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

6. Going for Micro power and Low Carbon  buildings

Many UK households could one day be self-sufficient in energy needs and routinely make money by selling surplus electricity from home generators such as solar panels and micro-wind turbines. This is among the possibilities raised by Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks as the Department of Trade and Industry asks for views on the development of “micro-generation” of low-carbon energy by homes, businesses and public buildings. Launching the consultation in a speech to the Renewable Power Association’s annual conference in London in June, he said “Power generation has traditionally been about giant stations supplying whole cities, but the future may show that small is big. Some generation will move closer to home- giving individuals and small communities the chance to contribute directly to the UK’s long-term environmental and energy goals. There could also come a day when many people will receive a cheque alongside their energy bill.”

The DTI is developing a cross-government micro-generation strategy covering micro-hydro, micro-wind, PV, fuel cells, micro-combined heat and power, and ground/air source heat pumps. The consultation paper outlines a proposed grant scheme which the DTI says ‘could see a series of flagship low-carbon buildings over the next six years’. 

It’s not without its problems. No new money seems to be on offer for R&D- just funding from existing UK and EU programmes, but deployment and operation will be supported via adjustments to allow easier access to Renewable Obligation Certificates.

 However the main focus of the consultation is on the proposed new ‘technology neutral’ Low carbon Building programme which will run for 6 years from April 2006, and which the DTI says ‘will provide a more holistic approach to reducing carbon emissions from buildings through a combination of practical advice on energy efficiency measures and practical advice and capital grants for the installation of micro-renewables’.

 Although it comments that, compared with the Major PV Demonstration programme and Clear Skies programme that went before, ‘more efforts need to be made in terms of ensuring that microgeneration and energy efficiency technologies are seen as complementary and mutually reinforcing’, the DTI will only provide support for energy supply technologies- any efficiency element has to get funds form elsewhere e.g. from the Carbon Trust. Funny sort of integration that. And it says that the emphasis will mainly be on a few larger schemes- although there will be a separate community stream.

A mixed bag then, likely to lead to some interesting responses from, for example, the previously separate solar thermal and PV sectors. But initial reactions to the strategy were quite positive. Renewable Power Association CEO Philip Wolfe said: “At a time when some may be tempted to focus on ‘big solutions to big problems’, the DTI is to be congratulated for drawing attention to the significant contribution that micro-renewables can make to delivering the Government’s overall energy efficiency and renewable energy targets’.  Green Alliance Director Guy Thompson said: ‘Microgeneration could play a huge role in tackling climate change and meeting our future energy needs. Not only is it low or zero carbon but it engages people in the solutions to climate change’.

Following the consultation, the Government will develop a final strategy for the promotion of micro-generation, which the DTI say ‘will be published before April 2006, in compliance with the Energy Act 2004’.

We will review the consultation paper in in Renew 159.  Meanwhile it is at: Also see  our Forum  section.

NEF on Micro-power

The New Economics Foundation says  that microgeneration is a far cheaper, safe  and faster  way of meeting the UK’s energy needs and combating climate change than nuclear stations. It says that the nuclear industry’s estimates of the cost of building new reactors, at 3p/kilowatt hour, are wild underestimates. It calculates the price, based on past performance, delays and cost overruns, as up to 8p/kw hour, excluding insurance, pollution and the risk of terrorism.

The report notes that 1m new gas-fired boilers are installed every year in the UK and says that if half these were replaced by micro-combined heat and power units  they would produce the equivalent electricity of a new power station each year, removing the need for new large-scale power plants. And micro-power units using solar, wind, or  hydropower, can provide security of supply, since they use such a variety of sources, with surplus electricity being fed into the local grid.

‘Mirage and Oasis: Energy choices in an age of global warming’ can be downloaded from,

Micro wind for the Co-op

Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) is to install 24 three-metre tall wind turbines on top of its 13-storey building in Portland Street, Manchester. They are expected to generate 56,000 kWh each year- almost 5% of the building’s electricity needs. CFS may also place micro-wind turbines at some of its 200 other buildings. CFS brings together the CIS and the Co-operative Bank.  It has already clad its CIS tower with solar PV panels-expected to generate 180,000 kWh p.a.  Over the past decade, CIS says, as an insurer, it has seen claims arising from flooding increase almost 500% and these now total more than £1.5m p.a.

NATTA/Renew Subscription Details

Renew is the bi-monthly 30 plus page newsletter of NATTA, the Network for Alternative Technology and Technology Assessment. NATTA members gets Renew free. NATTA membership cost £18 pa (waged) £12pa (unwaged), £6 pa airmail supplement (Please make cheques payable to 'The Open University', NOT to 'NATTA')

Details from NATTA , c/o EERU,
The Open University,
Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
Tel: 01908 65 4638 (24 hrs)

The full 32 (plus) page journal can be obtained on subscription
The extracts here only represent about 25% of it.

This material can be freely used as long as it is not for commercial purposes and full credit is given to its source.

The views expressed should not be taken to necessarily reflect the views of all NATTA members, EERU or the Open University.

We are now offering to e-mail subscribers a PDF version of the complete Renew, instead  of sending them the printed version, should they wish.