It's good to know that our divided political parties agree on something - that the UK is the place to be for tidal energy generation. Energy minister, Greg Barker and Labour shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex both spoke at the Renewable UK conference yesterday, announcing their mutual support of tidal projects, and plans to develop them in order to reduce carbon and boost the economy.
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Following an investigation by Ofgem, the big energy players in the UK have been told to trade fairly with smaller suppliers in order to open up the market. Energy companies will also have to be more transparent with their accounts and publish wholesale power prices in advance, making it easier for smaller energy companies to trade with domestic customers.
Energy prices have been on the rise in the UK for some time, and energy companies have become the target of many political agendas and public outcries. But the one area in which we are allowed to celebrate is the innovation of technology and the energy saving potential that we have as consumers. Electric heating has become cheaper, and we now use a third less electricity to light our homes than we did 16 years ago. So while energy prices are out of our control, we hold the power when it comes to energy efficient solutions within our homes.
In a big reveal earlier today, one of the UK's biggest consumer watchdogs poured even more scorn onto the energy market as they announced the Big Six received over 5 million complaints in 2013. Which? followed their announcement by saying the energy market in the UK was "broken" and that a full investigation was essential. This comes after Energy Minister, Ed Davey called for an investigation by Ofgem into a potential monopoly of the market and adds to the media tension currently surrounding the energy giants.
A few days ago we brought you news that Energy Secretary, Ed Davey had written an open letter to energy regulators, Ofgem. In the letter he expressed concern over Centrica owned British Gas and a potential monopoly hold on the UK energy market. Currently, nearly two thirds of the average household fuel expenditure goes on gas - where Centrica's profit margins are considerably higher. So what can we expect to happen in the coming weeks?
In the last 5 months we've all been waging war against the utility companies as our prices have crept up and their profit margins have stayed nicely intact, but who is really to blame for the increase in the cost of energy? Centrica owned British Gas have been a target lately, and energy minister Ed Davey has gotten behind the public in an open letter pleading regulators to take "radical" steps to repair the market. But some experts are calling on us to put the blame game on hold and look at the wider picture...
Imperial College London have recently carried out an interesting study which found that by 2020, up 40% of the UK's energy requirements could be generated by solar panels. Around half a million homes currently have solar panels installed, providing clean, green energy to power their energy efficient electric heating systems, with the surplus being fed back into the grid for profit through feed-in tariff schemes. Interest in solar and electric heating is booming, and by 2020 ten million homes are expected to have solar panels fitted.
Energy Minister, Ed Davey sent an open letter to regulators yesterday questioning the excessive profit margins of the Big Six, drawing particular attention to British Gas. He indicated that the profits announced by the energy giants were bigger than previously thought, and questioned the dominance of British Gas in what is increasingly looking like a monopolised energy market.
Plans were submitted today for the world's first tidal lagoon energy generation project at Swansea Bay. It's estimated that the lagoon could generate enough renewable energy to power 120,000 homes for at least 120 years. It's thought that if successful, the same technology could be used to eventually generate 10% of the UK's energy needs - a major step up on the renewables ladder.
As Scottish independence grows ever higher on agendas up and down the UK, the impact it may have on our energy prices has come under close scrutiny. Things were inflamed this week when Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint claimed that voting yes for Scottish independence would lead to higher energy prices. So, does she have a point or is this just a cheap political threat?