Renew On Line (UK) 60

Extracts from NATTA's journal
, issue160 March-April2006

   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1. Intermittency- not a big issue?

2. Marine renewables- tidal and wave progress

3. Wind power- problems and successes

4. The Energy Review- UK split on nuclear power

5. NFFO fund raided – Treasury helps itself

6. Microgen for all – micro CHP in action

7. LCBP gets £30m  - Skills gap? 

8. UK roundup – local wind and solar projects

9. Global Developments - Clinton Global Initiative

10. Europe - France, Spain, Portugal, Germany

11. Around the World - USA, Canada, China

12. Nuclear News- Chernobyl revisited, US Safety

6. Microgen for all

Self-generation of energy from small scale renewables in homes and schools can not only help reduce emissions, it also has spin-off in terms of creating positive attitude to further improvements in energy use, since it makes the issues and the benefits of change tangible, according to a new report ‘Seeing the light: the impact of micro-generation on the way we use energy,’ from the Sustainable Consumption Roundtable. Their survey of mainstream households without microgen installed found that most respondents did not link climate change with their own behaviour, whereas homes with microgen were ‘able not only to understand, but control their energy consumption, resulting in lower bills and a zeal for saving energy throughout the home’. 

The Roundtable, which is a joint initiative of the National Consumer Council and the Sustainable Development Commission, said it was ‘convinced that significant and sustained progress will not be made towards the UK’s carbon reduction targets without actively harnessing consumer concern and converting it to action. The challenge is to raise people’s use of energy in the home from the subconscious to the conscious, and enable them to feel part of the solution.’ Microgen did just that- in homes, and also in schools. And it’s spreading- see Box.    More in Renew 161.

* Some support for this approach came from energy minister Malcolm Wicks: “The climate change challenge is not just about national or global targets, new initiatives or new technologies; it is also about winning hearts and minds, especially young hearts and young minds. Imagine one day, every school with its own micro wind turbine and/or state of the art solar panelling.” 

The DTI is launching a classroom-based initiative to teach young people about renewables and the role of green power and green heat technologies in reducing carbon emissions. The ‘It’s only natural’ education programme has lessons for three student groups, from ages 5 to 18, and a website with information.

Micropower strategy

The Low Carbon Building Programme is seen as part of the Micropower strategy. Malcolm Wicks said: “The installation of microgeneration products such as micro-turbines, solar panels and air source heat pumps are an excellent way for individuals, communities and businesses to make their own contribution to tackling climate change. As these become more widespread they can help to teach children and future generations about the benefits of renewable energy and the way to use our resources more responsibly. The LCBP will be designed to take a holistic approach to reducing carbon emissions from buildings by combining innovative combinations of micro-renewable technologies and energy efficiency measures. As well as continuing to fund single installations, the programmes will fund large-scale developments in the public and private sectors. Potential beneficiaries could include schools, leisure centres or even remote villages that are not connected to the grid.”

* The message that we might  benefit from micropower/locally embedded generation may be getting through. In answer to another Parliamentary Question on Dec 2nd, on ‘how much electricity in megawatts was lost to heat from the national grid in each year since 2000’, Malcolm Wicks reported that: ‘heat is energy and may be expressed in watt-hours, rather than in megawatts, which are units of power’ and supplied the following data: 2000-01: 4,750,000; 2001-02: 4,370,000; 2002-03: 4,330,000; 2003-04: 4,510,000; 2004-05: 4,450,000. That’s well over 10% of total UK electricity supply- equivalent to all the nuclear plants. And to round off he noted that the DTI was currently considered 12 proposals for new generating capacity, with a total of 7,667 megawatts, which note, is about the capacity of the nuclear plants that are to be phased out over the next decade or so, leaving out Sizewell B.

Microgen adjustments

The Government has broadly supported Mark Lazarowicz’s Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Private Member’s Bill, and in addition to seeking amendments to adjust the arrangements for limiting transmission costs for the Scottish Isles (see Renew 159), it wants to use it to simplify the issue of the Renewables Obligation Certificates for microgenerators by allowing agents to amalgamate their output e.g. collect ROCs on behalf of individual domestic generators.  It will also remove the requirement for a sale and buy-back agreement. Currently self-generators  must  sell their output to a supplier before buying it back for their own consumption!

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