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Tag Archives: energy efficiency

ETI on energy saving in buildings

By Dave Elliott

The UK Energy Technologies Institute’s report by Jeff Douglas on Decarbonising Heat for UK Homes notes that ~20% of CO2 emissions are from domestic heating, but says insulation/upgrades won’t cut that enough: ‘the scope for cost effectively reducing the energy demand of existing buildings to the great extent required to meet emissions targets is limited as comprehensive insulation and improvement measures are expensive and intrusive. A several hundred billion pound investment in demand reduction for the entire building stock might deliver less than half of the emissions abatement needed. The most cost effective solutions therefore involve the decarbonisation of the energy supply combined with efficiency improvements that are selectively rather than universally applied, as part of a composite package’.

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Green heat: not all going to plan

By Dave Elliott

A new report ‘Policy for Heat: Transforming the System’, from Carbon Connect, follows a cross-party inquiry chaired by Shadow Energy Minister, Jonathan Reynolds MP, and Conservative MP Rebecca Pow. It argues for the better development and greater integration of policy on low carbon heat, energy efficiency and new-build homes. It notes some big problems with current programmes, not helped by the scrapping of the Green Deal and the Zero Carbon Homes policy. (more…)

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Distributed energy: from supply to demand

By Dave Elliott

Energy networks and distributed energy resources in Great Britain”

The context for this IGov paper from Matthew Lockwood at Exeter University, UK, is the desirability of a fundamental shift in the underlying design of the energy system from the supply side to the demand side. It starts by quoting the words of Professor Strbac ‘The whole culture and philosophy of the system is based on a predict-and-provide mentality’. (more…)

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Heat pumps versus combined heat and power

By Dave Elliott

There has been a long and interesting debate over whether heat pumps or combined heat and power (CHP) plants linked to district heating networks are the best option for efficient low carbon home heating.

In theory, a heat pump, working like a refrigerator in reverse, can deliver heat with around three times the energy value of the electricity fed in to run it, though in practice they may not always achieve these high levels of return, especially in cold damp weather (R Roy, S Caird and S Potter 2010 Getting Warmer: a Field Trial of Heat Pumps Energy Saving Trust). But heat pumps do offer a way of upgrading low-grade heat, from whatever source, including the air, ground, water, direct solar and geothermal, and if they are run using electricity from renewable energy sources, their carbon emissions will be low.

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Renewable performance

By Dave Elliott

Some renewable energy sources are variable, so over a year the actual energy output from wind turbines, etc, will be much less than the theoretical maximum if the energy conversion devices was able to work at 100% efficiency for the full time using its full rated power. The ratio of the actual effective capacity the device offers to its nameplate installed capacity is sometimes called the capacity factor, or more usually load factor.

In the UK onshore wind load factors vary from below 20% to above 40% depending on location. 25% is often taken as an average, but that has been moving up to 30% as the technology improves. Offshore wind is sometimes quoted as 35-40% but DECC uses 45% for new projects. The best for far achieved, at Horns Rev II off Denmark, is 47.7%.

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Energy saving

By Dave Elliott

A Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) report last year, Capturing the Full Electricity Efficiency Potential of the UK, identified a potential for cutting energy demand by 40% by 2030, 155 TWh in all, of which current policy is estimated to capture ~54 TWh (~35% of total potential). They focused on three key sectors, and in each case they looked at the 3 largest categories of abatement measures per sector, which together are estimated to deliver ~127 TWh of savings (~80% of total potential).

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