Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Meanwhile, what comes down the pipe to your home is...

It's a better than nothing, I guess but I couldn't help but crank a slight eyebrow at this: NPower launches eco-friendly ads

I've always been a bit dubious on nPower since seeing their activities at the Ideal Home Show 'eco' (Ahem, not) theme year, when they were a major sponsor. And Juice has been low on my estimation since seeing a bunch of Greenpeace cardboard stuck on 4x4s at Gloucester train station, sponsored by same.

At least the Guardian has at least put it that 'the energy company says the initiative is the UK's first eco-friendly campaign'. Up there with carbon neutral, I am unsure what the heck that means, or does. Or anything.

Or indeed what the actual enviROI is, as opposed to just winning advertising awards and spinning a green story.


Lawrence Clark said...

In 2006, nPower supplied just 5% of its electricity from renewables:


The Renewables Obligation was about 7% then, so they are hardly ahead of the game as a company........


Peter said...

You guys spoil me. But I thank you.

What a team. Me to ask dumb questions. You to provide smart answers.

With supporting facts. I like that bit.

Of course, there will be those with 'other' facts, I guess.

I hate to be negative if they are genuinely trying, but why do I feel an ad campaign based on such dubious bases being brewed up as we speak?

The source of one's 'green' supply is just another source of confusion for the consumer I reckon.

And guess what. I'm munching my midday sarnie watching lunchtime AuntieNews and lo, British Gas will give you the greenest something or other at eighty quid on top, whatever that means.

Lawrence Clark said...

Just happened to notice on p39 of today's Independent, a legal notice from RWE Npower plc about additional environmental information available about their application to build a 2000 MW capacity gas turbine power station.

According to the British Wind Energy Association website, Npower renewables currently has 111 MW of wind power plant under construction........


Peter said...

Thanks for that.

OK, dumbo time again.

Does a gas turbine plant produce CO2? I'm guessing yes.

If so, and rounding around on efficiencies, other stuff, etc, wouldn't that mean the total renewables mentioned would account for 5% of its rated output?

If so, at least they are consistent!

Looking forward to the ad, though.

Lawrence Clark said...


Yes, you guessed right: about 0.4 kg per kWh, compared with about 1.0 kg per kWh with coal-fired.

The 111 MW figure is the maximum output, which would realistically give 30 ish MW averaged over a year, given a 0.3 capacity factor. A corresponding factor for the gas-powered station is more complicated, as it is likely to vary in output intentionally to balance supply and demand in the national grid. We'd be lucky perhaps to reach renewables of 5% having done that calculation.