Archive for October, 2008

Last night, Lord Hunt came back with his amendments to the Energy Bill and, as promised, here’s an update. For electricity feed in tariff, he’s proposed:

  • Feed in tariff for renewable generation up to a maximum of 3MW (excellent).
  • Qualifying technology: biomass, biofuels (oh dear), fuel cells, photovoltaics, water (including waves and tides), wind, solar power, geothermal sources, combined heat and power systems with an electrical capacity of 50 kilowatts or less.
  • No timetable for implementation (as far as I could see – is it buried in there somewhere? What will the Baroness say?)

On a heat incentive:



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A quick thought on feed in tariffs.

If a value is agreed for micro power generating renewables, what will the impact be on the solar thermal industry? Would this amount to an anti-competetive subsidy for one type of technology over another? And if so, what are the wider implications?

I can see a scenario in super low energy dwellings where the feed-in tariff for PV might result in an electric heating and DHW solution, but without solar thermal as it may have a poorer pay back. This could result in solutions biased towards oversized PV in situations where solar thermal provides a more common sense fit.

Any thoughts?

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Watson, come here please

This is my first post from an iPhone using the free wordpress blogging app. Very fun.

Wired magazine recently predicted the end of blogging. As the once democratic medium is hijacked by journalists, apparently people are flocking to twitter as the best means of keeping “in touch” with friends and colleagues. For me it doesn’t make sense to replace blogging with twitter’s vacuous soundbites, which seem tailor made to discourage coherent discussion. Having said that, this sort of mobile blogging isn’t far off. Excuse me, I think I nearly tweeted.

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Away from the fanfare around Ed Miliband’s announcement that a feed in tariff (FiT) is on the way, the Lords have been debating an amendment to the Energy Bill that has the support of Conservatives, Lib Dems, and even some Labour peers.

What’s in the amendment? It says the Secretary of State has one year from the passing of the bill to bring in a feed in tariff. And the qualifying technologies, their maximum capacity, and their level of support are left to the Secretary of State to decide with no specified cap.

Despite wide support, it was clear that the Government wouldn’t officially get behind the bill as it wasn’t their idea. In fact, as recently as June the Government were firmly against a feed in tariff.

Baroness Wilcox, the amendment’s sponsor, has now withdrawn it, but only on the condition that the Government meet specific terms in their own amendment, which they’re expected put forward on 5 November. However, if the Government doesn’t fulfill her demands, she will reintroduce her original amendment. Here are her terms in a nutshell (my comments in italics):


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Ed Miliband has just made his first speech to parliament in his role as head of the DECC. In it, he said he’ll accept all of the findings of the Committee on Climate Change and will amend the climate change bill to raise the legally binding cuts from 60% to 80%. He will also amend the bill to include a feed in tariff for “small community-scale renewable energy projects” as well as microgeneration. No indication of what this means in terms of kW’s or, crucially, what level of support they’ll offer.

Excellent news. Also positive is that Greg Clark, the shadow secretary for energy and climate change, was broadly in favour of the announcements. And he criticised big Ed for not including measures for renewable heat. I disagree with him about the “renewable” part, but it’s heartening to hear mainstream politicians getting close to the crux of the issue.

More details here.

Full text and ministerial bumpf here.

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If you haven’t checked out Michael Willoughby’s biomass blog, Woodfuel Magazine, you should. It’s an RSS feed well worth subscribing to. Keep it up, Michael!

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Over recent weeks it’s become clearer which way the wind is blowing on private wire. Although BERR and OFGEM have set themselves an end-of-year deadline for finalising changes to the licensing regime, it’s possible to get a feel for which way they’re headed. Here are some of the key bits:


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