Energy news round-up: green stimulus package could cut energy bills, and more

Here’s the latest news from the energy sector this week...

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There's been a lot of energy news in the last few days. From reports of increased costs for the National Grid - which will be passed on to consumers - through to how technological advances in the green energy sector could transform homes into ‘mini power stations’ that generate their own energy, we've rounded up the most interesting energy news of the week so far below...

£2.8bn green stimulus package could cut energy bills

A study from the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group has found that making homes more energy efficient would generate more jobs and improve people’s lives, while helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It recommends that the Government should actively consider including energy efficiency as part of its strategy for economic recovery from Covid-19. 

Currently, 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions are from the housing sector, primarily from heat escaping through roofs, walls and windows. The study found that £2.8 billion invested over two years would support 42,500 jobs across the country, while helping a million households save an average of £270 on their energy bills. 

If you're worried about your energy bills now, the easiest way to reduce them is to run an energy comparison and switch to the best energy deal in your area. 

National Grid could have saved £133m over lockdown... but didn't

A greater number of electric vehicles (EVs) and smart chargers in Britain than we have at present could have generated a saving of up to £133 million for the National Grid during the lockdown, Fleet News has reported. 

An abundance of green energy generation, coupled with low energy demand, has created a number of challenges for National Grid over the last few months. The Flexibility First Forum - whose members include organisations such as Octopus Energy, Kaluza, Centrica, E.ON, Moixa and the Solar Trade Association - has claimed that if there had been more EVs with an intelligent charging system in place to support them, the grid operator could have made substantial savings. 

The National Grid has increased its costs by £500 million during the summer so far. The Grid has to pay generators to switch off infrastructure such as wind turbines, for example, when there is an excess of supply. These costs will ultimately be passed on to consumers via their energy bills. 

Electric vehicles can help remedy this situation through intelligent charging in periods of low demand and carbon intensity, thereby helping to make the system more resilient. 

Homes with green tech could be ‘mini power stations’ 

Plans for the installation of green technology in more than 10,000 homes throughout the Swansea Bay area in Wales could see these homes become ‘mini power stations’ that generate their own energy, while sending excess power to the National Grid. 

Solar panels, heat pumps and Tesla batteries could be installed in 3,300 new properties and 7,000 retrofitted homes. A pilot scheme in Neath is already underway, and the plan for the four west Wales local authorities of Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire has now been approved by a joint committee.

The £505 million project would be carried forward in the public sector first with expansion into privately-owned properties later on. The Welsh and UK governments would provide £15 million with the private sector contributing another £376 million and the remaining £114 million provided by energy efficiency programmes, some of which are already operating. 

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Robin Whitlock

Robin is a freelance journalist specialising in renewable energy, environmental issues, climate change and transport. He's written for Renewable Energy Magazine for almost a decade, covering all sub-sectors of the global renewable industry - from onshore and offshore wind, solar PV and solar thermal energy, to biomass, anaerobic digestion (AD), geothermal, energy efficiency and smart technology, electric vehicles and hybrids, and much more.