Renew On Line (UK) 61
|Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 161 May-June2006
|Welcome Archives Bulletin|
5. Policy overview
With the Tory party, under its new leader David Cameron, painting itself green, Alan Duncan made his debut speech as the Conservative shadow trade and industry secretary on 12 Jan. during a debate on energy. He commented ‘Unfortunately, the current raft of measures designed to encourage diversity is failing; for example, the costs imposed on generating companies by the Government’s renewables obligation are passed on to consumers, who will end up subsidising renewable energy by as much as £1 bn a year by 2010 and £1.5 bn by 2015. However, although the renewables obligation provides enough subsidy to make onshore wind profitable, it does not do enough for any of the other technologies, and a viable and significant renewables sector depends on a range of renewable generation technologies. Those technologies face the gap between the grant funding available for early stage development and the price support available through the renewables obligation. Until the gap is bridged, offshore wind, biomass, wave, tidal and solar power will be largely or wholly confined to demonstration projects, unable to complement and compete with onshore wind.’
Borrowing it seems from the recent Geenpeace report on decentral energy (see Renew 158), he added ‘the current centralised infrastructure of energy production and distribution is an area for further study. An astonishing 65% of the energy available from the fossil fuels burnt never reaches the homes and businesses that pay the bills. Some is lost in the inefficient generation process, but yet more is lost in transmitting electricity over great distances. Decentralised models, including combined heat and power systems, substantially reduce that loss.’ and he quoted Woking as an example of good practice ‘Woking council’s decentralised energy system has reduced its energy consumption by 44%’.
In the 2004 Pre-Budget Report, HM Treasury and Defra announced an Energy Efficiency Innovation Review to examine how a step change in energy efficiency in the domestic, business and public sectors in the UK could be delivered cost effectively. In his pre-budget speech last Dec., Gordon Brown reported that the ‘evidence base for the review’ had been developed by the Carbon Trust and the Energy Saving Trust who had produced independent reports to the Government. He noted that ‘Work for the Review found that the current policy mix was delivering significant carbon savings by improving energy efficiency but that the uptake of energy efficiency could be enhanced by a number of measures, including raising awareness and support for innovative technologies’.
He said that the Government welcomed these reports and that ‘a number of findings from the Review have already fed into the wider Review of the UK Climate Change Programme’.
He also announced new measures to improve energy efficiency, through the proposed Green Landlord Scheme (giving landlords an incentive to invest in energy efficiency in their rental properties), and £35m for the Carbon Trust, to provide interest free loans for energy-saving in the business & public sectors.
The ODPM have published a consultation paper on proposals for a Code for Sustainable Homes which include energy efficiency minimum standards, based on the Building Regs. But it does not specifically mention CHP, Micropower or renewables and following many critical reactions on this and other aspects, ODPM have revised the final version- full details in Renew 162.
Scotland could do it
A report by Edinburgh University confirms it will be possible to generate 40% of Scotland’s electricity from sources such as wind and wave by 2020, but warns that renewable sources will not meet peak demand and other sources will be needed to fill the gap. The report, ‘Matching Renewable Energy Generation with Demand,’ says renewable sources can easily match demand, but not on an hour-by-hour basis.'Due to the variability of the renewable energy output, 40% of the actual demand level will only be met or exceeded for a fraction of the hours in a year’. During times of peak demand and insufficient production, electricity would have to be imported or come from other sources of generation. ‘Diversification of energy sources and their geographical dispersion improves the hour-by-hour matching with demand. Nevertheless there will be many hours in a year when renewable output from wind, waves and tidal currents falls below demand targets and balancing plant would be needed.’
Deputy Enterprise Minister Allan Wilson accepted that there would still be a place for conventional methods of generating electricity, and added that he was delighted to hear that ‘Scottish Power are undertaking work to extend the life of the Longannet plant in Fife, as plants such as this will play a vital role in meeting and balancing demand’. Friends of the Earth Scotland agreed that ‘peaks in demand will need additional flexible generating capacity’ but suggested that these ‘could be provided by other renewable resources like biomass or hydro power, but not by nuclear’ which could not act as variable back up. Source: Thisisnorthscotland.com
...but there is a grid crisis
Local Gains & Pains
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