Tag Archives: Energy

Five reasons to get a heat pump

It is now cheaper than ever to install cleaner, more energy efficient heating solutions thanks to the government’s new £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

Homeowners and small businesses across England and Wales can now apply for vouchers to get thousands of pounds off replacing their oil and gas boilers with clean heating systems.

Under the scheme, which will run for 3 years, property owners will be able to get:

  • £5,000 off the cost and installation of an air source heat pump
  • £5,000 off the cost and installation of a biomass boiler
  • £6,000 off the cost and installation of a ground source heat pump

Phil Hurley, Chair of the Heat Pump Association said:

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme is a great opportunity for householders to make their home more energy efficient and we encourage anyone thinking about switching out their oil or gas boiler to make use of the grants.

The upfront funding available means that heat pumps have never been more accessible, making it easier than ever for households to reduce their energy bills and carbon footprint.

Here are 5 reasons why you should consider swapping your oil or gas boiler, or direct electric heating, for a heat pump:

1. Reduce your energy bills

Moving to a heat pump means you can avoid the volatile prices associated with gas and oil. If you are using oil, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) or electric heating, you could see a reduction to your energy bill if you move to a heat pump.

2. No VAT to pay on installation

The government has recently announced 0% VAT on the installation of heat pumps and biomass boilers, which will last for 5 years, further reducing the cost of installation.

3. Reduce your carbon footprint and combat climate change

Heat pumps are significantly more efficient than traditional boilers and use cleaner electricity, so will reduce your home’s carbon footprint. A heat pump takes heat at a low temperature from the air or ground, increases that heat to a higher temperature and transfers it into your home to provide heating and hot water.

4. Save time and storage space by stopping fuel deliveries

If you’re using oil or LPG, you’ll no longer need to deal with fuel deliveries and can save space with not needing the storage for this anymore.

5. Get ahead of the curve

Heat pumps are an important part of the future of heating, and installing one now will give you access to the latest technology and allow you to future proof your home.

Check if you are eligible for the scheme or find out more.

How does Nuclear energy in the UK work ? [ANSWERED]

Why nuclear power?

In light of high global gas prices, we need to ensure Britain’s future energy supply is bolstered by reliable, affordable, low carbon power that is generated in this country.

New nuclear is not only an important part of our plans to ensure greater energy independence, but to create high-quality jobs and drive economic growth.

Large-scale nuclear is a very low-carbon technology, which provides the reliable baseload power we need at scale from a very small land area; Hinkley Point C, for example, will power around 6 million homes from a just a quarter of a square mile.

Is nuclear power safe?

Yes. As confirmed by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, nuclear power plants ‘are among the safest and most secure facilities in the world,’ and nuclear power is one of the safest forms of energy generation.

For context, the annual radiation dose to an adult living beside a new nuclear plant is much less than taking one trans-Atlantic flight or eating 100g of Brazil nuts – neither of which have heavy radiation.

In the UK, we have a well-respected regulatory system which reflects international best practice, and an industry which places an extremely high value on safety, achieving world-leading health and safety standards every time it is examined.

Nuclear power has operated in the UK for decades without incident, and all UK nuclear operators are answerable to robust and independent regulators – the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the appropriate environmental regulator. If the ONR judged that any nuclear installation was not safe or secure it would not be allowed to operate.

How does nuclear power work?

Traditional nuclear power plants use heat produced during nuclear fission to produce steam. The steam is used to spin large turbines that generate electricity. Nuclear power plants heat water.

In nuclear fission, atoms are split apart to form smaller atoms, releasing energy. Fission takes place inside the reactor of a nuclear power plant. At the centre of the reactor is the core, which contains uranium fuel split into ceramic pellets.

Each ceramic pellet produces about the same amount of energy as 150 gallons of oil. These energy-rich pellets are stacked end-to-end in 12-foot metal fuel rods. A bundle of fuel rods, some with hundreds of rods, is called a fuel assembly. A reactor core contains many fuel assemblies.

Both the Committee on Climate Change and the International Energy Agency have highlighted the role for new nuclear electricity generating capacity, in partnership with renewables, as a key element of achieving net zero. A recent report by the UN Economic Commission for Europe was clear that “the world’s climate objectives will not be met if nuclear technologies are excluded” from future decarbonisation.

What about nuclear waste disposal?

The government is committed to using Geological Disposal Facilities (GDF) to dispose of nuclear waste.

GDF is internationally recognised as the best long-term solution for dealing with radioactive waste.

We need a sustainable solution for the radioactive waste that has already accumulated over many decades. It’s currently stored safely in facilities around the UK, but this isn’t a long term solution and we will be moving towards geological disposal for new and existing waste.

Local engagement events are underway for local people to find out more about a GDF and what it would mean for the community that hosts it.

A GDF is a multi-billion-pound infrastructure investment and will provide skilled jobs and benefits to the community that hosts it for more than 100 years. It is also likely to involve major investments in local transport facilities and other infrastructure.

What is the government currently doing to support nuclear power?

The strategy will see a significant acceleration of nuclear, with an ambition of up to 24GW by 2050 to come from this safe, clean, and reliable source of power. This would represent up to around 25% of our projected electricity demand. Subject to technology readiness from industry, Small Modular Reactors will form a key part of the nuclear project pipeline.

A new government body, Great British Nuclear, will be set up immediately to bring forward new projects, backed by substantial funding, and we will launch the £120 million Future Nuclear Enabling Fund this month. We will work to progress a series of projects as soon as possible this decade, including Wylfa site in Anglesey. This could mean delivering up to 8 reactors, equivalent to one reactor a year instead of one a decade, accelerating nuclear in Britain.

We are committed to building the first new nuclear power station in a generation at Hinkley Point C in Somerset, which will provide 3.2 GW of secure, low carbon electricity for around 60 years to power around 6 million homes and provide 25,000 job opportunities.

EDF are the lead investor building Hinkley Point C. They are targeting the first reactor coming online in June 2026. The developer is fully funding the project.

We have been in constructive negotiations on the Sizewell C project in Suffolk since January 2021, as the most advanced potential project in the UK. If approved Sizewell C would be a replica of Hinkley Point C, providing electricity for 6 million homes, and creating thousands of high value jobs nationwide.

In January we provided £100 million of funding for the Sizewell C developer to invest in the project to help bring it to maturity, attract investors, and advance to the next phase in negotiations.

As set out in the 2021 Spending Review, up to £1.7 billion of funding is available to support approval of at least one new nuclear power plant this Parliament.

The Nuclear Energy (Financing) Act received Royal Assent last week. The Act will enable use of the Regulated Asset Base funding model for new nuclear projects, which will unblock obstacles to developing these projects and cut the cost of financing them.

The Advanced Nuclear Fund  includes up to £210 million announced in November 2021 for Rolls-Royce to develop the design for one of the world’s first Small Modular Reactors. This could be deployed in the UK in the early 2030s to turbocharge UK nuclear capacity.

We are also establishing a new Future Nuclear Enabling Fund of up to £120 million to provide targeted support for new nuclear and make it easier for new companies to enter the market.  

What are Small Modular Reactors (SMRs)?

Small Modular Reactors are smaller versions of conventional water-cooled nuclear reactors. Designs come in different sizes but have power output roughly a fifth to a third of the larger and more traditional reactors at Hinkley Point C.

There are a wide range of new reactor technologies under development around the world. Many designs have the potential for a range of applications beyond low-carbon electricity generation, including production of hydrogen, direct heat for industrial or domestic use or nuclear waste management.

The UK government believes that SMRs could play an important role alongside large nuclear as a low-carbon energy source to support a secure, affordable decarbonised energy system. They can be easily manufactured away from the sites where they are used and deployed where needed and could be a transformative technology for the UK’s industrial heartlands.

What are Advanced Modular Reactors (AMRs)?

AMRs are the next generation of nuclear power. These reactors use novel and innovative fuels, coolants, and technologies to generate extreme heat for industrial applications as well as for electricity to power people’s homes.

They take advantage of the same modular-building principles as SMRs, making them more flexible to deploy.

We have committed up to £385 million in the Advanced Nuclear Fund (ANF) to support SMRs and AMR development. This includes up to £210 million awarded as a grant to Rolls-Royce SMR to develop their SMR design, which will be matched by industry.

This fund will be part of the measures the government will take to inform investment decisions during the next Parliament on further nuclear projects.

The ANF also includes funding for progressing plans for an ambitious Advanced Modular Research, Development & Demonstration (RD&D) programme which aims to enable an AMR demonstration by the early 2030s, at the latest. We recently announced that High Temperature Gas Reactors (HTGRs) will be the technology focus for this programme.

How long does it take for a nuclear plant to come online?

The timeframe for new nuclear projects coming online varies considerably depending on a range of factors.

Large-scale nuclear projects do have long-construction periods, but Small Modular Reactors for example could be deployable during the early 2030s, with innovation in manufacturing and construction having the potential to bring down build time further.

What’s happening to the older nuclear power stations?

EDF, which operates all of the UK’s Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors (AGRs) as well as Sizewell B, have extended the lifetime of many of the power stations built in the 1970s and ‘80s in the UK.

However, when nuclear stations reach the end of their generating capability, they move into the next phase of their lives which is to remove the fuel and to prepare for decommissioning.

This process is handled by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), a government agency with high-level technical expertise in handling this process in a safe and secure manner.

There are currently 6 generating stations across England and Scotland operated by EDF Energy. Sizewell B, the UK’s only Pressurised Water Reactor, is expected to continue generation past 2028.

The AGR stations at Torness, Hinkley Point B, Heysham 1, Heysham 2 and Hartlepool will end generation between 2022 and 2028.

Two other AGR stations, Dungeness B and Hunterston B, recently ended generation to move into the final defueling phase and then decommissioning.

In terms of future use for these sites, the NDA have a clear mission to safely decommission them, freeing up land for future uses.

The NDA welcomes engagement from all stakeholders with a potential future use of land and have a history of engagement and land transfer across their portfolio.

Sungrow Supplies Statera’s 362 MW/391 MWh Energy Storage Project in the UK

Sungrow, the global leading inverter solution supplier for renewables, announced that the Company partners with Statera Energy, a market leader in the provision of flexibility to the UK grid, to supply a 362 MW/391 MWh energy storage project in the UK. The first phase of the project was grid-connected in Q1, 2022, while the rest will be brought online this year as well.

The independent power producer Statera Energy will adopt Sungrow’s ST3727kWh-3450UD-MV high-efficiency turnkey energy storage system solution with enhanced safety to develop subsidy-free energy storage capable of discharging power at times of peak demand or under-production in multiple suburbs across the UK. More importantly, the project will help the UK meet its Capacity Market objective of achieving long-term security of supply and contribute to the offsetting of the risk of its increasing reliance on wind generation by strengthening the National Grid’s Dynamic Containment frequency response service.

With UK’s electricity system currently experiencing lower inertia and larger, more numerous losses than ever before. Faster acting frequency response products are needed because system frequency is moving away from 50 Hz more rapidly as a consequence of imbalances.

On January 27 of 2021, UK electricity system operator National Grid began allowing the stacking of revenues in parts of the Balancing Mechanism which has been of significant importance to battery asset owners. The National Grid expects the additional flexibility and revenue stacking to increase the efficiency of battery assets delivering the service, and increase competition which would, in turn, reduce costs to the consumer.

We have partnered with Sungrow because of its proven track record, the quality and the integrated nature of its product offering. Statera believes that battery storage will play a pivotal role in facilitating the transition to low carbon generation and will continue to work with Sungrow on coming projects in the UK in 2022,” said Tom Vernon, Managing Director of Statera Energy Limited.

Since opening its Milton Keynes branch in 2014, the local team of Sungrow UK, a subsidy of Sungrow, has realized significant traction in the United Kingdom with tens of energy storage applications. In addition, Europe’s largest energy storage project, the 100 MW/100 MWh Minety plant with Sungrow’s 1500V energy storage system solutions has been operating stably and efficiently for about one year.

Image – Sungrow Supplies Statera’s 362 MW/391 MWh Energy Storage Project in the UK

Boris Johnson meets nuclear experts and pushes for more nuclear power plants

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosted a roundtable at Downing Street yesterday with leaders from the nuclear industry to discuss how to improve domestic energy security and rapidly accelerate nuclear projects in the UK.

The Prime Minister made clear the vision for nuclear to be a major part of the UK’s future energy system as a clean, reliable and safe energy source. He set out this government’s commitment to supporting the industry to develop a thriving pipeline of future nuclear projects in the UK in a cost-effective way.

Industry representatives set out the various technologies and projects they are developing, from larger nuclear power plants to small modular reactors, capitalising on both British and international expertise.

The Prime Minister invited views on how the UK can accelerate rapid progress on securing new nuclear capacity. They discussed the benefits of scaling up investment and removing barriers facing development, agreeing to work together to help projects become operational more quickly and cheaply.

The Prime Minister and attendees also reflected on the need to build strong skills and supply chains to support the UK nuclear industry.

The roundtable comes ahead of the publication of the Government’s energy security strategy this month, with renewable energy, nuclear and domestic gas all a crucial part of achieving its aims.

After the roundtable, the Prime Minister met with apprentices from EDF Energy and saw a model of Rolls Royce’s Small Modular Reactor design.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay and Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Helen Whatley also attended the roundtable.

Organisations who attended included: Nuclear Industry Association, Aviva Investors, Balfour Beatty, Bechtel Group Incorporated, EDF Energy, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, L&G, MACE, NAMRC, Nuclear Power Jacobs, NuScale, Rolls Royce, Rothesay Life, Westinghouse Electric Company, Urenco, and USS.

Next generation of heat networks to power UK’s green revolution

Homes and businesses will be made greener as low-carbon energy is today placed at the heart of the latest round of funding for heat network projects across England.

The new £270 million Green Heat Network Fund, announced by the government today (Tuesday, 7 September), will only support low-carbon technologies like heat pumps, solar and geothermal energy in the roll out of the next generation of heat networks which will enable more towns and cities to take up this tried and tested technology from 2022.

Heat networks supply heat to buildings from a central source, avoiding the need for households and workplaces to have individual, energy-intensive heating solutions – such as gas boilers. At present, there are over 14,000 heat networks in the UK, providing heating and hot water to around 480,000 consumers.

Heat networks have the potential to be a cost-effective way of reducing carbon emissions from heating. They are the only way that larger-scale renewable and recovered heat sources – like the heat from large rivers and urban recovered heat, such as from the London Underground – can be utilised.

The previous Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP) has provided more than £165 million of funding for schemes across England and Wales since 2018.

The new Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF) successor scheme will go even further, with applications only being supported if they include low-carbon heat-generating technologies, such as heat pumps, waste heat and energy from geothermal sources.

The successor scheme is set to play a significant role in kick-starting market demand for heat pumps, which will drive down costs for consumers and delivering a mix of low-carbon heating solutions as we incentivise people to gradually transition away from fossil fuel boilers over the next 15 years.

With heat in buildings being one of the largest sources of UK carbon emissions, accounting for 21% of the total, there is an urgent need to deliver a mix of new, low-carbon heating solutions to meet our legally-binding target to end the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050.

Energy Minister Lord Callanan said:

Finding a mix of innovative solutions to how we heat our homes in the most affordable way is going to be vital as we support people to gradually transition away from gas boilers over the next 15 years.

Today’s announcement shows we are going even further in our goals to expand this tried and tested heat networks technology, making even more use of the likes of recovered heat from the London Underground to heat our homes.

The Green Heat Network Fund will also allow us to drive forward the new, cost-effective and low-carbon technologies we need to kick-start new industries and support new jobs in the low-carbon technology sector as we build back greener from the pandemic.

Although heat networks currently meet approximately 2% of the overall UK demand for heating, the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has estimated that, with continued support, they could provide 18% by 2050 – which is why the government is driving investment through the Green Heat Network Fund.

The Heat Networks Investment Project had focused on accelerating the growth of the heat network market and has permitted fossil fuel sources of heat provided they offer carbon reductions and will be replaced by low-carbon alternatives over time.

However, the successor scheme will incentivise new and existing heat networks in England to move away from high-carbon sources, as well as exploiting waste-heat opportunities while bringing down costs for consumers.

The Green Heat Network Fund is expected to fund the delivery of an estimated 10.3Mt of total carbon savings by 2050 or the equivalent of taking 4.5 million cars in England off the road for a year.

Also being published today is an assessment of the potential for future heat networks to be sited across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The study identifies opportunity areas that could be best-placed to support future heat network projects and how much heat could be supplied by them.

It identifies areas for district heating in each of the four nations separately across the UK by combining heat demand data and potential sources of waste heat to determine where heat networks could be commercially viable.