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Archive for November, 2008

The mighty triumvirate has received royal assent: the climate change bill (excellent), the energy bill (excellent), and the planning bill (frightening) have now become acts. So now the UK is legally bound to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050 with interim targets along the way. Within a year we’ll see feed in tariffs for distributed energy up to 5MW. And ironically, the planning bill may be used to railroad through airport expansion and new coal fired power – but let’s ignore that for now.

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private wire NOT illegal

Some people have got the wrong end of the stick on the Citiworks ruling. But some companies appear to be deliberately spreading misinformation to further their own ends.

Just to be clear the ECJ ruling doesn’t make private wire illegal. It does require that private wire networks allow third party access. In other words, if I operate a private wire network I have to allow other electricity suppliers access to my customers. This can be done in a couple of ways, but it can be done without changing the private wire arrangement. In other words, the network will still be license exempt.

So if you come across people saying otherwise, you can contradict them with confidence.

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Til recently, I’d only dealt with the very end of the wood chip supply chain, the part where the chips arrive in a lorry, ready to be tipped into the chip store and burned in the boiler. But in connection with a number of new projects, I’ll be more closely involved in the whole woodchip lifecycle: chipping, drying, storing, delivery etc. And while getting to grips with some practicalities a few interesting quirks have come to light. Maybe not earth-shattering, but interesting just the same so I thought I’d note a couple down here.

First, when you buy wood chip don’t forget you’re paying for water. So if you hold on to that chip for any length of time in the right conditions it will dry further, reducing your tonnage and so increasing your cost per tonne. For example, if you buy a tonne of fresh wood chip at 55% moisture content for £45 and then store it under cover and let it dry out, here’s how the total mass and £/tonne will change as the chip dries to around 25% moisture.

Total mass and £/t for a tonne of wood chip as it dries

Fig 1 – Total mass and £/t for a tonne of wood chip as it dries
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Over on the Sustainability Blog, Michael pointed out that, according to the IEA report, the cost of decarbonising the world’s energy supply would be less than has been spent recently in shoring up the world’s economies. For me a slightly more disturbing number is hidden deeper in the IEA report.

$3.6 trillion – the cost of decarbonising all the world’s energy production between 2010 and 2030.

$9.5 trillion – required investment into oil infrastructure in order to meet demands for oil between now and 2030.

So the cost of decarbonising is a fraction of the amount needed in order to shore up oil infrastructure to maintain business as usual. Sure, this is an oversimplification, but at the heart of it is a sad truth.

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There have been further amendments to the Energy Bill in the Lords in connection with feed-in-tariffs. The one year implementation deadline is back in. Excellent news as the detail of how FiTs are implemented will almost inevitably be bogged down in long discussions between government and power suppliers – a one year limit should focus minds.

Also, the 50kW limit on capacity of gas CHP has been lifted. This means (more…)

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good to be home

our newly picked olives

(Bit off topic) (more…)

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