5 challenges facing the EV revolution

UK government’s commitment to Net Zero Carbon emissions – they’ve pledged to ban all petrol and diesel cars by 2040 – and improvements in battery technology, allowing even faster charging, have also contributed to an upsurge in sales of Electric Vehicles (EVs).

However, there are still a number of obstacles that need to be overcome before the United Kingdom catches up with other countries where the take-up has been much higher.

Here’s our rundown of some of the challenges faced.

  1. Change takes time

Encouraging people to switch to electric vehicles (EVs) is at the heart of the government’s efforts to tackle climate change. This is due to transport accounting for 23% of the UK’s CO2 emissions.

With sales of electrical vehicles up 70 per cent on last year, things seem to be moving in the right direction; however, these are still only relatively small gains.

One of the UK’s best-selling cars is the all-electric Tesla Model 3. But its success doesn’t change the fact that only about 1.1% of new cars sold this year are electric

Bigger changes are needed to meet the government’s net-zero carbon emission target, starting with improved infrastructure (more EV charging points).

Changes to the tax system may also be required due to EV users paying lower taxes and having a zero-spend on fuel: both good sources of income for the government.

Consumers also need to be convinced that electric vehicles suit their needs, which is perhaps the hardest challenge.

Nonetheless, the government plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2040, a move criticised by MPs who want the U.K to fall into line with nearby countries such as Ireland and Iceland and have the change made by 2030,

One of the consumers’ major concerns is range anxiety i.e. how far you can drive without your battery running down.

A petrol or diesel car is simple to fill up when fuel gets low, and doesn’t take long – unless you get distracted by the goods on offer in the garage shop!

If things were as straightforward with EVs, selling them wouldn’t be that much of a problem, but they’re not.

The vehicles currently on the market don’t last more than 100 miles and take over 8 hours to charge – this is a hurdle that needs overcoming before silencing the doubters.

2 Limited choice

The number of vans on the UK roads are increasing faster than any other type of vehicle due to the increase in online shopping.

Small e-vans are already available, and the choice is likely to increase. However, it is a lot more expensive to lease an EV version of a popular van than diesel, meaning they are still too expensive to be the vehicle of choice of smaller businesses.

There is much more choice for car buyers, although the upfront cost for buying an EV is still much higher than buying a petrol/diesel car, at a minimum of £20,000. Prices are likely to fall as electric vehicles are cheaper to run than gas but not for the foreseeable future.

3. Backing the right technology

There has been accelerated developments in battery and charging technology, but where will people charge them, especially those without a driveway or designated parking space.

The expense of battery technology is one of the major challenges the industry faces.

Electric cars could also be less expensive if the makers could ramp up the production volume and use economies of scale. However, for this to happen more consumers need to buy electric cars in the first place which won’t happen without prices coming down.

There is also the potential to have induction pads embedded in the roads that charge the vehicles as you drive over them. With chargers currently in low supply, the benefits of this technology are obvious.

4. Who will pay?

It has been widely assumed that both the private sector and local councils will build, operate and maintain charging infrastructure in the UK.

Businesses have been slow to get involved due to small profit margins and the government having heavily subsided the development of charging points. Yet, this is slowly changing with BP and Shell taking over as market leaders, while Tesla is putting its own charging network in place at motorway service stations.

5. The zero-carbon fantasy

A world in which all vehicles are electric is not the total zero-carbon solution. True, EVs don’t produce the same emissions but there would still be an environmental cost.

Sourcing minerals for batteries and dismantling old ones, as well as delivering and building vehicles all involve substantial CO2 emissions.

That said, Electric vehicles are a crucial part of the UK’s attempts to drastically reduce transport’s emissions.

Source: BBC

Smart meter roll-out moved back

Smart Meter roll-out deadline delayed by four years until 2024

Smart meter technology allows energy users to monitor and measure real-time energy consumption without the need for a physical meter reading, saving time and helping to improve efficiencies.

Recognising the important role they play in saving energy consumption, the government’s ‘smart grid’ plan was for all Gas and Electricity suppliers to take steps to roll out smart meters to all their 1, 2 (domestic), 3 and 4 (Small business) class customers by 2020; however, this target has now been extended to 2024.

Why?

With 35 million homes still without a smart meter, it was felt that levels of customer service would be compromised if the scheme was rushed through.

Also, as time is no longer in such short supply, energy companies will also be less inclined to adopt aggressive techniques to try and encourage people to have smart meters fitted.

By dropping the date back to 2024, this allows time for fixing any meters that are already in use but suffer from poor connectivity and any other issues.

Rising costs

The government are working hard to make sure the cost to customers isn’t too high. Already, the cost of the roll-out has gone from 11 billion in 2016 to 13.5 billion today and this has been passed on to the customer through higher energy bills.

The consumer group, Citizens Advice, welcomed the decision as they acknowledge it has been done in the best interests of the customer.

 

Energy Management at The Restaurant and Takeaway Innovation Expo

On the 19–20th of November, the Restaurant & Takeaway Innovation Expo is taking place at the ExCel in London and we are delighted to be one of the 1,000 exhibitors; the only energy company at the show.

Energy Management LLP is one of the UK’s leading energy consultancies with a vast range of knowledge on the industry as well as priding ourselves on high levels of customer service.

The Restaurant and Takeaway Innovation Expo gives us a chance to share industry insights and divulge in the latest solutions in the utility sector.

Please come and visit us on stand F232 to discuss further what we have to offer you and your business.

With around 15,000 visitors a year, along with 500 seminars and 200 thought-provoking panel sessions, the event is supported by the biggest brands in the industry.

Tickets are FREE and available by clicking, here>>

How behavioural change is needed to meet climate targets

In order to reach carbon reduction targets by 2050, there needs to be a change in the public’s behaviour when it comes to the consumption of food and clothes and modes of transport used.

That is the stark warning of the government’s chief environmental scientist, Pro Sir Ian Boyd, who has outlined the challenges faced in pursuit of net-zero emissions within the next three decades.

Importing red meat and cheap clothes and things like flying abroad will need to be kept in check, he argues, if the United Kingdom is to take the lead in tackling climate change.

In support of this argument, research has shown that providing free transport passes or bike rentals can encourage mode shifts by interrupting entrenched habits.

In an interview with BBC News, Sir Ian stated strong persuasive political leadership – and taxation on bad behaviours – was needed in order to get everyone aligned towards the same goal.

Consumption out of control

“We like to consume things, but the more we consume the more we absorb the resources of the planet,” he said.

“That means we have to grow those resources or we have to mine them – and in doing that we generate waste. And consumption is going up all the time.

“(There’s) a conundrum – how do we shift ourselves from consuming? We need to do more about learning to live sustainably. We talk about sustainability but we don’t really know what it means.

“We need to make major technological advances in the way we use and reuse materials but we (also) need to reduce demand overall – and that means we need to change our behaviours and change our lifestyles.

The graph below from the BEIS (2019) gives a very good idea of where we are, and where we need to be, in terms of our lifestyle. A combination of all aspects will need to change/decrease as we get closer to net zero.

As well as changing behaviour, changes in the technology we use in everyday life can help. For example, using hydrogen instead of gas central heating.

Another key area in order to meet the 2050 targets is to reduce energy demand from the buildings we live and work in. The 27 million dwellings and 2 million non-domestic buildings in the UK are responsible for 43% of the total of the UK’s energy use and 29% of the UK’s Co2 emissions (Committee on climate change, 2018).

Government intervention

The government has a large number of policy options to choose between to support behaviour change and encourage a low-carbon lifestyle. As well as pushing behaviour change, taxation can play a part in showing people what is socially acceptable or not. Another way government can encourage behaviour change is to incentivise regional or local government to take appropriate actions.

“It will very rarely come down to a direct message like ‘sorry, you can’t buy that but you can buy this’. But there will be stronger messages within the (tax) system that make one thing more attractive than the other,” Sir Ian pointed out.

Urgent action

Until recently, Sir Ian worked for Defra, who, when contacted by the BBC, made the following statement:

“The impact of climate change is clear and demands urgent action from countries around the world. The UK has already shown global leadership by becoming the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions by 2050 – but we know there is more to do.

“That’s why we’re reforming farming policy to reward environmental actions, reviewing our food system to ensure it is more sustainable, taking steps to accelerate tree-planting and peatland restoration, and introducing a flagship Environment Bill to address the biggest environmental priorities of our age.”

Boris Johnson: Iran to blame for oil price surge

Energy Management’s Hannah Robinson takes a look at the latest geopolitical incident to cause oil prices to soar.

Background – what happened

On the 14th September 2019, Saudi Arabia was hit by missile attacks on two oil facilities. The attacks were carried out by 18 drones and seven cruise missiles travelling 500km undetected, which proceeded to hit the oil field and processing facility.

The attack caused large fires at the refineries, which according to the Saudi Arabian interior ministry were put out several hours later. The attacks wiped out 5 per cent of the world’s oil supply.

Billions of dollars had been spent on protecting Saudi Arabia against such attacks, including buying in defence systems from the United States, but to no avail on this occasion.

Boris Johnson’s opinion

Prime Minister Johnson agreed with Saudi Arabia in stating that he thought there was a ‘high degree of probability’ that Iran was behind the attacks on the two oil facilities. Johnson also refused to rule out military intervention and stated sanctions may also be a possibility.

“I can tell you that the UK is attributing responsibility with a very high degree of probability to Iran for the Aramco attacks,” he commented. Mr Johnson said he will work with the US and European countries to give a response in an attempt to minimise building tensions.

Mr Johnson is due to meet with presidents from France, Germany and the US to discuss the attacks as well as Brexit, with himself and Trump agreeing there is a need for a united, diplomatic response in regard to Saudi Arabia.

Effect on oil prices

Oil prices spiked initially to almost 20 per cent due to the 5.7 million barrels of oil being taken from the supply chain. This is the largest spike since 1988. The price is still below that of last October ($85 dollars a barrel), but by the end of the day of the attack, prices had increased by 14.7%.

Saudi Arabia believes they can get oil production up and running again in a matter of weeks, however, if this doesn’t happen, we could be looking prices hitting the levels of 12 months ago – or higher.

Oil market analysts claim prices could surge towards $100 a barrel in the next few weeks if tensions in the Middle East continue due to renewed disruption in the Strait of Hormuz, a key transit route for the world’s oil tankers.

Source: BBC News, 2019

 

Smart Export Guarantee – What is it?

Following the closure of the Feed in Tariff (FiT) to new applicants in March 2019, the need for payment for electricity exported to the grid by small-scale renewables was recognised. Thus, BEIS introduced the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).

The Smart Export Guarantee is a mechanism designed to ensure people/businesses who generate renewable energy and export to the grid are paid fairly. It applies to any of the following renewable energy technologies;

  • Solar PV panels, onshore wind, anaerobic digestion, hydro – up to 5MW
  • Micro Combined heat and power – with an electrical capacity of up to 50kW

The Smart Export Guarantee will come into force from 1st January 2020. Anybody who already receives FiT on installations will be unaffected by SEG.

How much will you receive?

Nothing is set in stone, however, we predict that initial SEG tariffs to be straightforward, most likely offering a fixed pence per kWh export rate.

The only requirement for SEGs is that the tariff must always be greater than zero, effectively meaning it is up to energy suppliers to decide what to offer their customers. Tariffs will differ between suppliers and some may choose to offer multiple choices.

How can we help?

Energy Management has expert industry knowledge which allows us to guide you through the whole renewable energy installation process. We arrange and manage the installation of the infrastructure right the way through to the procurement of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and SEGs.

For more information give a member of the team a call on 01225 867722, or alternatively email sales@energymanagementltd.com.

 

Droughts likely in the North of England in 15 years

Effective water management has never been more important as global warming takes hold.

In 15 years’ time, it is probable that demand for water in the North of England will surpass supply, potentially resulting in water shortages across the region which would leave households and businesses in turmoil.

Currently, the North has an abundance of water but with a changing climate and rise in global temperatures forecast to cause a reduction in rainfall on top of popualtion growth, we could be getting to the tipping point sooner rather than later.

Soon, as is the case in the South East and London, in particular, areas of the North might have to transport water from other areas of the country where there is still a surplus.

The transport of water though brings about lots of issues with water leaks and can result in large volumes of water loss unless leaks are fixed proficiently by water companies.

A recent report by IPPR North warns that efforts to stop leaks might not be enough and water use must be reduced to avoid likely droughts in the near future. The average water usage in the UK is significantly higher than in other countries in Europe despite an approximate 40% decrease in leakages since the 1990s.

As the North relies more on surface water than other parts of the country, it could be greater affected by the drier climate.

The Environment Agency is apprehensive about the future and proposes that unless public attitudes change, and drastic action is taken to stop leaks then a water shortage is very likely.

If the imminent drought materialises, costly reservoirs might have to be built in order to increase the supply of water to the North of England and this may translate to a higher price of water to the consumer.

If your water contract is up for renewal or you just need advice on how to manage your water supply more effectively, you can contact a member of our team now on: 01225-867722 or alternatively email sales@energymanagementltd.com.

 

How to embrace the silent revolution of EVs

Energy Management reveals its best-practice approach to installing EV (Electric Vehicle) charging points on your premises.

The climate emergency declared by Parliament earlier this year has placed a further onus on the UK’s business community to reduce its carbon emissions.

Businesses can help drive down carbon use by encouraging employees to use EVs on their commute to work, but without enough charging points on-site, this goal is hard to achieve.

Prominent people in the energy industry are now calling on companies to lobby for more EV charging points for its employees as a result.

If successful, this will open up a host of challenges which may be new to the business concerned but not to us at Energy Management.

Energy Management has expert knowledge in this sector and can guide you through the whole process.

Here’s our four-step approach to making the switch as pain-free as possible.

  1. Initial scoping

We work with you to establish initial requirements.

  • Understanding of physical limitations of the site
  • Distribution Network Operator (DNO) enquiries
  • Establish current site loading
  • Evaluate green credentials

     2. Plan of action

Energy Management collates, analyses and presents the best options available.

  • Liaise with the DNO and obtain costings for necessary upgrades
  • Review DNO proposals
  • High Voltage or Low Voltage point of connection
  • Remain flexible on approach as schemes can often change

     3. Installation

How we manage the installation process:

  • Ongoing liaison with DNO or ICP to completion of works.
  • Partnering with SSE Contracting to deliver any high voltage/low voltage projects
  • Partnering with Energy Metering Technology to provide complete AM&T packages
  • Fiscal metering MOP contracts and installation
  • Procurement of competitive supply contracts

4. Innovative solutions

Our expertise enables us to meet any challenges head-on, such as those below:

  • CHP
  • Battery storage

For more information on how Energy Management can help your business engage with EV charging, contact a member of the team on 01225-867722 or email sales@energymanagementltd.com

Energy Management at Future Resource

Taking place at the NEC Birmingham, on 11-12 September, Future Resource is the UK’s leading sustainability event and we’re delighted to say that Energy Management will be amongst the exhibitors.

As one of the leading business energy consultancies in the U.K, Future Resource provides us with a platform to divulge the latest solutions and industry insights in this vital area of the utilities’ sector.

Future Resource boasts a 3,000-strong crowd, comprised of leading local authorities and Government departments, large retailers, commercial and industrial end-users, as well as energy and water suppliers, and trade associations.

Future Resource will be split into six fundamental zones: Energy Efficiency Tech, Zero Emissions Zone, Smart Water Innovation, Renewables Zone, Energy from Waste, and Future IoT.

Tickets are completely free and are available on www.futureresourceexpo.com.

Energy Management can be found at Stand Y55. Read our company profile on the event’s official website HERE

Expert warns of post-Brexit gas supply shortages

The EU could reduce winter energy exports to Britain after Brexit, warns industry leader.

According to European energy mogul, Marco Alvera, Brexit may place the UK at danger of gas supply shortages and increasing winter prices.

Alvera presently heads the GasNaturally European sector group and is CEO of Snam, Europe’s largest natural gas utility.

Nearly half of the gas supply consumed in the United Kingdom comes from Europe and public statistics state that in 2018, 39% of the country’s total energy supply was produced by natural gas.

However, Alvera informed the BBC that during cold spells gas exports to Britain could be limited.

He said: “We’ve spoken to several ministers and civil servants over the last two years. Energy has not been discussed enough.

“I would make [energy] a high priority in the discussions, and I haven’t seen it be like that.”

Tariff tip-off

Alvera also advised that despite UK dependence on imported natural gas resources over the winter, the introduction of tariffs on its gas and electricity exports after Brexit may not be prevented by EU nations.

He added: “In the week [last year] when we had the ‘Beast from the East’ cold spell, the system was already under a lot of strain, and the UK was taking a lot of gas from Europe that was stored in Europe”.

Alvera also pointed to the decrease in the UK’s own North Sea gas supplies and the shutdown of components of its gas storage facilities as problems that exacerbated European energy dependence.

Storage solution

He thinks, however, that converting unused gas fields in the North Sea into storage facilities could help to solve the problem.

In 2017, British Gas statistics showed that 44% of UK gas is generated domestically, with 47% coming from Europe (Russia and Norway) and the remaining 9% coming from LNG exports.

Since then, the numbers have raised concerns about UK dependence on Russian power sources while diplomatic relations stay tense.

In Norway’s case, although it is not an EU member state, it falls within the internal market for energy and is therefore bound by EU regulations.

A 2017 House of Lords report on the problem proclaimed it “unlikely” that the EU would place tariffs on gas and electricity provided to Britain after Brexit, even if the UK leaves with no deal.

However, it stated that tariffs could take place elsewhere in the energy industry, including on products commonly used in the construction and maintenance of the energy system.