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18th May 2009 — Energetic confusion

On reviewing my energy situation I found a letter from our local energy company (EDF) dated 17th July 2008:

The electricity meter installed at your property has reached the end of its certified life and we need to replace it as soon as possible.

I wonder if they wanted to replace it with a more modern meter that makes it easier to manage my carbon footprint and saves me money. I had better give them a ring as I probably never got round to it before. I got quite excited about Ecotricity. I could see that any money I paid them would go straight to building more wind turbines. However here I have quickly found even worse arguments than those over carbon offsetting. First of all I heard reports on the radio that wind turbines have been accused of damaging peat bogs and releasing more carbon than they save. I need to look into that more, but so far I have found an account of 2003 damage to an Irish peat bog. Secondly Ecotricity is accusing Good Energy of false accounting and market distortions. I am inclined to stick with my current energy supplier for the moment but on a green tarif until I understand this part of the energy market better. Most of our energy bill actually happens to be gas but that is a different story.

21st May 2009 — Still confused

I have rung up EDF and arranged to have my meter upgraded on the 15th June. Apparently this is not going to benefit anyone or anything except meet a statuary requirement. I have switched our E.ON tariff to the green one. In hindsight I should have considered more carefully what I would be getting for my increased tariff but I suppose it was an act of desparation at not understanding the UK energy markets. For the moment the best overview of the market I can find is

22nd May 2009 — Wind turbines on peat bogs

I have got an answer from Ecotricity about the effect of wind turbines on peat bogs.

25th May 2009 — E.ON’s investment in renewables

I had written to E.ON about their coverage in the whichgreen website and I got this reply:

Hello and thank you for your email.

At E.ON we are tackling the twin challenges of security of supply and climate change with our multi-billion pound investment strategy.

In renewables, we’re one of the biggest players in the UK with 21 on and offshore wind farms already built, one of the UK’s largest biomass power stations opened last week and ambitious plans for tidal stream and marine power. In addition, we’re one of the partners in the London Array, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, and are currently building the 180MW Robin Rigg offshore wind farm in the Solway Firth. In total, our development portfolio could supply around a million homes and displace the emission of two million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

We are also looking at new ways of generating power from conventional sources. We’re currently building one of the world’s largest combined heat and power schemes at the Isle of Grain in Kent and are committed to make big cuts in the carbon intensity of our generation.

And part of that is the Kingsnorth project. The new power station would be around 20percent more efficient than any other coal project built in the UK and we’re investigating the possibility of creating the UK’s largest district heating scheme using the waste heat from the power station. In addition, we will be entering the station in the Government’s carbon capture and storage competition with the aim of proving the technology at Kingsnorth and then exporting it to countries like China and India where new coal stations are being built on a weekly basis.

While we build new power stations and renewable schemes, we will also be closing almost twice as much traditional coal capacity as we are building, looking at ways to provide sustainable energy solutions to public buildings and encouraging our customers to become more energy efficient.

Only by doing all of this – and by not becoming dependent on a single energy source such as imported gas – can we hope to both keep the UK’s lights on and to significantly help the fight against climate change.

E.ON have not really answered my question, but in any case according their future plans on their website, they are investing in renewables. I would like to nail down where that zero investment figure comes from.

27th May 2009 — Green paper

I got a letter from E.ON confirming that I was on a green tariff. Previously all my correspondence with them had been online, so I do not understand why I needed a letter. According to the letter I can get my bills delivered online but now I cannot work out where.

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