Wind energy project could unlock Britain’s renewable energy potential

A PIONEERING project will begin this summer that could be a blueprint for unlocking Britain’s renewable energy potential.

The Upper Afan Valley near Swansea is already home to the biggest wind farm in England and Wales but in July work will begin there on one of the UK’s largest battery storage schemes.

The 22MW plant, the battery equivalent of 450 BMW i3 electric cars.

Built by Swedish energy company Vattenfall, the facility will involve six shipping containers stuffed with lithium-ion batteries made by BMW’s electric car division.

The project is seen as a crucial part of the jigsaw for helping wind, solar and other renewable sources go from the 25 per cent of UK power they provide today to the much greater share the government needs to hit its climate change targets.

The batteries will not store the electricity generated by the Pen y Cymoedd windfarm with which they share a site but will offer vital services to the National Grid to cope with the fluctuations that come from renewable power.

Co-locating the plant with the wind farm was key to making the economics of the scheme work. Vattenfall said that the site’s existing infrastructure, such as connections to the grid’s transmission network to take power around the UK, meant it was about £5m cheaper than building it on a standalone site.

Frank Elsworth, who is managing construction of the plant, said: “To connect a battery project to the transmission network would be prohibitively expensive but because we have the wind farm already in place, we can share the assets. It’s a huge cost-saving,”

IIP achievement sets Inteb on road to its people-focused goals

INTEB Managed Services is on the road to achieving its ambition to be the most ethical and environmentally-conscious company in the energy management sector after being awarded the prestigious Investors in People standard.

The accreditation is part of the IIP’s new Sixth Generation Standard which puts people management at the heart of all company operations and has been devised to keep pace with modern business practices in the UK’s rapidly changing and developing environment.

Inteb managing director Colin Jones said: “The IIP assessment revealed various strengths within our approach, mainly that we can demonstrate a clear focus on delivering our company mission to offer our employees exceptional learning and support opportunities, as well as our positive approaches to supporting communication, collaboration and team working.

“At the centre of our ambition is to be recognised as the most ethical and environmentally-conscious company within our sector and to be an award-winning employer.”

Paying tribute to staff who contributed to the IIP achievement, Colin added: “We have a long way to go but we have made this commitment as we recognise that the success of the business is ultimately delivered through the quality and dedication of all our employees.

“The ethos at Inteb is about encouraging staff to develop their careers and make the most of their talents. This way, we are hopefully retaining key people within the business and ensuring that excellent standards are delivered.

“It’s also about involving staff in decision-making, keeping them motivated and rewarding good performance.

“We are living in very challenging times and that means staff need to be challenged to help drive the business. But they need to be happy in their roles, enjoy coming to work and get the support they need to help them reach their potential.”

The IIP Sixth Generation Standard has evolved from the previous Fifth Generation to keep pace with modern practices. This latest framework focuses on three key areas – leading, supporting and improving – and reflects the very latest workplace trends, essential skills and effective structures required to outperform in any industry and for organisations to achieve sustainability through their people.

Inteb Managed Services wins water procurement for Dignity plc

Water procurement for Dignity plc, the UK’s leader in funeral-related services, has been won by Inteb Managed Services following the company’s successful electricity and gas automatic meter reading (AMR) and data rollout project.

With the newly deregulated water market in England, Inteb is now looking to place business on behalf of Dignity with a smaller number of suppliers to cut the administration burden of handling its current list of 20-plus providers.

Inteb will also be negotiating water contracts with shortlisted water suppliers to agree discounted rates for Dignity to cut its utility costs in line with the business’ ongoing utilities efficiency strategy.

Raja Khan, Commercial Director at Inteb

Raja Khan, commercial director at Inteb, said: “By outsourcing its water procurement services to Inteb, Dignity will be able to obtain best value water rates from open market tenders and minimise the internal administrative onus of managing water contracts and understanding market changes.

“Along with gaining additional benefits from Inteb’s in-house Utilities Division, it also means Dignity can optimise the management and billing of its water supply and wastewater treatment contracts. Operating with a more competitive water supply market can result in improved customer service too.”

As part of the partnership operation, Dignity will now be considering the implementation of water AMR to Dignity’s high water-consuming properties and putting in place water efficiency measures to reduce actual water usage and costs in addition to tariff reductions.

Dignity plc, whose headquarters are in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, and has 3,000-plus employees, owns more than 790 funeral locations and operates more than 40 crematoria in the UK.

Inteb helps to celebrate third sector achievements

The vital work being done by social enterprises, charities and community organisations in Wirral is being recognised by Inteb Managed Services.

The company is sponsoring the Project of the Year category at the Wirral Third Sector Business Awards, the innovative annual event which celebrates the impact that the social enterprise and charity sectors have on the local economy.

Finalists are the Best Foot Forward project run by Next Chapter (NW) CIC, Wirral Mind’s Blue Light network and BEE Wirral’s Silverbacks men’s task force.

Raja Kahn, commercial director at Inteb, said: “To be involved in these awards is a real privilege for us and we are pleased to be involved in an event where people working in the third sector are recognised for the important work they do.

“Supporting an organisation like Wirral Connect is particularly important to a business like ours which cares about the community where it is based and which encourages all its staff to help contribute positively to local charities and good causes.”

The Wirral Third Sector Business Awards, being held at the Leverhulme Hotel, Port Sunlight, on Friday, May 19 are being hosted by Wirral Connect, the organisation that supports the development and growth of the community sector in Wirral.

Paul Growney, chief executive at Wirral Connect, added: “This will be our third awards ceremony and each year all the entrants – not just the winners – demonstrate the massive difference they make to the local community through their work as charities, volunteers, community groups, social leaders and social enterprise entrepreneurs.

“This is a way to pay tribute to those who give back to the community as well as recognising the significant impact the social enterprise and charity sector makes on the Wirral economy.”

Finalists in the Wirral Third Sector Business Awards 2017 are:

Health and Wellbeing Award, sponsored by Care and Respite Support Services: Involve Northwest Leapfrog Services; Mums to Marathons; Next Chapter (NW) CIC.

Children’s and Young Person’s Award, sponsored by Daisy and Jake Day Nursery: BEE Wirral; Charlotte’s Brightside; Next Chapter (NW) CIC.

Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award, sponsored by Wirral Chamber of Commerce: Matt Houghton, HYPE Merseyside; Rachel Griffiths, Mums to Marathons; Steve Taylor-Smith, Unity Supported Housing.

Growth Award, sponsored by McEwan Wallace: Unity Supported Housing; Tomorrow’s Women Wirral; Spider Project.

Innovation Award, sponsored by First Ark Group: HYPE Merseyside; The Open Door Centre; Age UK Wirral.

Corporate Connections Award, sponsored by Wirral Connect: Finsa; Progress to Excellence; Designated Associates.

Project of the Year, sponsored by Inteb Managed Services: Best Foot Forward, Next Chapter (NW) CIC; Blue Light, Wirral Mind; Silverbacks, BEE Wirral.

Employee of the Year Award, sponsored by Bramhalls Solicitors: Carol Morris-Lewis, Wirral Holistic Care Services; Lisa Heath, BEE Wirral; Jessica Campbell, Claire House.

Start-up Social Enterprise of the Year Award, sponsored by Finsa: Destiny; Mums to Marathons; Me Again CIC.

Volunteer of the Year Award, sponsored by Designated Associates: Ian Nixon, Wirral Evolutions; Audrey Schiffel, Wirral Society of the Blind and Partially Sighted; Crossbow Club Team, Wirral Mencap.

Organisation of the Year, sponsored by Wirral Radio: Involve Northwest; The Open Door Centre; Birkenhead Scouts.

Mentor of the Year, sponsored by Progress to Excellence: Angela Sinton, Carer Connections project; Pamela Cunningham, Bereavement by Suicide; Nicola Fenton, Domestic Abuse Peer Mentoring.

Energy efficiency must be industrial strategy priority, say engineers

IMPROVING energy efficiency and resource productivity must be a priority in the UK government’s new industrial strategy, according to the country’s engineering profession.

The report Engineering an economy that works for all is a collective response to the government’s green paper on industrial strategy and represents a collaboration of all 38 professional engineering organisations, led by the Royal Academy of Engineering, and has had an unprecedented level of engagement by the engineering community.

The report team collected information both through an online survey with almost 1,300 respondents and a series of 10 workshops, gathering evidence in the English regions and devolved nations as well as focusing on skills, innovation and specific sectors of industry.

The report calls for the strategy to embody an ambitious and bold long-term vision that harnesses the UK’s international reputation for engineering excellence and forges a new global identity for Britain as a top destination for inward investment and global talent.

It argues that energy policy has historically been approached in silos, addressing the environment, security and cost separately, which has resulted in policies that work against one another. The new report calls on government to take a whole system approach that addresses the needs of businesses as well as the wider public while reducing emissions and ensuring security and resilience.

Ensuring that the government finds an affordable solution that meets these needs is a particular concern of the engineering profession. Sixty per cent of engineers who responded to the survey reported that energy costs were a significant issue for their organisation. Improving energy efficiency was identified as the single most important area for the government to focus on in order to limit energy costs.

Louise Kingham, chief executive of the Energy Institute, said: “Energy and climate change policies are integral to the UK’s future prosperity. They present significant economic opportunities as well as risks that need to be managed.

“The message from the engineering community is clear. If the government’s industrial strategy is to make the most of the opportunities, it should have greater energy efficiency and a system-wide approach at its heart. The policies adopted must be credible over the long term to provide industry with the confidence needed to sustain investment and jobs in energy technologies and infrastructure.”

Read the full report here.

The best ways to promote energy efficiency

A NEW publication is now available which describes initiatives that have been successfully implemented across Europe to promote energy efficiency.

In the introduction to Good Practice in Energy Efficiency, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete says: The cheapest energy, the cleanest energy, the most secure energy is the energy that is not used at all.

“Energy efficiency needs to be considered as a source of energy in its own right. It is one of the most cost effective ways to support the transition to a low carbon economy and to prompt further investment opportunities and to create growth and employment.”

The publication highlights examples of energy efficiency good practice applicable to buildings, industrial processes and services as well as energy efficiency regulations for products sold in the EU. It also focuses on the different sources of funding available for energy efficiency investments.

It is aimed at public authorities implementing energy efficiency policies and, more generally, everyone with an interest in energy efficiency.

It also reviews the successful measures that EU countries have put in place to promote energy efficiency and to implement EU energy efficiency legislation. These include national energy efficiency obligation schemes that require action to be taken to save energy and energy performance requirements for buildings.

In addition, Good Practice in Energy Efficiency covers the implementation of ecodesign and energy labelling requirements. These apply to many everyday products sold in Europe and will result in energy savings of around 175 Mtoe (million tonnes of oil equivalent) by 2020.

Download a copy of Good Practice in Energy Efficiency here.

Safety alert over Waterford Stanley Twin Series gas cookers

A safety alert has been issued to Gas Safe Register businesses and engineers following concerns over Waterford Stanley Twin Series gas cookers.

The alert – a joint initiative by the Gas Safe Register and Waterford Stanley – points out that the pressure switch settings on the cookers, manufactured between 1996 and 2003, are a safety critical factor and must be checked and set in accordance with the procedure detailed below.
The appliance has two pressure switches, either of which can detect a blocked flue.

The two following Waterford Stanley range cookers are affected:

  • Twin Series Gas Fired 100k
  • Twin Series Gas Fired 80k

Safe setting procedure for pressure switches on Twin Series gas cooker

When working on a Twin Series gas range cooker, it is necessary to confirm that the pressure switch contacts have not become seized or bridged together. This is confirmed by removing the positive pressure air hose from the boiler pressure switch while the boiler burners are running.

The burner must lock out immediately to verify the correct operation of the pressure switch. Repeat the same procedure for the oven burner to verify the operation of the oven burner pressure switch.

If the burner continues to operate with the positive air hose removed, it signals that the pressure switch has become seized/bridged and must be replaced.

Where it is not possible to replace the pressure switch, the current Gas Industry Unsafe Situations Procedure (GIUSP) should be implemented and the appropriate actions and warning notices/labels completed and issued.

To ensure the safe and correct operation of the pressure switch, it must be set at between 0.25 and 0.3mbar below the pressure created in the burner.

In the event of a blocked flue, the differential pressure in the burner should fall because of a pressure build-up in the appliance, resulting in a safe shutdown.

Under normal operating conditions, there will be a “high” differential pressure between the positive and negative connections on the pressure switch.

Prior to setting the pressure switches, it must be established that there is not a pre-existing blocked flue condition.

Any gas users or registered businesses who have concerns about their Waterford Stanley range cooker should contact the Waterford Stanley Service Department on 00353 5130 2333.

Helping to transform young lives goes high on Inteb agenda

A BRIGHTER future beckons for young people due to a major initiative involving Inteb Managed Services and other companies across Wirral.

Thanks to support from the local business community, The Hive Youth Zone, a new £6m state-of-the-art development in the heart of Birkenhead where facilities have been designed to make a massive impact on young lives, hundreds of free memberships have been made possible.

The project was co-ordinated by Wirral Chamber of Commerce, of which Inteb is a member, and now means 500 youngsters can take part free of charge in The Hive’s sports, arts, dance, drama, music and fitness activities as well as having access to paid work, work placements and apprenticeships.

Set in an area with almost 39,000 young people aged between 10 and 19 – one which has the second highest concentration of unemployment in disadvantaged communities in England and where child poverty is significantly higher than the national average – the youth zone’s aim is to create a safe, inspiring and affordable environment for its members.

Raja Khan, commercial director at Inteb, said: “Having an amazing facility such as this here on our doorstep gives our business a great opportunity to give something back to the local community and we look forward to working in partnership with The Hive to help and support young people to reach their full potential.

“It doesn’t matter where you are born or brought up – the young all need the same advantages to ensure a bright future for themselves and to make a significant contribution to our economy.”

Paula Basnett, chief executive of Wirral Chamber of Commerce, added: “The Hive is an important initiative for Wirral and will provide a mix of fun and valuable learning experiences.

“We are delighted that our members are demonstrating their commitment and support for the young people of Wirral through their generous donations made in these new memberships.”



Raja Khan pictured with Stuart Barnes, chief executive at The Hive

Improve building fabric to save money and cut carbon emissions

IMPROVING building fabric, upgrading insulation and installing appropriate controls can save businesses money and help cut carbon emissions.

According to The Carbon Trust, around 60 per cent of office heat is lost through the building fabric. Low cost improvements can dramatically reduce this loss and installing and correctly operating technology that centrally operates heating, ventilation, cooling and lighting can also contribute to cutting energy costs.

Reducing energy use makes perfect business sense; it saves money, enhances corporate reputation and helps everyone in the fight against climate change.

The most effective way to take action to reduce carbon emissions is to use energy more efficiently. Simple actions save energy, cut costs and increase comfort for building occupants.

Incorporating energy efficient measures into any plans to upgrade your building fabric can be extremely cost effective. But why consider building fabric as part of an energy efficiency programme?

Improving a site’s building fabric leads to:

  • Reduced energy costs as a result of minimising the loss of treated (heated or cooled) air.
  • Better temperature control – it can lower ventilation and air conditioning costs and prevent overheating.
  • Improved productivity – the output and morale of the people in the building can be enhanced  by providing a more comfortable working environment through reducing draughts, solar glare, overheating and noise.
  • Lower capital expenditure – a more efficient, well-insulated building needs smaller heating and cooling systems.
  • Good investment – better insulation can increase a building’s value and attractiveness.
  • Compliance with regulation – businesses may need to consider building fabric under government building regulations.

Building regulations – Building regulations now stipulate that if you are refurbishing an element of the building fabric, you have to improve its energy efficiency if the work will, or may, affect the thermal performance. This includes considering the whole building even if only part of it is being refurbished.

Changes to the regulations require buildings to include “reasonable provision” for improvements with a payback period of up to 15 years.

Such reasonable provisions include:

  • Increasing the insulation in roof spaces.
  • Insulating all available empty external cavity walls.

Energy consumption – The design and specification of the building fabric is a major determining factor of energy use in any building. It has to strike a balance between ventilation and daylight requirements and the need to provide comfortable temperatures for the people inside.

Although ventilation and air conditioning requirements are both affected by building fabric, it is heating which has the largest overall energy cost implication.

Typically, two-thirds of the heat generated in a building is lost through the building fabric itself. The remaining third is lost through gaps and vents in the fabric which allow warm air to leave and cold air to enter the space, either deliberately through ventilation or uncontrolled through gaps and cracks. This lost heat has to be made up again by the heating system and can be an expensive waste of energy.

The rate at which heat is lost depends on:

  • The temperature difference between the inside and outside of the building.
  • The insulation properties of the building fabric.
  • The amount of fresh air entering the building, either by controlled ventilation or through poorly fitting windows, doors or joins in walls.

Following building fabric upgrades and refurbishment, maximum energy savings will only be achieved if your heating system is well controlled locally to take advantage of the lower rate of heat loss. It is estimated that around 10-15 per cent of total energy costs is wasted by heat losses through the building fabric but significant savings are achievable through the implementation of somesimple energy efficiency measures.

A good starting point for improving building fabric is to look around a building and create a checklist of areas to inspect regularly and problems to look out for. Check roofs and lofts, walls, windows and doors which can offer low or no cost efficiency measures.

Source: Carbon Trust