Renew On Line (UK) 58

Extracts from NATTA's journal
, issue 158 Nov-Dec 2005

   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1. Decentral power:
Greenpeace  proposals

2. Farm Power:
Biofuels delays

CHP to backup wind

4. Welsh Renewables: 
Wind plan

5.  BETTA hurts Scotland:
but H2 CCS project emerges 

 6. Going for Micro power:
the Low Carbon programme

7. UK Energy Roundup:
getting there slowly

8. UK Climate Policy:
Blair changes tune?

9. UK Energy Policy Developments:
How not the cut carbon

10. News  from around the world:
US beats EU?

11.World Policy Roundup:
G8 on Climate change

12. Nuclear News:
US, UK, Australia and Russia

1. Decentral power

Greenpeace has produced a hard hitting report putting the case for a decentralised energy strategy, which has some strong support from the Mayor of London, who provides a foreword. The report ‘Decentralising Power: an energy revolution for the 21st century’ points out that more than two thirds of the energy in the fuel we use at present is wasted- lost in inefficient energy conversion and distribution from large centralised power plants.  By contrast it says ‘in a decentralised energy system, electricity would be generated close to or at the point of use. Buildings, instead of being passive consumers of energy, would become power stations, constituent parts of local energy networks. They would have solar photovoltaic panels, solar water heaters, micro wind turbines, heat pumps for extracting energy from the earth. They might also be linked to commercial or domestic operated combined heat and power systems.’ 

It adds ‘The massive expansion in renewable capacity that this would represent, and the fact that when fossil fuels were burnt the heat would be captured and used, would lead to dramatic reductions in overall carbon emissions- at least half of all emissions from the power sector, or 15% of total UK emissions’.

It argues that the cost of the switch over need not be great- indeed it will save money longer term ‘According to the International Energy Agency, the EU will spend $648bn in modernising and replacing the transmission and distribution networks. The opportunity to avoid many of these costs means that decentralised energy makes economic as well as environmental sense’ and it adds that ‘decentralised energy also offers a way forward for developing nations and for the emerging economic giants like China and India. It is sometimes claimed, fatalistically, that efforts to stabilise the climate will be overwhelmed by China burning its coal reserves. But developing a decentralised energy system in response to its growth in demand for power would enable China to reduce associated carbon emissions by 56% as compared to the centralised scenario- and costs would be reduced by 40% as well.’

It concludes ‘Unfortunately, the debate in the UK has focussed more on whether we need a new generation of nuclear power stations. Nuclear power is the epitome of centralised, outdated electricity generation. Replacing existing nuclear stations with new ones would perpetuate the centralised system, entrenching all the costs and inefficiencies that implies. Such inefficiencies currently waste three times as much energy as would be contributed by new nuclear power stations.’  But ‘if half the houses in the UK were provided with domestic combined heat and power units, which is technically feasible, then the electricity generated would replace the entire nuclear capacity we have today’.

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