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Archive for March, 2009

I just received a very interesting comment from a “simple builder” about the regulatory maze. There are some interesting points in there. I don’t agree with all of them but I wanted to draw attention to them just the same:

Sorry guys I just have to speak out.

I speak as a simple Builder, we are a practical breed, not scientists, but we are being treated with rafts of legislation written by lunatics…

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Future Energy Yorkshire has put together some standardised biomass supply contracts, available from their website. This provides a great starting point and actually takes some real costs out of setting up a supply contract. Excellent work, FEY.

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As flagged up by Tom at XCO2e, the Warwick wind trial final report (pdf) is out and the results aren’t good. Keeping in mind that the trials included only sub-2kW turbines, there are some important things to take away from the report:

  1. We consultants must be cautious – it’s not enough to take an average wind speed or a predicted output from the London Plan and think it has any relationship to reality. It’s becoming even clearer that a lot of site specific analysis is required before considering micro-wind.
  2. NOABL isn’t applicable in the built environment – the study found that the NOABL database consistently overestimated wind speeds by around 16x relative to measured data. The study recommends scaling factors for NOABL data that bring the predictions in line with measured data (these are based on a limited sampling period so should be treated with caution – but it’s a good start).
  3. Manufacturers can’t be trusted – using measured wind speeds and manufacturers’ power curves overestimated power output by 170% – 340%. As the report points out, there are other reasons why this might be: accuracy of monitoring equipment, response times, etc. But check out the graphs on page 30 of the report showing sampled power output vs. manufacturers’ Cp curves. OUCH!
  4. Micro-wind in the built environment may be a bad application of a good technology.

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A bunch of green bloggers got together last week after EcoBuild and as the pints slid down, the conversation got increasingly nerdtastic. It got so bad that drunken consultants were pulling out their laptops (never a good idea in the pub) and gesturing wildly at powerpoint slides as they slurred and babbled incoherently. Not naming names, but we know who we are.

Inevitably,  the conversation turned to feed in tariffs in the UK. In December, the wind turbine company Proven Energy called for a 40p rate. The folks at quietrevolution have suggested 25p for the first 25MWh, then stepping down. Turning to PV, a survey for solarcentury found that 90% of people would “consider” solar with a FiT of 50p.

There’s no doubt that the FiT in Germany is responsible for the PV boom there, creating 250k jobs. Other countries such as Spain, Italy, Greece, France, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, and Bulgaria (Bulgaria?! We’ve been shown up by Bulgaria?) have followed suit.

So what would level of FiT would be required in the UK to match the support shown by a country like, say, Italy?

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Unfortunately I have to do some flippin work this morning and so can’t attend the passivhaus seminars at ecobuild. If anybody attends, could you put up a comment or drop me an email?

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