Water and Energy Management

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John’s Climate Change Blog

John Findlay expresses his views and opinions on climate change, the potential impact on the way we live and the arguments surrounding the climate change debate.

RHI Delayed Again

Posted by Carbon Zero Consulting on 30/0911 at 10:51 AM (0) CommentsPermalink
The RHI has been delayed again by DECC - at very short notice!

DECC announced this early on the very day of the intended launch, see; http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/meeting_energy/renewable_ener/incentive/incentive.aspx

The 30th September was meant to be a big day for renewable heat with the advent of the RHI for non-domestic systems.

The delay is caused by an objection raised by the EC. They believe the tariff for large biomass systems is set too high.

DECC's response is to delay the entire RHI launch as opposed to proceeding and sorting out large biomass separately.

This is just the latest of many delays, disappointments and backward steps for renewable heat. How long will this take to sort out? Nobody knows.

This is exactly what the fledgling sector does NOT need. Especially the heat pump sector which is already struggling with low turnover, business failure and a lack of public confidence in ongoing government support.

We need certainty of long term support - not continued bumbling by DECC.

And all this on the same day as our government announces an increase of the speed limit. Brilliant. Now we can burn up our finite reserves of oil even faster.

Gas up again - and still no news of RHI domestic tariff!

Posted by Carbon Zero Consulting on 15/0911 at 01:31 PM (0) CommentsPermalink
The final 'Big 6' energy supplier today announced a gas price hike of over 15%

Electricity is also up by 4.5%

The Oil price has been over $110 per barrel throughout 2011, despite a global reduction in demand, so it is now clear that the age of cheap fossil fuel is far behind us.

I read yesterday by some sage that the price of oil and gas is actually cheaper today than 25 years ago ---- compared to gold! Now where did I put those gold bars I stashed away?!

Heat pumps are the obvious answer for affordable, renewable heating for the mass market.

Would the Government therefore please get a move-on and announce the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) tariff support levels?!

All we know at present is that some people will get £1200 as a one-off payment to install a heat pump until March 2012. Then there is a vague statement that the RHI tariffs will start in 'late 2012'.

There is plenty of interest 'out there' in heat pumps, but the good old British public is losing confidence in the RHI ever appearing in reality.


Posted by Carbon Zero Consulting on 07/0711 at 08:45 AM (0) CommentsPermalink
The rash of ground source installation company failures continues!

There is a cold wind blowing out in the ground source installation sector. Some big names have bitten the dust recently and many smaller operators are disappearing off the radar.

Those managing to keep going are losing money, or at best breaking even or being propped up by major investors - for now.

Good riddance to some of those companies - BUT, equally, the industry has lost many excellent operators with years of expertise vital to a formative industry.

What is going on? Heres a few factors that are contributing - please respond if you disagree or want to add more!

1. The economy in general is not conducive to domestic spending on expensive ground source systems

2. Commercial building is just starting to reappear from a major slump

3. The RHI has become the 'poor relation' of FITs. It has been delayed, chopped, changed and delayed again. This has eroded confidence in domestic RHI. For many potential customers, the vague promise of 'a few pence per kWh at the end of 2012' is insignificant compared to ground source capital cost or the quick win with PV.

4. Why has the government favoured FITs? The UK is a heat dominated society, RHI should have greater importance

5. Rumour has it that the RHI will not support installation in new build homes. Another major blow to heat pump sales!

6. Gas has gone up - but it is still very cheap compared to ground source capital costs

7. Uncertainty over government RHI support for Air source. Will they or won't they?!

8. 'Cowboy' operators; A job can be won by undersizing systems to reduce material costs. 6 months later the system fails but the installer has long since got his money!

9. The knock-on effect of 8. above is that project costs are driven down to a level where competent operators cannot afford to take on a project - or if they so; the project loses money.


Posted by Carbon Zero Consulting on 10/0611 at 12:58 PM (0) CommentsPermalink
The Environment Agency today announced that East Anglia and other parts of England are in drought or 'near drought'.

What does this mean for operation and efficiency of Ground Source systems?

In short - very little!

Open loop systems are predominantly non-consumptive i.e they operate by pumping groundwater from one borehole and injecting back into another via a heat exchanger. All that changes is the groundwater temperature. As such open loop systems are NOT at risk in terms of efficiency or Environment Agency intervention

Closed loop borehole systems will not be affected at all.

Closed loop horizontal (e.g slinky) systems would potentially be affected if the drought extended into the next heating system as dry soil is less thermally efficient than wet soil. However - if you are using a horizontal system for cooling this summer, efficiency will be reduced.

A pond or lake loop could potentially be seriously affected if the water level in the lake, pond or spring was significantly lowered.

If drought continues into autumn/winter then we will certainly comment further.

Also see our website http://www.envireauwater.co.uk for regular water resource updates.

Energy & Climate Change

Posted by Carbon Zero Consulting on 01/0611 at 10:53 AM (0) CommentsPermalink
Theres a lot of energy and climate news about - so heres a few thoughts for what they're worth!

Germany is about to drop nuclear energy and build coal fired power stations? (ok with some more wind as well). When did the last tsunami hit Germany I wonder?

UK shale gas exploration gets off to a 'shaky start' having allegedly caused 2 small earthquakes near Blackpool?!

The highest ever worldwide carbon emissions in 2010 - despite a major recession.

Some European governments are postponing their carbon reduction actions to adopt a ''wait and see how bad a climate related disaster might be '' policy! Brilliant! Maybe go and talk to some of the survivors of recent tornados in the USA? Or ask the Australian government about the effect on their economy of the extreme climatic events this year?

All this in the face of $110/barrel price of oil, rising gas price and absolutely no sign yet of progress toward practical Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) technology. The latter makes a mockery of building new coal power stations!

We don't have too many options to keep the lights on and stave off the worst of climate change - so isn't nuclear backed up by wind/solar/wave/hydro/geothermal renewables (with heat pumps for heating) our only viable way ahead? John Findlay June 2011

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