The Energy News Hub was created by OnGen to provide the most up to date and relevant renewable energy news. We have hand picked the most important and innovative stories to date. Click on the news story image to access the article in a new tab.  

Carbon emissions: Scale of UK fossil fuel support 'staggering'

23 January, 2020 – UK Export Finance, a government agency, is financially supporting overseas fossil fuel projects, spending billions of pounds despite a government commitment to decrease carbon emissions. When complete, these projects will emit 69 tonnes of carbon per year, nearly a sixth of the UK’s total annual emissions. The government will need to solve UKEF’s funding discrepancies ahead of COP26, which is set to be held in Glasgow in November. 

Planting trees cannot offset burning wood, warn experts after government advisers recommend it as renewable fuel

23 January, 2020 – Counter to the Committee on Climate Change, Duncan Brack, energy specialist at Chatham House, says that cutting down forests for renewable energy is counterproductive. Biomass provides the second most successful source of renewable energy after wind, providing 12% of the UK’s electricity in 2019. Brack states that most models do not consider that older trees absorb carbon faster and therefore simply replacing trees cut does not create a carbon neutral system. It is instead suggested that grassland crops and short rotation coppice are used instead of wood, presenting a much greener alternative.

New solar power source and storage developed

21 January, 2020 – A new form of thin solar sheets with energy storage is being developed for the UK with the aim to power buildings or charge vehicles off-grid. The layered film, developed by Solivus, can be bent into curved surfaces so damage to building integrity is prevented. This technology will give greater access for individuals and businesses to own their power supply, helping the UK towards its net zero targets. OnGen is excited to follow the progression of this technology.

Octopus Energy snaps up ENGIE UK's domestic supply business

20 January, 2020 – Octopus Energy has confirmed a deal to purchase the domestic supply arm of ENGIE UK, adding 70,000 domestic UK customers to their 1.4 million customer base. ENGIE UK state this move is in line with its strategy to focus on the net zero transition for businesses and local authorities, whereas Octopus looks forward to bringing their new customers renowned service, pricing and technology.

Is Scotland leading the way on climate change?

18 January, 2020 – With COP26 happening this December in Glasgow, is Scotland really leading the way on tackling climate change? Greenhouse gas emissions are half of what they were 30 years ago, however the hardest changes lie ahead. With a target of net zero by 2045, it is vital that Scotland shows the world the progress we are capable of. Want to make a difference? Why not consider onsite renewables for your home or business. Contact OnGen to start your renewable journey today.

Latest Government figures spark fears that UK's green economy is 'stagnating'

17 January, 2020 – The annual turnover in the UK’s low-carbon economy increased by only £6.2 billion between 2015 and 2018, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In this time, there as been an overall slight decrease in employment in the sector, attributed to cuts to solar power subsidies and the exclusion of onshore wind projects from the Contracts for Difference auction process. The green economy needs to be urgently embedded within the UK if we are to avoid an existential threat from the climate catastrophe.

SSE clears way for renewables with completion of £500m deal with Ovo Energy

15 January, 2020 – Ovo Energy confirmed its purchase of SSE’s household energy and services arm for £500 million. All 8,000 SSE staff will transfer to OVO, totalling to 10,000 employees overall. OVO aims for this acquisition to allow millions more people to access zero carbon living. Becoming an OVO customer? Why not benefit from their Smart Export Guarantee through installing onsite renewables. Contact us at OnGen to find out how you can kickstart your renewable energy journey today.

National Trust commits to net zero carbon by 2030

14 January, 2020 – The National Trust has planned to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030 through planting 20 million new trees, capturing 300,000 tonnes of carbon or the equivalent of 370,000 homes’ annual electricity output. The Trust also will invest in renewable energy and help people connect to the natural environment through a year-long campaign. Pledges like these are vital to mitigate the impacts of the climate emergency; we look forward to other organisations following suit.

TCR: Triads and tribulations for large energy users

10 January, 2020 – Chris Hurcombe, director of third party intermediary Catalyst Commercial, outlines key considerations regarding Ofgem’s Targeted Charging Review. From fixed prices hitting heavy power consumers the hardest to no TRIAD avoidance perks, the financial outlook for large companies doesn’t look positive. The best way to mitigate the impacts of these changes is to rely less on grid supply by installing onsite renewables. Contact us at OnGen to take the first step towards energy and cost savings.

Global energy use projected to nearly double by 2050

8 January, 2020 – Energy consumption is projected to increase by 50% worldwide between 2018 and 2050, led by growth in Asia and other regions where strong economic growth is driving demand. Demand increases will need to be met by supply, with a 79% increase in electricity generation needed. To tackle the climate emergency, renewables must be at the forefront of this increase. Take the first steps towards securing our future and start your renewable journey now through OnGen’s onsite renewable feasibility assessment software to find out what’s right for you.

Welsh solar farm to power residents and profit locally with Gower Power and Bristol Energy

7 January, 2020 – A community-owned solar farm is now giving access to 100% renewable energy for 300 residents and business in the Swansea area. The Gower Power Solar Storage scheme enables households and businesses to know where their energy is coming from and keeps profits in the local area when they choose the bespoke tariff developed by Gower Power and Bristol Energy. Funding from the Welsh Government has secured the addition of a Tesla battery, which will allow the farm to store and distribute green electricity. At OnGen, we can help communities take their first steps towards renewable generation and storage – contact us to start your renewable journey.

UK first: Hydrogen injected into gas grid as landmark trial gets underway

6 January, 2020 – A pilot project to inject zero carbon hydrogen into Keele University’s gas network is now live. Keele University’s gas network, connected to 100 homes and 30 faculty buildings, was seen as a perfect pilot option, as it could be safely isolated from the wider UK network. Developers believe that a 20% hydrogen blend rolled out across the UK could save six million tonnes of carbon emissions every year – the equivalent of taking 2.5 million cars off of the road.

UK's first net-zero offices certified in Manchester and Liverpool

6 January, 2020 – 11 office properties across Manchester and Liverpool have been declared as net-zero. Net-zero standards were met through building to BREEAM requirements, investing in energy efficiency and offsetting any remaining emissions through tree planting. Alongside this, Neath Port Talbot council has granted planning permission for a net-zero housing development equipped with onsite solar, battery storage and ground source heat pumps. Interested in net-zero? Contact OnGen to find out how you can kick-start your renewable journey today.

New rules for low carbon heating in Scots homes

5 January, 2020 – By 2024, new rules in Scotland will ensure all new homes will use renewable or low-carbon heating. This project will run alongside a £30 million investment in renewable heat plans. For each home, it is important that the correct renewable system is chosen and sized to meet the home’s forecast demand, which is where OnGen comes in. Our onsite feasibility assessment software can help inform which system and size unlock the highest carbon and monetary savings. Please contact us for more information.

Shell updates SEG to 3.5p/kWh days after scheme’s introduction

3 January, 2020 – Shell Energy has replaced their 0.001 p/kWh export tariff with 3.5 p/kWh days after the Smart Export Guarantee scheme introduction. Shell claim that their initial tariff was aimed to test the process. A tariff of 3.5 p/kWh places Shell firmly in the middle, within the company of SSE and EDF.

Social Energy comes out on top as Shell issues 0.001p/kWh SEG

2 January, 2020 – The UK Government’s Smart Export Guarantee came into effect on 1 January 2020, making energy suppliers with over 150,000 domestic customers required to release an export tariff above 0 p/kWh. Social Energy topped the list, with a tariff of 5.6 p/kWh, while Shell Energy came firmly at the bottom, only offering 0.001 p/kWh. Newer suppliers are leading the way – it is up to the Big Six and other large suppliers to follow in suit.

From smart meters to suppliers going bust - it's been an eventful decade for the energy industry: where are prices and production heading next?

31 December, 2019 – From Ofgem’s price cap to growth in renewables and the introduction of smart meters, this decade has seen large progressions in the energy market. Highlights include coal production has decreasing over 40%, 15 energy suppliers going bust and the Big Six losing their hold on the market. This article provides a complete rundown on where the market has come from and where it is headed next.

Renewables should be high on new UK government’s agenda as climate conference beckons – SSE

30 December, 2019 – On the run-up to COP26 in Glasgow, Managing Director of SSE, Jim Smith, calls on the UK government to shape the fight on climate change. COP26 will be an turning point for our climate, with the opportunity to pave the road to net zero five years after the 2015 Paris Agreement. Smith depicts a need for government to accelerate decarbonisation through industry and government collaborations, CfD auctions and addressing grid constraints to meet net zero targets.

Solar-storage hybrid feeds UK council

19 December, 2019 – Gridserve has completed a 34.7 MW solar farm combined with a 20 MWh battery storage system for Warrington Borough Council. The electricity will be sold on the open market, bringing millions of pounds into delivering vital council services. In addition, the council is also buying a 25.7 MW solar farm to supply the area directly, which will make it England’s first local authority to produce all its own electricity. This truly sets the bar for other local authorities, as we strive to tackle the climate emergency. At OnGen, we can help local authorities take their first steps towards renewable generation – contact us to start your renewable journey now.

UK renewables outperform gas

19 December, 2019 – UK Government figures show that from July to September this year, renewables outperformed gas for the first quarter ever, generating 38.9% and 38.8% of the UK’s energy mix respectively. Generation increases were seen across all categories of renewables, with wind and solar up by 22% and hydro up by 58%. This historic tipping point is great news for the net zero emissions targets, but will need to be sped up to effectively transition to clean power.

Biomass delivers ‘questionable carbon savings’, says new report

18 December, 2019 – Environmental thinktank Sandbag has published a new report calling for policymakers to support energy sources that allow near-immediate carbon and cost savings, stating that biomass doesn’t fall into this category. The lack of carbon savings can be attributed to the vast quantity of forest that is cut down to supply the fuel, Sandbag states. However, the jury is still out, as the Renewable Energy Association expresses that biomass power is an important part of keeping fossil fuels out of our energy mix.

Winter temperatures ‘could cost households an additional £12.9bn’

17 December, 2019 – Falling temperatures could see each household spending an average of £448 more this winter compared to the spring-summer period. 11% of people admit to being confused about how to heat their homes efficiently, so we need to shift to using our heating in a way that keeps us warm, while saving money and energy. A good way to achieve savings is by using onsite renewable heat, such as ground source heat or a combined heat and power system. Want to learn more? Contact OnGen to see which renewables are feasible for your site.

Southern Africa’s renewable energy fuel mix ‘puts the UK to shame’

16 December, 2019 – According to Business Electricity Prices, clean power only accounted for 11% of the UK’s final consumption, as opposed to the majority of Southern African nations, which are generating close to 100% renewable energy. Not only is the UK missing from the top 10 world ranking, but it only makes it to 59th position in terms of renewable generation. If we want to meet net zero targets, serious developments will need to be made. Luckily, OnGen are here to help businesses start their renewable energy journeys, so get in touch now!

Conservatives take the win – but what have they promised?

13 December, 2019 – The Conservative party won the UK General Election in a landslide, but what energy promises have they made? This article provides an overview of their key environmental policies. Their energy pledges include improving the energy efficiency of 2.2 disadvantaged homes, as well as the £1 billion Ayrton Fund, which will be used to develop affordable and accessible clean energy. Promises like these are proposed to help meet the net zero emissions by 2050 goal.

Four green policy concerns Boris Johnson must address immediately

13 December, 2019 – After delivering a Conservative Party majority, Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds the future of UK environmental legislation in his hands. This article provides an insightful outline of what should be at the top of Johnson’s green ‘to do’ list; from new environmental standards to fracking, Boris Johnson better get cracking.

Wind industry commits to greater gender diversity at industry events

12 December, 2019 – The Women in Wind Global Leadership Programme published a guide for ‘Best Practices for Gender Diversity at Industry Events,’ helping events address unconscious bias and unequal representation to promote greater gender diversity in the wind sector. To stay on-track for the Paris targets and UK’s own net zero targets, we need a larger renewables talent pool, which requires more female role models and positive gender norms in clean energy; increased diversity will raise our chances of meeting our climate targets.

Conservatives take £1m in election ‘dirty money’ from fossil fuel investors responsible for climate emergency, research finds

12 December, 2019 – The Conservative election campaign has received more than £1 million in ‘dirty money’ from fossil fuel investors. “The motives behind these donations are unknown, but there has to be suspicion about whether donors’ interests may shape the future government’s response to the climate crisis we’re in,” says Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK’s director of policy. We hope the government does not deviate from the net zero by 2050 target.

Drax pledges to be ‘world’s first’ carbon negative energy firm by 2030

10 December, 2019 – Drax pledged to be the world’s first carbon negative energy firm by 2030. Drax’s power plant, which already uses renewable fuel,  will burn wood pellets and use carbon capture technology to store the carbon emissions produced. Negative emissions technologies are an important aspect in meeting the UK’s net zero targets; we are excited to see Drax’s progress in meeting their targets.

Thousands were paid to use extra renewable electricity on windy weekend

9 December, 2019 – On the 8th of December, windfarms generated nearly 45% of the UK’s electricity, causing thousands of households with smart meter tariffs to be paid to use extra renewable electricity. Customers were told to set timers to take advantage of payments made during overnight use, with people earning between 1 to 5p per kWh used, rather than spending double this rate a few hours later. Sounds like a win-win to us!

'Win-win-win': Heat pumps under parks could warm five million homes

9 December, 2019 – Around 10% of the UK’s total peak heat demand could be supplied from heat pumps under public parks and green spaces, according to new research carried out by the climate charity Possible, the London Borough of Hackney and the social enterprise Scene. A third of all UK emissions comes from heating, so it is important to build our society on clean heat and this exciting research seems like the perfect start! Want to see if ground source heat would work in your area? Try our onsite renewable feasibility assessment, the OnGen Expert.

Wind turbine fears on horizon at Cairngorms

6 December, 2019 – The Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is investigating renewable energy options for Cairngorm mountain. To decide the appropriateness of different renewable technologies, they are procuring a contractor to carry out appraisal work. Assessing renewable feasibility is OnGen’s forte, considering aspects HIE noted such as scenery and environment. Our automated assessment software, the OnGen Expert, is an accessible and quick way to kickstart your renewable energy journey, so why not start now?

Labour plans will 'slow' climate change fight, says energy firm

5 December, 2019 – Interesting debate between what is best for meeting the net zero targets: nationalising or privatising the energy supply sector. Regardless of the election outcome, both private and public entities must work towards and focus on decarbonisation goals, leaving all potential political frustrations at the door.

Why ‘100% renewable energy’ pledges are not enough

2 December, 2019 – Although your business may say they are running on 100% renewable energy, if you are buying from the grid, this normally means that enough renewable energy is procured annually to offset all consumption. To truly be net zero, grid supplied fossil fuels must never be used. What better way of knowing where your electricity is coming from then by generating it yourself? Find out how to become your own supplier through our onsite renewable feasibility assessment software, the OnGen Expert.

Pointless emails: they’re not just irritating – they have a massive carbon footprint

26 November, 2019 – Research by OVO Energy indicates that 64 million unnecessary emails are sent every day in the UK, increasing our carbon footprint. If every adult in the UK sent one fewer ‘thank you’ email a day, over 16000 tonnes of carbon would be saved every year, equivalent to taking over 3000 diesel cars off the road. An interesting but important part of tackling the climate emergency – now we will think before we thank!

New York backs tech that cuts installation time for ground-source heat pumps

26 November, 2019 – Dandelion Energy claims its Sonic Drill Suite technology can reduce installation time for ground source heat pumps from up to one week to one day, lowering costs by up to 50%. Their mission to make geothermal energy available and affordable for everyone will help remove barriers to deployment, ultimately helping reduce harmful emissions. Interested in ground source heat? Why not check out our feasibility tool, the OnGen Expert, to see if it’s suitable for your site.

UK first: Solar power plant helps keep the lights on at night

25 November, 2019 – For the first time in the UK, a trial in East Sussex saw a solar farm successfully smooth voltage fluctuations at night. Reactive power voltage support was provided by these panels, which helps maintain voltage levels, allowing for more energy to be transported and increasing capacity. Innovative solutions like this are the key to addressing the UK’s future energy needs and we are excited to see how this project reshapes the sector.

Ofgem charges ahead with UK grid reforms

21 November, 2019 – Ofgem has released their final decision on the Targeting Charging Review, stating that fixed charges will be applied to all households and businesses in an attempt to fairly spread charges. Starting in 2021, generators will no longer receive payments for reducing their Transmission Demand Residual payments. Ofgem’s decision removes incentives for flexible technologies such as battery storage and risks damaging the UK’s ability to deploy cheap renewables quickly.

UK climbs world rankings for green energy attractiveness, EY says

20 November, 2019 – The UK has climbed the world rankings for investment in renewable energy, reaching 7th place. EY’s biannual renewable energy country attractiveness report states that the UK’s spending on renewables is picking up pace, despite national political uncertainty brought by Brexit. The drive towards net zero trumps domestic issues; there is no better time than the present to transform and decarbonise our energy sector.

Wind speeds are increasing worldwide in boost for renewables

19 November, 2019 – Average wind speeds rose 7% since 2010 in northern mid-latitude regions after a period of slowing following the late 1970s. If speed increase continues, wind power generation is predicted to increase by 37%, making it a great time to invest in wind. Interested in onshore wind? Why not try our onsite feasibility assessment tool, the OnGen Expert, to start your renewable journey now.

British Gas wins legal challenge against Ofgem over price cap calculations

13 November, 2019 – British Gas, supported by Npower, SSE, EDF, Eon and Scottish Power, won their appeal against Ofgem regarding the energy price cap, which Centrica claims cost their business £70 million. Ofgem sticks by their price cap, stating that it will remain in place to continue to protect households from unfair prices.

Thanks to sunflowers, solar panels could harvest 400% more energy

13 November, 2019 – Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles and Arizona State University have developed an innovative new type of solar technology that could harvest 400% more energy. The SUNbot, like sunflowers, can bend to the light to achieve optimal exposure to the sun. These novel technologies give us hope for the future.

Cheshire West & Chester Council to install solar plus storage

12 November, 2019 – Chesire West and Chester Council have announced their plans to install solar panels with battery storage across two estates at a total capacity of 250 kW. The council recognises that onsite renewables reduce their grid reliance, environmental impact and energy bills. Sounds like a win-win to us! Interested in starting your renewable energy journey? Why not try our onsite renewable feasibility assessment software, the OnGen Expert.

SSE looks to entice Aberdeen oil and gas contractors with offshore wind work

8 November, 2019 – Great transitions seen in our base country, Scotland, with employees being contracted from oil and gas work into offshore wind. It goes to show that renewable energy can both provide employment and protect the planet. We look forward to seeing the energy transition continue in Scotland and beyond.

Key milestones in generation transformation

4 November, 2019 – Helpful insights provided by Michelle Stephens on the current state of the UK’s energy market. Stephens outlines the benefits that onsite renewables bring to businesses: from lowered energy bills and heightened environmental credentials, the case for onsite renewables is clear. Want to find out how your company can start their renewables journey? Get in touch with us at OnGen and try our onsite renewables feasibility assessment software, the OnGen Expert.

Trump begins formal US withdrawal from Paris Agreement

4 November, 2019 – A deeply disheartening time as the US formally begins its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. There is still hope, as other countries continue to push climate change as a key issue in their agenda. The US will still be able to re-join in future, so let’s count on the new president!

Climate policies ‘could determine the UK’s next election’

30 October, 2019 – A new study by ClientEarth found that 63% of UK adults believe that global warming is the biggest issue humanity is facing, with 54% saying that climate change will influence the way they vote in the next general election. With the declared climate emergency, let’s be hopeful this issue stays pressing in the public’s minds!

Guest Blog: Stuart Reid – The road to decarbonisation – what steps should businesses be taking now?

28 October, 2019 – Stephen Reid, Managing Director at AMP Clean Energy, provides insight into the future of onsite renewables in a post-Brexit and TCR UK. He states a focus on renewable heat investment will help decarbonise without the potential ramifications from TCR. The Industrial Energy Transformation Fund provided by the government will also be launching next year – it is not the end for onsite generation!

Tesco unveils major green electricity project, including 187 onsite rooftop solar installs

28 October, 2019 – Tesco has just revealed their new green electricity project, which includes rooftop solar on 187 of their sites, as well as ground-mounted solar and onshore wind farms. Their new portfolio aims to provide 10% of electricity from onsite generation and contribute to their goal of 100% renewable electricity use by 2030. Want to see how your business can do the same? Check out the OnGen Expert, our tool to assess feasibility of onsite renewables.

Net Zero: UK should aim install 25 million EV chargers and 22 million heat pumps, report claims

24 October, 2019 – A new study finds that 25 million EV charging points and 22 million heat pumps will need to be installed to meet the UK’s net zero by 2050 goal. Heat pumps are powered by electricity to absorb heat from either the outside air or the ground. We look forward to contributing to the increased quantities of installations through our online feasibility platform, the OnGen Expert.

EU approves UK’s Capacity Market scheme

24 October, 2019 – This week, the European Commission approved the Capacity Market scheme after a suspension in November 2018. Chief Executive of Energy UK said this will help ensure supply security at the lowest cost at times of high demand. The Capacity Market is depicted as constantly evolving and hopefully will help drive a net zero economy.

How UK's disused mine shafts could be used to store renewable energy

21 October, 2019 – Great energy solutions provided by fellow Edinburgh based start-up, Gravitricity. We look forward to seeing your energy storage innovation deployed across mines.

Smart Export Guarantee: neither smart, nor much of a guarantee

16 October, 2019 – A helpful explanation of our future under the Smart Export Guarantee. A key point is made – although the level of subsidy is less as compared to the feed-in tariff, the energy bill savings from having onsite renewables are still high. With only exports accruing revenue, it is important to size the new renewables scheme to the site’s energy demand, which is precisely what the OnGen Expert can do.

Brexit uncertainty ‘is delaying hundreds of innovative energy projects’

15 October, 2019 – According to a study by Schneider Electric, 85% of business leaders feel torn between doing the right thing for society and doing the right thing for the performance of their business. Onsite renewables give you the benefit of doing both: save the planet and save money at the same time!

UK renewable energy generation tops oil and gas for first time, analysis suggests

14 October, 2019 -The months of July, August and September were the first quarterly period where renewables outpaced fossil fuels in UK history. This is exciting for not just the environment, but consumers who are benefiting from lower electricity prices. Hopefully, increased renewable use continues the fast action against climate change.

Undersea cable to restore renewable energy to Guernsey

10 October, 2019 – Guernsey will now be connected to renewable energy supplied by France thanks to a new undersea cable. This new connection means they are on the European grid, helping secure supply and enhance decarbonisation. We look forward to seeing the results once operational next month.

Five tips for success with renewable energy

10 October, 2019 – Great insight into how to be successful with a renewable energy project, from feasibility to installation stages. Farms are often a great location for solar due to the lack of shade. Interested in starting your renewable journey? Why not use our feasibility assessment, the OnGen Expert? Please contact us for more information!

To keep the lights on during California’s blackouts, people are using solar power

9 October, 2019 – An unprecedented blackout has left over a million Californians without power in an attempt to avoid the spread of wildfires. Onsite electricity generation and storage can reduce grid reliance at a time when, in some places, the grid cannot be relied upon. We hope power returns to California soon.

Ofgem: UK’s progress in cutting emissions has slowed

3 October, 2019 – In the UK, 2018 had the smallest reduction in cutting greenhouse gas emissions since 2012. After the declared climate emergency, investment in renewable technologies is increasingly important. Our software can assess onsite renewable energy feasibility for commercial and industrial properties. Try it now to not only see your carbon savings, but the financial payback.

Edinburgh Uni granted £1.12m for hydrogen storage research

2 October, 2019 – Congratulations to the team at Edinburgh University for receiving a grant regarding hydrogen storage research. It is great to see their continued investment in renewable technologies, especially after their use of the OnGen Expert.

Edinburgh University assessed their onsite renewable potential to meet their carbon neutral promise by 2040, ultimately uncovering 4000 tonnes of lifetime carbon savings.

Buying corporate renewable energy – a quick guide

26 September, 2019 – Informative guide to corporate renewable energy by Rasmus Nedergaard, explaining what needs to be tackled before a company begins their renewable journey. Our software, the OnGen Expert, addresses considerations Nedergaard raises, including planning and financial feasibility. Nedergaard states there’s a renewable solution for every company, why not find yours?