The Energy Revolution

The smart meter roll-out has been bumpy, and bedevilled by technical issues around its communications systems. To date, about 6m have been installed towards the goal of achieving 50m+ installations by 2020, and the Government remains adamant that that date is not negotiable.

We are de-commissioning old coal-fired and nuclear-fuelled generating plants, and replacing some of that capacity with enormous wind farms. Solar power is becoming more commonplace (nearly 1m householders now have a solar panel on their roof), and we are experimenting with tidal power and other technologies. But all our existing cables and wires are in the wrong place to transmit this electricity to our homes. Continue reading “The Energy Revolution”

Disruptive change ahead in the way we buy and use energy

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In the spring, Ofgem announced its Insight for Future Regulation project, and has now produced the first paper of a series:  first Future Insights discussion paper. It sets out some of the dramatic changes in the way we use and buy energy which might come about in the next five or ten years.

First, a health warning – past predictions are not a firm guide to the future, though they are the best we have got.  Between December 2012 and March 2016, the number of active gas or electricity suppliers in the domestic market doubled from 20 to 43. Forecasts by the (then) Department of Trade and Industry in 2000 for electricity demand in 2015 turned out to be 20% too high – our appliances are much more efficient than anticipated. Continue reading “Disruptive change ahead in the way we buy and use energy”

The future is electrifying

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Two thirds of our current electricity generating plants will be decommissioned by 2030.   In the next fifteen years, they will need to be replaced with a mixture of new power stations and by generating more energy from renewable resources – primarily wind and solar, and tidal might also have a place. On top of that, we will need more electricity as we proceed with the electrification of heating and transport – some predictions suggest that we should eventually be planning for a seven-fold increase in electricity generation capacity.    Continue reading “The future is electrifying”

Working in partnership to tackle excess winter deaths

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue ServiceOn the fourth day of Cold Homes Week, we hear from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service‘s Station Manager in Central Prevent and Protect, Dez Stoddart, about the work that the Fire and Rescue Service is doing with Age South Staffordshire to tackle the problem of excess winter deaths in the county. Continue reading “Working in partnership to tackle excess winter deaths”

Cold homes: a massive public health crisis

A woman living in fuel povertyIt’s Cold Homes Week and Age UK is raising awareness of the devastating effects of the cold on older people. In this guest blog post, Alan Maryon-Davis, who is Honorary Professor of Public Health at Kings College London, explains why the issue of cold homes is a massive public health crisis.

Continue reading “Cold homes: a massive public health crisis”

It’s Cold Homes Week (1-5 February 2016)

An older man sitting by a windowThis week, Age UK is running Cold Homes Week, a week of action on fuel poverty and excess winter deaths.

Continue reading “It’s Cold Homes Week (1-5 February 2016)”

Staying warm and well in winter

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With temperatures starting to drop, frostier mornings and even the possibility of snow in the air, winter is finally upon us. We all cope with the cold weather differently – some people even enjoy it – but for many older people, it can be life-threatening.

It may come as a shock to find out that nearly 41,000 older people died because of the cold weather in 2014-15. These were all excess winter deaths which could have been prevented. Continue reading “Staying warm and well in winter”