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Renewable Energy

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Green energy is energy which comes from renewable resources. Together with energy efficiency improvements these can meet our future energy needs. Buying green energy is a good way of helping to fight climate change


Wind power

Examples of renewable sources include solar and wind power.

They are:

Clean & won't pollute the atmosphere

Safe (unlike nuclear)

Won't run out (unlike oil, gas & coal)


Click here for more info & details of green energy suppliers

Peter & PVS



Peter's PVS





 South Beds FoE member, Peter Hatswell,

 writes about his recently installed PVS

 (photovoltaic system)

Sue and I were fortunate to receive a legacy from an aunt and uncle and were wondering how to put this money to best use. Solar power has always been an interest in our home, with small things like a conservatory cooling fan, battery charger and garden fountain but here was a chance to do something special and help the planet at the same time. Solar hot water systems have been around for years and cost £2000 - £3000 but they have the drawback of saving gas used at say 80% efficiency rather than electricity which is produced by power stations at 30 – 40% efficiency. They can also produce scalding hot water on sunny days.

Modern developments in electronic technology have produced inverters which turn low voltage direct current from a solar panel into alternating mains voltage ready for use in all normal household appliances. These inverters are extremely efficient, losing only 2 or 3% of the input power. Additionally, any power that is produced in excess to normal requirements can be “exported” back into the mains for credit from the electricity provider. In the case of the RSPB scheme through Scottish & Southern Energy, they will pay us the full supply price for every kWh unit exported.

For a completely installed system, costing us £6,500 after Government grant, this means that at current prices it would require 100,000 units to be exported before it pays for itself. As the system can produce 2 units per hour the sun would have to shine for at least 50,000 hours, which could take 17 years! This is a similar payback period to the energy saving from double glazing. However, the price of electricity will rise in proportion to world oil prices and in a few years time we will all probably be paying twice as much for our electricity.

View power



View plan




By organising our largest energy consumption to daylight hours (washing machine, dishwasher etc) we can minimise power consumption from the mains and reduce the CO2 from power stations. Using the average UK power station efficiency, each kWh provided releases about 0.566 kg of CO2 into the atmosphere and the solar system we have installed is capable of saving an estimated 880 kg per year.

The ability to export surplus electricity means that our normal energy saving habits such as turning off unwanted lights, using low energy bulbs and appliances etc will still reward us with lower bills and the nation with lower CO2 emissions.

Installing the system has provided employment for designers, panel and inverter manufacturers, electricians, scaffolders etc in a fledgling industry. With more installations, the costs should reduce over the next few years and hopefully the Government will renew its commitment to the 50% grant.

Peter and Susan Hatswell


The average household in Britain produces about six tonnes of CO2 annually from gas and electricity. Use less energy - save money & the planet at the same time!


Useful links:


Energy Saving Trust is one of the UK's leading organisations tasked with sustainable energy solutions in homes and on the road.

Tel: 020 7222 0101


Solar Century work directly with architects, housing developers and engineers. They wil also liaise with your electricity supplier to help you sell back your surplus clean electricity

Tel: 020 7803 0100



Friends of the Earth