Business News: DECC scrapped – 29th July 2016

DECC scrapped in government reshuffle

So what is new over the last couple of weeks? Well following Theresa May’s appointment, DECC – the office responsible for coming up with our energy blueprint – has been scrapped. Instead the energy remit has been moved to Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. I guess rather than seeing the scrapping of DECC as a negative, the fact it is now wrapped up with business strategy may been there will be more focus and urgency regarding the energy sector going forward.

The new boss  (replacing Amber Rudd) is Greg Clark; he comes from a business background so it’s unclear what his appointment is grounded on, in terms of environmental matters. But he is no doubt going to be a busy boy as there is much to do in terms of getting a succinct action plan in place to deal with the impending energy shortage on the horizon. The only clues we have as to his green credentials are a few papers that he has written on the benefits of developing a low-carbon economy, so fingers crossed!

Hinkley is given the green light and then delayed within the same day!

There were two major developments on Hinkley last night.

First was the news that EDF had agreed to press ahead with the new nuclear power plant, despite soaring costs. It was clear  that at board level there were mixed feelings, with one director leaving – Gérard Magnin said Hinkley Point was “very risky” in his resignation letter to EDF’s chief executive.

The second development, just hours after EDF’s announcement, was from our very own government – a further review was announced delaying the works from starting. The timing seemed particularly strange and it is sure to have caught the EDF executives off-guard. A final decision as to whether or not Hinkley will ever get the go ahead is set for the Autumn.

Battery storage to become more affordable in 2017?

Battery storage is becoming more and more important here in the UK. The reduction in the feed-in tariff has made batteries a key component of solar systems nowadays, giving you the ability to store electricity you produce during the day and use it during the evening. It is still expensive to install battery storage though, and is really only being done at the moment by early adopters. There was good news over the weekend though in that Tesla – the electric car manufacturer over in the States – are doubling their workforce on their new Gigafactory. The existing workforce of 500 is being doubled to 1000, who will be working seven days a week on two shifts in an effort to start churning out lithium ion cells by early 2017. This $5bn factory is going to revolutionise the battery industry, potentially taking the price of batteries down by 70% due to the vast economies of scale they will be able to achieve, as well as better chemistry and supply chain management. It is therefore highly probable that batteries will become far more mainstream over the coming years. Good news for those 600,000 + properties here in the UK with solar PV in their home!

Over the coming weeks we are going to make solar battery storage a bit of a feature, so make sure you look out for it!

BBC and Sky ‘McJob headlines’ silence £300m offshore wind investment

In other large infrastructure news, one project which is certain to get off the ground (or should I say set to sail the high seas…) is Vattenfall’s £300m investment into offshore wind power off the coast of Aberdeen. Despite the sums of money involved and this investment guaranteeing 1000s of existing jobs and 1000s of new highly skilled ones, it didn’t even get slight mention on any of the mainstream media. This is so disappointing – Glaxo’s £250m investment into pharmaceuticals and 5,000 new McDonald jobs, on the other hand, were enthusiastically praised.

After lots of legal wrangling and a certain Donald J Trump getting involved in the process (for all the wrong reasons), finally the hurdles were cleared. Vattenfall, which has already invested millions into the UK renewables industry, has stuck to its guns and carried on with the investments (in spite of the Brexit vote). The company clearly thinks it’s onto a winner here, which is to fully and enthusiastically back offshore wind power technology. With prices coming down considerably every time new ones (turbines) spring up, it clearly makes sense to carry on forward.

Finally – in the office!

It feels like we have driven the length and breadth of Britain this week, growing our installer network and delivery training. The good news is that each and every day new installers are joining the GreenAge network!

We have also overseen the launch of two new sites by our sister company GreenAge Supplies. Infrared4homes and Sheepwool4homes have both had a huge overhaul, offering tonnes of new and exciting products and early feedback is overwhelmingly positive.

Anyway that’s it from us – if you are off for your summer break over the next week or so, ENJOY!