Solar Subsidy Cuts, New Stats and Confidence in Renewables

The news that the Government has announced another round of cuts to renewable sources, this time aimed at solar subsidies, has been met with shock and dismay from green campaigners. After the Renewable Obligation Subsidy cuts were announced last month, aimed at onshore wind generation, this latest revelation has heightened fears that the UK will fall behind in the race to reach its own ambitious carbon emission reduction targets.

These cuts will reduce the subsidies granted to those who wish to install solar roof panels through a review of the feed-in tariff scheme, accompanied by the launch of a consultation on controlling subsidies for solar PV of 5mw and below.

The cuts are part of a plan by the DECC to bring costs under control and stop overspending. Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, supports the plans, defending them against criticism that investment will be ‘chased away’.

“Our support has driven down the cost of renewable energy significantly. As costs continue to fall it becomes easier for parts of the renewables industry to survive without subsidies. We’re taking action to protect consumers, whilst protecting existing investment,” she commented this week.

Despite Rudd’s confidence, accusations of hypocrisy are rife among Green Campaigners with many questioning how a government can be so supportive of a Climate Change plan in Europe and yet dismiss domestic green policy so readily.

It is very clear to most that the books need to be balanced, and cuts are occurring in every sector to try and bring the deficit down. However, the main fear is that, through the cuts, we will be returning to a dark age of fossil fuel reliance. While renewables do receive a lot of money through government support, it is often forgotten that fossil fuels still receive an estimated £3.4 trillion worth of direct and indirect subsidy support.

So is the Panic Justified?

Solar Electricity Handbook: A Simple Practical Guide to Solar Energy - Designing and Installing Photovoltaic Solar Electric Systems

Solar Electricity Handbook: A Simple Practical Guide to Solar Energy

There’s no doubt that climate change is a pressing issue, and failure to reverse its effects will have catastrophic consequences. However, are the cuts going to be as disastrous as Green campaigners assume?

In 2011, Feed-in Tariff support for solar panel installation was cut in half, as a result of the huge underestimation of uptake on the part of the government. Instead of killing solar dead (as the press at the time threatened) the installation of solar panels has continued to flourish, so will further cuts make much of a difference?

In a recent poll by YouGov, over a fifth of people wanted to see more solar power being used, showing that there is a public desire for renewable energy use. However, perhaps more interestingly, over a quarter of recipients (26%) wanted to see further use of wave and tidal energy, sources that have not yet received a subsidy cut.

The RHI Quarterly report released today (23rd July) has stated that 94% of non-Domestic Applications to the scheme are for the use of small or medium biomass boilers. In the Domestic sphere, only a quarter of applications were in regards to using biomass boilers but this still exceeded the number of applications for Solar Thermal. which only accounted for 18%.

The monthly report on the Domestic Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation has also shown no let-up in green measures being promoted. Since its launch, 1.54 million measures have been installed in 1.25 million properties across Britain, with the number of plans for installation increasing by 7% between May 2015 and June2015. Of new installations, 51% were in regards to biomass with only 12% being for solar thermal measures.

Green subsides are controlled by a Levy Control Framework which caps the amount the government can spend, from bills, on green initiatives. However, as demand rises this leads to the cap exceeding its £4.3 billion limit (even with a 20% grace margin). The overspending is largely due to the large uptake of Solar Roof Panels, showing that demand is there and it is unlikely that this demand will fall too much even if the subsidy is less generous.

The outlook therefore does not seem as destructive as first thought. Instead it seems that we should be rejoicing that the reason cuts are needed is possibly because the subsidies have been too successful.

Author Bio

Love Energy Savings is versatile energy comparison service which has saved its customers over £65million on their energy bills since its launch. Providing thought leadership on energy prices and energy use means you can rely the Love Energy Savings site to give you all the information you need regarding developments the energy sector.


RHI Quarterly Review

Domestic Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - July 23, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Categories: Energy   Tags: ,

Why Preserve Forests And Plant Trees

Forests are an essential part of the global ecosystem. Over the years forests have come under intense pressure from logging, conflicts, natural hazards, climate change, pollution, urban development, fire, disease and conversion to agriculture. This infographic, brought to you by Smurfit Kappa, is a concise way of highlighting the benefits of forests whilst listing the threats and remedies.

Why Preserve Forests And Plant Trees

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - July 18, 2015 at 5:36 am

Categories: Conservation   Tags:

Winners of the Love Energy Awards 2015 announced

The winners of the inaugural Love Energy Awards 2015 have been announced; was your business green enough?

The awards, launched by energy price comparison specialists Love Energy Savings, aimed to highlight the most energy-savvy businesses from all over the UK and recognise them for their dedication to energy efficiency.

Ensuring that businesses apply a proactive approach to reducing their carbon footprint is essential if we are to meet the government’s target of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by the year 2050.

Phil Foster, CEO of Love Energy Savings, said: “The Love Energy Awards honour organisations who consistently go the extra mile to create a more energy-efficient business. We have been overwhelmed by the number of nominations that we have received for each of the four categories. It was a difficult decision to narrow it down to just four winners due to the high quality of the entrants.”

The full list of winners

Star of the Future – The University of Salford

The University of Salford created their own unique scientific research to educate consumers on how to save energy in their homes by building the Salford Energy House. The unique Victorian house was reconstructed in an environmental chamber using reclaimed materials, and allows the university to test energy-efficiency measures during various weather conditions with much more reliable results.

“The Salford Energy House is a distinctly unique facility, so they were clear winners for the Star of the Future award. Their innovative research methods will help to develop new technology to improve energy-efficiency solutions for the future.” Phil Foster commented.

Innovative Saver – Bolton Market

Bolton Market introduced the use of a cardboard baler – the most environmentally-friendly solution for large-volume cardboard producers – for all the boxes that the 200 plus traders throw away on a daily basis. During the 12-month period, Bolton Market is expecting to save around £12,000 just from waste costs alone, due to the introduction of cardboard balers.

Phil Foster said: “Bolton Market has reduced the carbon footprint for hundreds of traders and Bolton as a town with fantastic financial results. It just goes to show how much money you can save when you make simple energy-saving changes.”

SME Saver – Newlands Adventure Centre

Since 2011, Newlands Adventure Centre has taken a number of different approaches to becoming a greener business. From increasing their recycling efforts, fitting energy-saving measures throughout the centre and making simple changes such as switching off lights, they have managed to save £2,635 on their annual energy bills.

“Newland Adventure Centre’s sheer level of dedication to energy efficiency was overwhelming, especially as only four years ago they weren’t a green business at all. They have proven that anyone can transform their business and reap the rewards,” said Phil Foster, commenting on the SME Saver award.

Super Saver – Keel Row Shopping Centre

Keel Row Shopping Centre is one of a handful of centres in the UK to use 100% LED lights. All the lights in the centre’s malls are being replaced with low-energy LED bulbs in a bid to save up to

70% off its lighting costs. This initiative will also contribute to a reduction in maintenance and repair costs, as LED lights last up to 50,000 hours and require minimal maintenance after installation.

Phil Foster added: “It’s really impressive when a large organisation realises the benefits of becoming more energy efficient for their own budgets and the environment. I hope that more retailers will follow in Keel Row Shopping centre’s footsteps.”

Love Energy Savings are energy price comparison specialists who have been searching for the best prices for their business and domestic energy customers since 2007. They have direct relationships with the UK’s leading energy suppliers to ensure that their customers have access to the cheapest gas and electricity tariffs on the market.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - July 17, 2015 at 4:46 pm

Categories: Eco Business   Tags:

New ‘real time’ tech stops Peru’s illegal loggers in their tracks

One of the biggest issues for many of the planet’s rainforests is illegal logging. And until now it has been extremely difficult to deal with in a timely manner. Worse still, illegal loggers are reaching more and more remote areas, places they couldn’t previously access.

The problem is partly down to new road networks and other intrusive infrastructure, which open up vast new tracts of previously inaccessible virgin forest to loggers. Once isolated and relatively safe from harm, as a result these remote areas and the indigenous communities who live there are suffering.

At least 40,000 hectares of stunning, wildlife-rich Peruvian rainforest is under threat. Thankfully intelligent new technology is coming to the rescue with real-time alerts, which are making it possible to stop illegal loggers in their tracks before too much damage is done.

Better still, it’s a community-based monitoring system in the control of the people who live there, giving them a real way to directly protect the forest they depend on.

Simple community-based anti-logging tech – How does it work?

First, people are trained to use the system. Then they collect information via a tablet or smartphone. The information is sent in real time to an online database, which the public can access and experts can analyse.

Local experts are trained in verifying and categorising every report of deforestation or illegal logging according to its urgency. Then the reports are flagged with Peru’s enforcement agencies, who are alerted in a variety of efficient, quick ways including email, text, social media and phone calls.

The new system means the Peruvian authorities can move faster than ever to apprehend loggers and defend the forest, great news when timely action is essential. Over time the system should also discourage illegal loggers from starting operations in the first place – an expensive business – because as soon as they set up they’ll be shut down.

It’s also good news because it puts the forest’s communities – those who care most of all about the health and well-being of the forest they live in – in direct control of protecting their own resources, therefore in better control of their own destiny. It’s powerful stuff, and an initiative that should work equally well in any of the world’s threatened forests. Let’s hope we see it rolled out as soon as humanly possible.

Double your donation

In the meantime, you can donate to support the system and help more communities connect. And every penny you donate will be doubled, thanks to an extremely generous donor we can’t thank enough for their kindness. If you donate £25 it’ll be doubled to £50, giving you more power per pound to protect Peru’s unique and extraordinary rainforests for posterity, to the benefit of us all. Just click here to donate.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - July 10, 2015 at 2:10 pm

Categories: Conservation   Tags:

The Problem of Household Air Pollution

Today, around 3 billion people worldwide cook and heat their homes with open fires and leaky stoves using dirty and dangerous fuel. Most are poor and live in low- and middle-income countries.

The Negative impact on health

The use of inefficient cooking fuels and technologies produce high levels of household air pollution with a range of health-damaging pollutants, including small soot particles that penetrate deep into the lungs. In poorly ventilated dwellings, indoor smoke can be 100 times higher than acceptable levels for small particles. Exposure is particularly high among women and young children, who spend the most time near the domestic hearth. It has been estimated that in these conditions women and children breath in an amount of smoke equivalent to consuming two packs of cigarettes a day. [1]

The impact is huge: indoor cooking kills 4 million people every year [2], more than HIV/AIDS and Malaria combined. That is about the population of New Zealand!

Impact on environment and poverty

It is not just the human health impact of cooking on an open flame that is so devastating. The overdependence on fuel to power inefficient cooking leads also to massive environmental degradation and binds vulnerable communities to a life of grinding poverty.

Many people in developing countries in fact, depend on local forests to provide them with wood to fuel their stoves. With wood as the main source of fuel, the pressure on forest resources is mounting, contributing to the problem of the loss of Africa’s forests. Moreover, the burning of coal, charcoal and wood causes emission of black carbon which results from incomplete combustion, increasing CO2 emissions and thus contributing to climate change.

Finally, the adverse effects of traditional cooking methods overwhelmingly affect the quality of life of women and children, who often need to venture outside of their towns to search for fuel, exposing them to dangers ranging from snake bites to potential assault and rape. The time it takes for them to source fuel (up to three hours a day in some cases) reduces possibilities for further education, business opportunities and family time [3].

The solution exists

The statistics on the effects of cooksmoke seem overwhelming, but it’s not all bad news. Unlike for many other global problems, the solution to this problem is simple.

africaEstablished in 2011, African Clean Energy is a Lesotho-based family company committed to make the solution available for those in need. The company in fact produces the ACE 1 Solar Biomass Cookstove, a virtually smokeless cookstove that burns biomass efficiently requiring around 70% less fuel than existing cooking methods. Crucially, its battery is also solar charged – effectively making it a sustainable nano-grid – with USB and DC ports to charge devices and run an LED light.

Since its conception, the company has been working with donated funds to provide families in need with a stove to improve their standards of living. Recently, with The Lesotho Orphans Project, their effort was focussed on families whose head is under 18 years old or families where grandparents are looking after orphaned grandchildren.

D3TOX Campaign

d3toxIn the UK, African Clean Energy is now working together with Ecotricity, the world’s first green electricity company, in the D3TOX campaign, an initiative to support the Lesotho Orphans Project (TLOP). The partnership is simple, when people switch their electricity provider to Ecotricity, £40 is donated to TLOP, £20 is donated for Gas, and £60 for dual sign ups.

Customers who have made the switch to Ecotricity will have access to a gallery of photos and content showing how the ACE 1 recipients are enjoying their new stove.


[1] World Health Organization –

[2] Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves –

[3] International Energy Agency –


Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - July 2, 2015 at 5:43 am

Categories: Energy, Issues   Tags:

Birds’ random migrations explained – It’s a climate change thing

Why do they do it? The vast, apparently random mass migrations of millions of pine siskins, small birds living in Canada’s beautiful boreal forests, have been a mystery for some time.

The birds travel huge distances south of their normal winter range, sometimes hundreds or thousands of miles, a phenomenon first noticed a few decades ago. But until now the trigger behind these mass-migrations has remained a mystery.

Earlier research revealed irruptions are triggered by a lack of food, in turn caused by dramatic collapses in the seed production abilities of northern pine, spruce and fir trees. The climate link wasn’t proven, but now scientists have joined the dots.

Why do so many birds ‘irrupt’?

Amateur birdwatchers have observed dramatic changes in siskin migration over the years. Take winter 1990, for example, when an incredible so-called ‘superflight’ took place to the south of the boreal forest, showing how extremely cold winters drive birds south when the weather’s ripe for irruption.

Now it looks like the phenomenon of ‘irruption’ is likely to be down to changing climate patterns. When long-term changes in the amount of rain and temperature create a boom and bust scenario, poorer forest seed production drives the siskins to irrupt… and they’re not alone. It looks like plenty more seed-eating boreal birds engage in irruptions, including two types of waxwing, chickadees, crossbills, finches and nuthatches: they all go where the food is.

Crowd-sourcing delivers crucial insight

The information feeding the study was crowd-sourced, highlighting yet again the benefits new tech can bring to rainforest conservation and a wide variety of other conservation efforts. It was collected by teams of back garden birdwatchers in the US and Canada working with Project FeederWatch, a citizen science initiative from the USA’s Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

A critical indicator of the way climate change will affect northern forests

As co-author of the report Benjamin Zuckerberg, assistant professor of wildlife ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said, “The boreal forest is the world’s largest terrestrial biome and is home to more than half of North America’s bird species. It is likely that these irruptions, driven by climate, are a critical indicator of how climate change will affect northern forests and their dependent species.”

Story Source: University of Utah

Article by the Rainforest Foundation.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - June 5, 2015 at 2:16 pm

Categories: Issues   Tags:

Saving the Hianan gibbon – One of the planet’s rarest animals

In the 1950s there were more than 2000 Hainan gibbons left. Now there are only 25, all squeezed into a tiny region of China just 20 square kilometres in size, on Hainan island. That’s why more than 100 international scientists and policy makers are collaborating to save the creature from extinction.

The surviving population is made up of just three groups of the animals, unique because of the way the males and females sing to each other, creating beautiful duets at dawn. And the species is on the brink of becoming the first ape wiped out by humans.

While the gibbon community and their habitat are already properly protected by Chinese law, human disturbance is an ongoing threat. The fact that there’s so little virgin forest left means their movements are currently severely restricted. Their lack of genetic diversity leaves them vulnerable to disease and there are so few Hainan gibbons left that a major typhoon or outbreak of disease could easily wipe them off the face of the earth.

An international report designed to inspire action

Conservationists hope the resulting conservation recommendations will inspire the authorities in China to take “immediate and effective action”, making the issue one of the most critical global mammal conservation priorities. Things might be at a dire stage for the gibbons right now but if action is taken soon, without delay, it isn’t too late to save them. And doing so could become a prime example of a conservation success story.

What does “effective action” mean?

It’s complicated. 40 key actions are needed to grow the community and ensure the animals’ survival. Recommended initiatives include better monitoring and tracking systems, new canopy bridges between fragments of remaining forest so the gibbons can extend their territory safely, and keeping humans out of range.

More at stake than saving a species

There’s much more at stake than saving a species. The gibbons themselves are an important indicator of overall forest health, which means saving them will help conserve the illegal logging-ravaged and rubber plantation-infested forests they live in.

Article by The Rainforest Foundation.

(Story source: Zoological Society of London)

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - June 5, 2015 at 1:57 pm

Categories: Conservation   Tags:

Energy bills are predicted to rise, as temperatures soar

It’s time to rejoice, summer is finally here!

As a nation of weekend sun worshippers, we couldn’t be happier to see the rays shining through our windows and warming up our homes. However once the weekend is over and it’s back to business, our enthusiasm for a warm temperature starts to decline. After all, who wants to be stuck in a stuffy office for an entire day?

Summer months may turn the heat up on energy bills

Business owners who have consistently struggled with their energy bills may think that June will be the answer to their prayers, but unfortunately the warmer months may actually increase the size of energy bills for some companies. While it certainly does cost a large amount to have the heating running all of the time during the winter months, the addition of air conditioning throughout summer can also add a substantial chunk to your overall energy bills.

Air conditioning can increase a building’s overall energy consumption by 100%, according to the Carbon Trust. It takes up to ten units of electricity to produce just one unit of compressed air, when you consider how many air conditioning vents you have in an average sized office that operates at a typical 40 hour week, you can understand how summer energy bills rise so steeply.

Employee temperature wars can also cause energy bills to rise. Whatever time of the year it may be, there will always be some people who insist on having the heating on and others who are desperate to open all of the windows. This constant cooling and warming to meet employee demand can equate to a chaotic general temperature, as well as causing your energy bills to soar. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has estimated that electricity prices will rise by almost 30% for SMEs over the next five years, so the time has come to put our bad summer energy habits to bed.

In addition to this, brightly shining sun beaming into the office may seem pleasant at first but after spending an hour squinting at your computer screen it will be time to pull down the blinds and turn the lights on. Research by DECC revealed that lighting can create up to 40% of a business’ energy consumption, so it is crucial to keep these costs to a minimum.

Don’t take a vacation from being energy efficient

Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era by Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute 1st (first) edition [Hardcover(2011)]

Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has estimated that SMEs could reduce their energy bills by 18-25% by installing energy efficient measures around the office. But energy management is full-time, year-round job, which businesses should never take a break from.

Staff annual leave during the summer months means that everyone in the business should be even more vigilant when it comes to being energy efficient. While there may be less people in the office, it only takes a few pieces of equipment to be left on for a couple of weeks while people are away to significantly affect the cost of your energy bills.

It’s still not too late to transform your bad energy habits. Becoming more energy efficient doesn’t have to cost your business an arm and a leg, there are plenty of simple and cost effective strategies that can reduce your energy consumption.

Simple steps to saving money

  • To reduce the cost of your air conditioning, ensure that it is switched off in rooms that aren’t being used, for example meeting rooms and the kitchen.
  • Decide whether you are going to open windows or use the air conditioning to cool the room, never use both as these will waste energy.
  • Many systems operate with a controlled timer, so be sure to program the timer so that it doesn’t operate during weekends, bank holidays and evenings when employees are out of the workspace.
  • Utilise natural light by rearranging your office so that it doesn’t interfere with computer screens or people’s eyeline. If this is unavoidable, install sensored lights that are triggered by movement so that the lights will only switch on when people are working in the space.

For smaller businesses the DECC has released a guide for SMEs to enhance their energy efficiency. The report claims that energy prices are expected to rise by 30% over the next five years with a third of firms in the UK claiming it is the cost of energy which is a key barrier for growth. Despite this, many businesses are still falling into the trap of paying overly expensive energy tariffs. New regulations mean that it now only takes six weeks to switch suppliers and energy price comparison sites, such as Love Energy Savings, can make the switching process even simpler. A business would only need to take 10 minutes out of their day to enter their postcode and estimated energy consumption for the best deal to be highlighted to them.

Phil Foster, CEO of Love Energy Savings urges businesses to take action now “By implementing energy saving actions as soon as possible businesses could start saving money today. It is important that energy management is not pushed down to the bottom of the to-do list but starts to become a more important part of cash-flow and business management.”,-ventilation-and-air-conditioning-hvac

Author Bio

Phil Foster is the CEO of Love Energy Savings. Phil has always had a strong desire to support UK SMEs, helping them to make much needed savings on their energy bills. With that in mind, he created a business energy comparison service to help business owners not only improve their profits, but also save valuable time in the process of comparing and switching suppliers. Advocating energy efficiency and awareness of energy usage, alongside tariff comparison, he is committed to helping SMEs save money so they can continue to grow.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - June 5, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Categories: Eco Business, Energy   Tags:

How to Start Composting at Home

If your vegetable garden or flower beds are in need of a pick-me-up, the first thing you might consider is buying some fertilizer. However, most plant fertilizers are chemical in nature and provide only a few isolated nutrients. They do nothing to replenish or improve the soil your plants are growing in. For that reason, more home gardeners are opting to maintain their own compost bin for a source of free, natural and high-quality fertilizer. Best of all, it’s easier than you might think. Here’s how to get started.

Make Room

First, you have to decide where you want your compost heap. Keep in mind that full exposure to sunlight will aid the decaying process, so you’ll want it in a sunny location. Having it on a slight downward slope and in a bottomless enclosure will prevent excess moisture from building up and causing the heap to rot. Ample air circulation is the most critical element to successful composting. It helps the compost maintain the proper temperature and keeps it from becoming too wet. You should take care not to place your heap where it will be too sheltered from the wind.

Sourcing Materials

To start your own compost pile, you need to obtain some raw materials. This is one of the most interesting parts of the process as it lets you customize the end product. For instance, if you want to use it on your flowers, you could choose materials that are high in phosphorus, which supports blooming. For general composting, almost anything goes. Coffee grounds, egg shells, vegetable and fruit scraps, fallen leaves, tea bags, paper bags, cardboard and newspaper are all acceptable composting ingredients. However, items like meat, bones, fat, pet waste, plastic or glossy paper should not be composted. If you’re having trouble sourcing enough raw materials, try talking to your local coffee shop or produce stand to see if they’ll donate their grounds and old produce.

Tending the Heap

The most effort you’ll put into your compost heap is when you’re tending it. Every couple of weeks, you’ll need to turn the compost with a pitchfork. This ensures that everything decays evenly and spends time in the hot center. Because the temperatures in a healthy compost heap can get surprisingly high, it’s recommended to wear gloves when working in it. You must also make sure the pile isn’t too wet or dry. If it feels too wet, you should add more dry items like paper, cardboard, dry leaves or sawdust. If it’s too dry, spend a few minutes spraying it down with the hose. It should feel moist like well-drained soil.

Depending on the conditions in your particular compost bin, you may have usable compost within six weeks. This incredibly rich natural fertilizer can be tilled into the soil or sprinkled around plants to help provide nutrients and enrich the soil.

For more green living as well as other home ideas, please visit

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - June 5, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Categories: Eco Garden   Tags:

The Hidden Depths of the Ocean

New infographic on “The Hidden Depths of the Ocean”. This graphic is quite relevant with World Ocean Day taking place on June 8th. For example, did you know that the oceans cover 71% of the Earth’s surface and contains 97% of the Earth’s water? This infographic details some more interesting facts about the ocean as well as offers an insight into what you can expect to find in the depths below. The graphic was created by The Water Filter Men.

hidden depths

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - June 5, 2015 at 1:21 pm

Categories: Issues   Tags:

Next Page »