help to avoid leaving lights on.
  • Ensure your windows and lights are kept clean. Simply by not maintaining the cleanliness of lighting, in 3 years you can see light levels decrease by more than 30%.
  • You should encourage staff to only use lights when necessary. Leave posters near light switches to make employees more aware of how using lights can decrease energy efficiency and impact the environment. When there are reduced numbers of staff in, use lighting only in the areas that are needed.
  • At the end of the day, teach staff members to turn off lights when leaving. This simple guidance could save leaving lights on overnight which aren’t needed, saving both energy consumption and money.
  • Energy-efficient lights are another popular method for reducing energy consumption. Replacing bulky, old lamps for newer, compact fluorescent lighting could save around 80% of energy usage in your office space. What a neat swap.

Ventilation Tips

  • Air recycling should be optimised. This is especially important during times where there is low occupancy. Keep an eye on air recycling and you will see the difference in your energy bills
  • Many newer air conditioning appliances have energy-saving features. Think about purchasing these types of equipment when improving energy efficiency. It will save you in the long run.
  • By installing variable-speed drives, you can reduce your running costs when they’re used for pumps and fans.
  • By simply keeping doors closed when possible, you will keep warm and cold air from escaping the room. Rooms will be kept warm and you will decrease the need to use heating, which uses more unnecessary energy.

Heating, Air Conditioning And Hot Water Tips

  • Excessive cooling can cost you. Try to save energy by optimising your air conditioning. Aiming to only use cooling when necessary is key, so try to not use it below 24–26°C.
  • To reduce heat loss in your building, try using window blinds. If you close your window blinds at night, or before the last person leaves the office, you can trap the heat indoors which can help to decrease heat loss.
  • Make sure your radiator circuit is compensating for weather changes to decrease the risk of overheating.
  • Overheating can be a common problem in buildings. A good tip is to make sure your radiator circuit is weather compensated as this will decrease the chance of overheating. Instead of turning down the heating, you can open windows when overheating occurs.
  • A little tip is to switch off the heating for around 30 minutes towards the end of the day. Buildings will often retain the heat until staff have left the building. Try to match the heating times to opening and closing times to improve energy efficiency.
  • For schools and hospitals, installing taps with timers is an easy way to reduce energy waste. Many people may leave taps running by accident, especially in larger buildings, the chances are increased. Timer taps remove this unnecessary waste of water, saving you money.

Energy Saving Guide For Retailers

If you are a retailer, it is likely that you are paying very high energy bills. In fact, the retail sector is amongst those that were hit the hardest by the 2007/2008 economic crash. While running a retail business of course requires a lot of energy to power all the necessary equipment, there are some areas of the retail sector where energy is wasted. By implementing simple changes such as controlling lighting and heating, or frequently servicing your boilers you will be able to cut your energy bills by as much as 20%.

Carbon Trust explains that ‘Low and no-cost actions can usually reduce energy costs by at least 10% and produce quick returns. For many businesses, a 20% cut in energy costs represents the same bottom-line benefit as a 5% increase in sales.’

At Energy Solutions, we are committed to helping our customers be more energy-efficient and to lower their impact on the environment. As an energy broker with many years of experience in the energy industry, we can offer expert advice not only on how to get the best energy deal but also on how to cut your energy bills.

This guide for retailers explains what the main energy-saving opportunities in their sector are. Before you have a look at the areas where you can save energy and money, you have to ask yourself the following questions.

Does your retail business use too much energy?

  • Do you leave the lights on during the day and at night?
  • Is your equipment always on, even when the store is closed?
  • Is the temperature in your store too high?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you can simply save money by changing your energy-consumption habits.

Have a look at some facts about saving energy in your retail store:

  • Lighting accounts for 20-60% of retailers’ total energy costs.
  • Heating and air-conditioning accounts for 40-60% of retailers’ energy use.
  • If you reduce room temperature by as little as 1°C, you can lower fuel consumption by 8%.
  • By installing chilled or frozen food cabinets, your business can save around £100 each year on energy bills.

Energy efficiency tips

Energy Solutions compiled some tips to help you cut the energy bills in your retail store. They can be divided into several categories related to various aspects of running your business.

Aspect of running a retail storeEnergy-efficiency tips
Heating and air conditioningAvoid overheating the restaurant by regularly checking thermostats and controls.

Service boilers regularly.

Turn the heating or air conditioning off one hour before you close the store and all the employees leave. Do not run the heating outside trading hours. Install time switches so that the heating is not on when the building is empty.

Do not overheat the store in winter. Keep the temperature at around 19°C so that the customers have a good experience but you don’t pay too much for energy bills.

Do not overcool the store in the summer. Never set the air-conditioning below 24°C.
LightingInstall energy-efficient bulbs such as LED bulbs that use 80% less energy than traditional bulbs.

Install movement sensors, time switches, and daylight controls to ensure the lights only on when there are people in the store. Make sure the employees turn the lights off when they leave the room.

Upgrade all the lights to energy-efficient ones, not only the ones in the main room. 
Refrigeration Do not set the temperatures too low. Regularly check the seals in fridges and freezers.

Do not overfill the shelves in fridges and freezers. Only put in the things that you really need.

Energy Saving Guide For Restaurant Owners

If you are a restaurant owner, it is likely that you are paying very high energy bills. While running a restaurant of course requires a lot of energy to power all the necessary equipment, you are able to cut your energy bills by as much as 20%.

Are you wondering how to do it?

Cutting your restaurant’s energy bills is extremely easy. In fact, all you need to do is change your energy consumption habits and implement simple energy efficiency measures that can have many forms. You can introduce these solutions at your restaurant’s premises by, for example, installing LED bulbs, thermostats, or air conditioning controls. You can also make your restaurant greener by educating your employees and encouraging the whole team to get on board and consume less energy.

At Energy Solutions, we are committed to helping our customers be more energy efficient and to lower their impact on the environment. As an energy broker with many years of experience in the energy industry, we can offer expert advice not only on how to get the best energy deal but also on how to cut your energy bills.

Gazprom Energy says that ‘making some small changes to increase energy efficiency can provide significant financial savings.’ Here at Energy Solutions, we share this opinion and we aim to explain to customers what these changes are and how to implement them.

Before you have a look at tips on how to cut your energy bills, ask yourself the following questions:

Does your restaurant use too much energy?

  • Do you and your employees leave the lights on when the rooms are empty?
  • Is the air conditioning on when the windows are open?
  • Is the equipment on when it is not in use?
  • Do you use LED bulbs?
  • Do you have thermostats and sensors installed?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you can easily save money by changing these habits.

Have a look at some facts about saving energy in your restaurant:

  • By raising energy awareness among employees and providing training on how to be more energy-efficient you can reduce energy use by up to 25%.
  • If you cut your energy costs by 20%, you can observe a 5% increase in sales.
  • By installing low-energy lighting you can also reduce costs related to air-conditioning.

Energy efficiency tips

Energy Solutions compiled some tips to help you cut your restaurant’s energy bills. They can be divided into several categories related to various aspects of running your business.

Aspect of running a restaurantEnergy-efficiency tips
Heating, ventilation, air conditioningAvoid overheating the restaurant by regularly checking thermostats and controls.

Service boilers regularly.

Install time switches so that the heating is not on when the building is empty.

Do not set the air-conditioning below 24*C.
LightingInstall energy-efficient bulbs such as LED bulbs.

Install movement sensors to ensure the lights are not on when there is no one in the room. Make sure the employees turn the lights off when they leave the room.
Hot waterProperly insulate hot water pipes.

Install spray water taps as they use less hot water and less power.

Quickly repair leaking taps.
RefrigerationFrequently check door seals.

Do not open refrigerators’ doors when it’s not necessary.

Only buy A++ rated equipment to make sure they consume the least energy possible and have the lowest electrical running costs.

How switched on is your restaurant?

• Do you have lights on continuously in areas that are only occasionally occupied?

• Do you have areas that are draughty or too hot or too cold?

• Do the kitchen staff leave catering and extraction equipment on unnecessarily?

If you answered yes to any of the above, you can probably save lots of money very easily!

Did you know that?

  • Simple actions such as raising energy awareness among kitchen and waiting staff and providing energy management training can reduce catering energy use by up to 25%?
  • A 20% cut in energy costs can represent the same bottom-line benefit as a 5% increase in sales?
  • Installing low-energy lighting can also reduce air conditioning costs?
    Source: Carbon Trust