Fancy having your gas or electricity turned off by someone somewhere you don’t know? Sounds far fetched? Well Russian premier Vladimir Putin has done it to the Ukraine – and now smart meters mean that its quite possible energy companies (and do you know who owns your energy company – or who will in five years time?) will be able to do the same – despite what the UK Government says: John Naughton explains in the Observer in his article Why smart meters might not be so clever after all asking the question “Smart meters will be widespread in the UK by the end of the decade, but has the government thought through the security ramifications?”.
Investment fund Greencoat UK Wind has announced that it has invested the entire £260 million it raised in March into six already up and running UK windfarms.
Due to the increasing use of mobile data the digital economy is now approaching a tenth of the world’s electricity use, according to a new report. Carried out by technology investment and advisory firm, Digital Power Group, the report highlights how cloud computing services and the substantial data usage of a typical smartphone user is behind this significant energy consumption. According to the report, the world’s Information Communications Technologies (ICT) ecosystem uses about 1,500 TWh of electricity annually, equal to all the electricity generated in Japan and Germany combined and as much electricity as was used for global illumination in 1985. Google has estimated its carbon footprint per user, and says it is equivalent, on a monthly basis, to driving a car for one mile.
A record year for entries has made for an incredibly strong shortlist for this year’s Sustainability Leaders Awards – find out who made the cut here The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony and dinner on November 21st across the 15 categories, including the IEMA Graduate of the Year Award. With the exception of the Sustainability Leader: Consultancy award, all of the categories below are judged a prestigious panel, chaired by Environment Agency chairman Lord Chris Smith
WRAP has underlined its long-term commitment to the circular economy, labelling it “exciting territory” that needs further support if it is to be mainstreamed. The programme’s chairman Peter Stone said that his organisation intends to build on its track record as a respected facilitator in this space, working with business on collaboration and helping to research and develop practical solutions that could push forward circularity.
TUI Travel has achieved its carbon reduction target of 6% two years ahead of schedule, helping save the company £16m in 2012. The reduction was due to operational efficiencies, fuel conservation activities, capacity amendments and airline enhancements, according to the group’s latest Sustainable Holidays report.
Whilst Cuadrilla are facing the brunt of protesters anger over fracking, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that Centrica have picked up a 25% stake in Cuadrilla’s licence to explore the shale gas field in Lancashire – back in April 2011, a tremor measuring 2.3 on the Richter scale was felt in the Lancashire seaside resort, followed by an event in May that measured 1.5 on the scale and Cuadrilla was forced to admit that “It is highly probable that the hydraulic fracturing of Cuadrilla’s Preese Hall-1 well did trigger a number of minor seismic events”. But what’s this – Sir Bernard Ingham calling protesters ‘zealots’ and ‘blinkered totalitarians’ ? Margaret Thatchers’ former press press secretary made the curmudgeonly comments in an article in the Yorkshire Post saying of anti-fracking protesters “It seems they want us all to live in their yurts, teepees and wigwams in a sort of glorious save-the-planet pre-industrial squalour, regardless of our manifest objections. If that is not totalitarianism, I don’t know what is”. So Bernard, you do not. The protests are about fracking – and people are objecting to the percieved dangers to both the environments, the water supply and quite frankly their own and their children’s safety. Errrm, thats it. It’s also about getting the UK to look at developing more sustainable energy supplies that do NOT rely on fossil fuels – preserving our energy security, building our economy and applying a touch of common sense. And for balance – the frack off site is here.
The cost to motorists of adding biofuels to petrol will be as much as £224m more each year than Government estimates, according to new research. Carried out by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the research shows that the Government has underestimated the additional costs of biofuels due to inadequate price projection models used by various departments to calculate costs.
Carlsberg has become the first brewer invest in national aluminium packaging recycling campaign ‘Every Can Counts’ which encourages on-the-go recycling at outdoor events across the UK. The campaign is led by the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) and Carlsberg UK will become one of the programme’s main funding partners, as well as a member. Already this summer Carlsberg UK staff have been supporting recycling promotions under the ‘Every Can Counts’ brand at Latitude Festival and at the Leeds Festival this weekend.
The family-run Broughgammon Farm in Ballycastle has become the second farm to receive the Irish Consumer Council’s ‘Water Champion’s’ Award for reducing usage and saving money through the implementation of efficiency measures. As well as developing an energy efficient home, the family has installed a rainwater harvesting system which provides non-drinking water to the house. A separate system provides water for the 300 goats and for the onsite processing of local seaweed. The farm’s butchery also profits from water efficiency measures such as low flow taps and the installation of a new waste water treatment plant ensures that naturally cleansed water is returned to the environment.
Unilever is turning to crowdsourcing in its bid to help develop the world’s first commercially viable shower of the future that can operate with a sustainable level of water use. Got a good idea? Have a look here!
Former Labour Chancellor Alistair darling has said that the cost of building the new HS2 hig speed rail line in the UK would swallow up funds and prevent other expenditure on transport infrastructure. The costs of HS2 look set to rocket and Darling, who initially approved the scheme, said futrure governments would be short of money for other projects including links to the planned ‘Boris Island’ airport in the Thames Estuary. The Government has said that the cost of HS2, whose first phase will see high-speed trains running from London to Birmingham around 2026, is around £50 billion including rolling stock. But an Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) report earlier this week estimated the eventual cost at £80 billion and it has been reported that the Treasury is working on a figure of £73 billion.
And finally, the The Tokyo Electric Power Company, operator of Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, was careless about monitoring tanks storing radioactive water. The accusation was made by Japan’s nuclear regulator after 300 tonnes of radioactive water leaked into the sea. The plant was damaged in Japan’s 2011 earthquake.