Month: June 2012

A Reality Check on Renewables in the UK David MacKay

This TEDx event video with David MacKay, chief scientific adviser to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change – presents the options and impact for renewable energy and energy efficiency in the UK. He tends to argue a mixed economy of measures are needed.

David MacKay is a professor of Natural Philosophy in the Physics department at the University of Cambridge and chief scientific adviser to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change. He received a degree in Experimental and Theoretical Physics from Trinity College and a PhD. in Computation and Neural Systems as a Fulbright Scholar at Caltech. In 1992, MacKay was made the Royal Society Smithson Research Fellow at Darwin College at University of Cambridge and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in May 2009. He has also taught at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cape Town. In 2003, his bookInformation Theory, Inference, and Learning Algorithms was published and, in 2008, he self-published Sustainable Energy — Without the Hot Air. Both books are fully available for free online.

First UK map of district heating schemes

The Combined Heat & Power Association (CHPA) has published UK’s first map of district heating schemes. It shows widespread deployment of low carbon and renewable heating/cooling networks with 38% of district heating schemes using renewable fuels.

UK District Heating Installation Map

Click here for the Interactive Map

The number double the number of homes on heat networks within five years.

The CHPA identified over 200 existing heat networks – a mixture of residential, commercial and public sites – with a further 70 in development. Analysis of the figures revealed that:

  • The average residential and commercial scheme has over 650 dwellings and 31,000m2 non-domestic floor area connected. The largest residential scheme is being planned in the Nine Elms development in Vauxhall, London, which will have over 16,000 homes connected.
  • Over 53,000 homes currently have their heat supplied by district heating, with another 46,000 homes expected to connect to networks over the next five years.
  • Domestic heating bills are reduced by as much as 50%. Of those schemes that provided figures, bills were reduce by an average of 18% for domestic customers and 13% for commercial customers.
  • 38% of district heating schemes utilise renewable fuels of some form. The majority of these are biomass boilers, with some use of biogas or municipal waste.
  • 20% of district heating schemes also provide district cooling. Passing the heat supply into sorption chillers allows chilled water to be pumped around a network in place of electric air conditioning.

More details.