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Sustainable Blewbury

Energy Initiative


Greenhouse gases


   Global warming references

Links to other sites


Save energy

Reduce expense

Generate energy

Get domestic grants

Install low-energy lighting

Transport issues

   Driving tips

   Choosing a car

   Transport emissions

   Alternative road fuels

   Hydrogen and fuel cells

Follow other energy advice

   Saving energy

   Monitoring energy usage

   Energy myths


Renewable energy

   Offshore wind costs

Nuclear fission energy

Nuclear fusion energy

Storing the gases



Facts and figures

Energy assessment


News & diary of activities

Contacts and aims

Home energy questionnaire

Survey 2009

Important note: We regret that due to lack of available effort, this website has not been updated for some time.

Much of the general explanatory text is, of course, still valid and, hopefully, useful. Detailed information on status, however, does need updating in many places and a number of recent developments are not covered. If you might be interested in helping, please contact the webmaster. Some examples:

Global warming: To limit global warming, net carbon emissions must go to zero – not just stop rising. From 2014 to 2016 they did at least stop rising, a small step towards what's needed. But in 2017 emissions rose by 1.6%, and in 2018 by 2.7% due to increased use of vehicles and coal. They even rose in the pandemic year 2020. This is extremely worrying. Although carbon emissions dropped during the pandemic, the accumulative build-up in the atmosphere has continued and the amount of greenhouse gases continues to increase.

Green energy: Onshore wind is now very inexpensive and offshore wind (the only renewable technology strongly supported by the UK government) has become cheap enough to be very competitive. Solar is also very competitive even without subsidy, especially in sunny regions. In the UK, tidal power suffered a serious blow when the Swansea Bay lagoon project was turned down by the government.

Nuclear power: The NuGen reactors at Moorside have been cancelled by Toshiba as the company was virtually bankrupted by cost overruns in the US. Hitachi's Horizon project for Wylfa has been ended as well. EdF's EPR reactors in Finland (now supposed to start up in early 2022 compared to the original date of 2009) and Normandy (now aimed to start in 2024, rather than 2012) are still not running but work is proceeding at Hinkley Point and a copy of Hinkley Point at Sizewell is still proposed. The best guess for a completion date at Hinkley Point is 2027 (or later).

Cars: There are now some diesels that are relatively clean, but of course they still burn fossil fuels. Electric cars with ranges of 200–300 miles are widely available and there are some interesting new models as sales rise. Major problems are the charging network, and the high prices and heavy weight of long-range models. There is also a much wider variety of plug-in hybrids available, but electric cars are simpler and should start to drop in price.

Lighting: LEDs have dropped in price and their performance has improved. For almost all applications they are the only sensible way to go. Look especially for ratings of A++ as these are significantly more efficient than CFLs (also known as low-energy bulbs) or fluorescent tubes. Converting to LEDs can have a surprisingly big effect on your electricity usage.

Government grants: The feed-in tariff for new installations of solar photovoltaic panels ended in April 2019. To be paid for exprting your surplus electricity to the grid there is a scheme called Smart Export Guarantee (SEG – click here for more information about that). Battery storage systems for domestic solar panels can help people to use more of the electricity they generate, but the cost of these is still quite high. The Green Homes Grants programme to replace the failed Green Deal, has had a rocky start, despite a huge stock of older houses that desperately need to be insulated better, and that scheme has now been ended. Nor is there any upgrade of building standards since the requirement for new housing to be zero carbon (starting in 2016) was dropped.

Smart meters: The rollout of smart meters has been much slower, more problem-ridden, and more expensive than planned, and utility companies are still installing first-generation (SMETS1) meters that often don't work when the energy supplier is changed. Do not agree to have a smart meter without ensuring that it is at least SMETS2.

The Initiative

The Blewbury Energy Initiative is a project of Sustainable Blewbury. We aim to reduce energy consumption and to encourage the use of renewable energy resources wherever possible. We hope to reduce the amount of coal, oil, gas and electricity used, and to help the global environment.

See below for recent energy-related news.

New on this website

Farmer in parched land

Global Warming

Causes and effects of climate change; carbon budget

 Cooling tower with question mark in smoke

Nuclear Fission Energy

Pros, cons and current status

 Solar PV

Green Energy

What works and what doesn’t? Demystify the hype

 Bicycle, car, bus, train, liner and plane

Transport Issues

Greener transport options

Low-energy bulbs


Light bulbs and their green credentials

 Electricity meter

Saving Energy

What you can do at home

 Infrared picture of house

Energy Initiative Activities

Past work and future plans

Mains adapter

Devices on Standby

TVs are not the worst offenders

 Solar thermal panels

Domestic Renewable Energy

What’s effective and affordable?

An Electrical Monitor

Monitoring Electricity Use, and Smart Meters

Where does it go, and what’s a smart meter?

Piggy bank

Cost Benefits

Being green can save you money

 Computer and website

Financial support for insulation and domestic renewables, including the Feed-in Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive



  • The government’s Green Deal was aimed to be its flagship policy for improving the energy efficiency of homes, in order to reduce carbon emissions and the use of fossil fuels. It has now terminated for new applicants. Although the Green Deal was widely agreed to be misconceived and take-up was very low, no scheme to replace it has been promised.
  • The government’s Renewable Heat Incentive for domestic properties is still running; it covers solar thermal hot water, biomass boilers and stoves, and air-source and ground-source heat pumps. See our domestic grants page for more information.
  • Beware of buying energy-related products from someone who phones, emails or texts you, or turns up on your doorstep uninvited. Frequent cold calls offer to install insulation supported by ‘government’ grants – when challenged no details are given. Beware of offers that claim to be ‘surveys’ and deny they are selling anything.