Energy news round up: new eco homes can be heated for just £1 per day, and more

Energy news
Ilke Homes and Engie: eco homes in Robert Street, Woolwich
(Image credit: Ilke Homes and Engie: Robert Street, Woolwich)

Over the last seven days we've seen big green energy news, with the announcement that new eco-homes constructed in Greenwich are the greenest ever built in the UK. Meanwhile, households could see lower energy bills, if a new report from the Institute for Public Policy Research is acted upon by the Government; and more. Here's all the energy news from the last week...

New eco homes will be the greenest in Britain 

Zero-carbon modular homes constructed in Greenwhich by ilke Homes and ENGIE will be among the most environmentally friendly homes ever built in the UK. According to PBC Today, each building has been installed with solar panels and heat pumps, and will be able to export excess energy back to the grid.

Manufactured offsite, the houses were constructed using digital design tech such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), which enables manufacturers to vastly improve how airtight a building is, as well as improve quality. Precision-engineering techniques also created high levels of energy efficiency.

As a result, the new homes will have an EPC rating well above the top EPC ‘A’ category. Occupants will be able to heat them for as little as £1 per day, generating huge savings on energy bills, no matter which energy supplier they're signed up to.

Government urged to increase support for heat pumps 

A report released by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has found that the Government is supporting the installation of only 2 per cent of the amount of heat pumps that are needed each year if the UK is to meet its zero-carbon goal. 

An increase in heat pumps could enable householders to cut their energy bills, reducing the country’s carbon emissions and creating around 275,000 jobs in England alone. 

According to the IPPR, there will be a role for different technologies - but heat pumps should be favoured over hydrogen boilers as they are already readily available, will likely to be cheaper to run, and don't rely on natural gas imported in large quantities from abroad.

Large-scale battery storage boom could be triggered

energy bills

(Image credit: Getty)

The government is to pass legislation that will enable large-scale energy storage projects to move forward without the added worry of red tape and higher costs from the planning system. 

Soon, battery storage projects will be able to apply for planning permission via local planning rules. This will mean that the development process for projects will be quicker and easier, potentially triggering a boom in large-scale energy projects. 

Kwasi Kwarteng, the Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, said that the key to capturing the full value of renewables is ensuring homes and businesses can be powered by green energy, even when the sun isn’t shining or the wind blowing. 

Iconic hydro power station to balance UK’s energy supply 

Yorkshire-based Drax Power is to collaborate with the National Grid by supplying critical system support services from its Cruachan Power Station. The aim is to safeguard power supplies as the UK transitions to renewables - a move that's expected to save ­consumers more than £120 million. 

The power station, built inside a mountain, will use its turbines to make the plant act like a giant battery, helping reduce the risk of power cuts. 

Julian Leslie, ESO head of networks, said: “This approach – creating a market for inertia and other stability services – is the first of its kind anywhere in the world and is a huge step forward in our ambition to be able to operate the GB electricity system carbon-free by 2025.”


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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.