The World’s Largest Solar PV Array

While the United Kingdom’s renewable energy sector is losing business, due to uncertainty about government policy and the administration’s poor understanding of renewable energy the renewable energy sector in India looks as though it will become increasing prosperous and increasing important to the economic development of India. Continue reading

Ignorance is Everywhere

Ignorance is everywhere but in some places it is more deeply spread than in others and on some topics, such as the environmental protection I can find myself in despair about the ignorance.  Fox News is a good example, although it is not unique. I have seen similar ignorance displayed on the BBC and by the Advertising Standards Authority. Some may be well educated but education does not make you smart.

The following is a good and recent example of what I mean. Continue reading

The Green Deal is No Deal

The UK government has spent now four years, I think it is four years, in designing a Green Deal. When it was announced the purpose of the Green Deal was to create a means of finance for people who want to invest in energy efficiency and in micro-generation for their own homes. The concept was that there would be a loan to cover the whole cost of all approved measures by approved installers so that householders could borrow very cheaply and repay the loan out of the savings they made over the years. Continue reading

New Year’s Resolutions for Energy Ministers

 

  1. Think small to slow down climate change; think microgeneration.
  2. End massive subsidies for wind farms and photovoltaic electricity
  3. Develop and energy policy, rather than an electricity policy
  4. Use the law to require all homes to be insulated to a decent standard
  5. Use Council Tax reductions as an incentive for microgeneration
  6. Stop wood burning power stations
  7. Force fossil fuel power stations to use the best smoke washing and air cleaning technology
  8. Force cars buses and lorries to limit their engine sizes and their pollution emissions
  9. Stop looking for one big solution; climate change was caused by many small events which accumulate
  10. A bit of humility and less boasting would help the intellectual environment

Wind Turbines and the foolishness of subsidising them

About ten miles north of Ramsgate, in the middle of the Thames Estuary some 175 offshore wind turbines have been installed and are now operating, as wind turbines operate, in their own misunderstood fashion. If it is windy, and not too windy, the turbines generate electricity. The publicity claims that the wind turbines will generate enough electricity for 470,000 homes but the publicity is imprecise. There are only 22.5 million homes in the United Kingdom and to power them all will need another 50 arrays of similar turbines but unfortunately it is not as simple as that. Continue reading

Time to Kick Start the Renewable Heat Incentive?

I do not have much time to write a considered essay today, Luckily I have a lot of work to do and tonight will listen to what Mr Greg Barker, the Minister responsible for the Renewable Heat incentive, has to say about it. There will be many people concerned in microgeneration that will listen with interest to what he says.  Continue reading

How to Save on Fuel Bills: Solar Water Heating

The Government of the United Kingdom has announced that it will enact legislation to force energy companies to offer no more than four tariffs and to advise their customers of the cheapest tariff. At a time when energy companies are making record profits from record margins the change is long overdue. Sometime son energy companies will no longer be able to confuse customers with a plethora of tariffs and they will be forced to abandon the so called legacy tariffs under which someone that has not to time or to skill to understand that the tariff they are paying is ridiculously high. Continue reading

How to Control Fuel Prices Without Increasing Pollution and Global Warming

In the United Kingdom the government has decided that the energy companies (there are six that control 99% of the market) have been giving such poor value for money that they should be forced to write to all their customers offering to put the customers on their cheapest tariff. This of course is a policy, devised by an idiot full of words and nonsense signifying nothing.

Continue reading

International Spending on Renewable Energy

If you measure climate change measures that each country adopts by money spent and targets you get a fair idea of the importance that each nation places upon climate change. Of course measuring targets is foolish; targets are fairly meaningless, can be easily fiddled and often miss the point. For example the United Kingdom Continue reading

Air Unfit for Purpose

London has the worst air quality of any European capital, to our shame. It air is contaminated by diesel particulates, nitrous oxide, in some places heavy concentrations of carbon dioxide and all sorts of other pollution caused by burning. Londoners burn fuel to power their vehicles, gas to provide heat and hot water, and coal and gas to provide the electricity that the city uses. Considering that there are no power stations in London, no heavy industry in London and very little light industry in London it is astonishing just how much the air quality is made bad by what is basically a city where most of the working inhabitants are providing services of one kind or another, rather than being manufacturing workers.

There seems to be a strange reluctance by the national or local government to do anything to improve London’s air quality. The United Kingdom is bound by European legislation to keep air quality within certain limits and the regulations that have created these limits have been in force for many years. It is not just London that suffers from poor air quality; the UK government has applied for exemptions from complying with the air quality regulations for Aberdeen and north-east Scotland, Belfast, Birkenhead, Brighton, Bristol, Liverpool, Preston, Sheffield, South-West England; South Wales, Swansea and Tyneside and the exemptions have all been refused by the European Commission.

The refusal to do anything substantive about air quality except apply for exemptions will mean that in addition to bearing the £20 billion a year additional health costs caused or contributed to by poor air quality, the UK taxpayer will have to cough up substantial fines for the Government’s failures on air quality. It is a lose-lose situation. Everyone loses except the European Commission which will gain some fines and no doubt use the fines as purposefully as it uses its other income.

The health care costs are significant. Some years ago I was asked to umpire a cricket match played by twelve year olds in South Wales. I was astonished when four of the children came up to me before the start of the match and ask me to look after their inhaler devices for asthma. I had not understood that air quality was affecting the very young so badly.

There are three main government measures about London’s air quality and the air quality of the nation:-

1. The Clean Air Acts, brought into being in the early 1950s which prohibit the burning of coal and smoke type fuels

2. The Low Emission Zones, under which polluting vehicles are charged because they pollute, but not prohibited from being on the road because they pollute beyond levels that are acceptable.

3. Subsidies for electric cars, which simply displace the emissions and pollution from the city to the power stations.

To improve air quality we have to change people’s behaviour. My suggestions are:-

1. Free public transport, which will take many cars off the road

2. Improved public transport which will take even more cars off the road

3. More solar water heating which will reduce particulates from burning natural gas

4. Tighter smoke washing controls on fuel burning power stations.

These measures will be costly, but we can pay for the costs out of the savings of health expenditure and out of taxation. After all the air is free, but there is a cost to keeping it clean. The air we breathe must be rendered fit for its purpose.