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Latest News

£320 million fund to support new district heating projects

April 11th, 2018

 

The UK government has just launched a £320 million fund to support new district heating projects underlining its commitment to decarbonising heat.  It should come as no surprise that this sort of initiative is a crucial part of the Clean Growth Strategy.  To be eligible for support projects would need to see 50% renewable heat.

 

The UK is a long way behind other EU nations in its efforts.  This is largely due to the historic availability of cheap North Sea gas that replaced coal as the primary heating source for homes and businesses (and for the generation of electricity).  Denmark did not have access to such cheap energy and was forced to find more innovative approaches – better insulated buildings, early adoption of wind energy and utilising district heat networks.  Over time Denmark has incorporated more and more solar thermal into its heating networks to the point that it now leads the world.  The Danes are targeting 100% renewable energy by 2050 (and they are well on track!).

 

Generating both heat and power from the same area makes a lot of sense in the context of expensive roof top installations for distributed heating solutions.  However, it makes an even better business case in the context of solar thermal district heating solutions where the value and availability of land must be taken into consideration.  One of the most ambitious projects to date will see the city of Graz in Austria moving to a huge 400MW solar thermal solution to achieve 30% of its annual heating and hot water demand.

 

Naturally we at Naked Energy welcome all of the developments in this area and look forward to collaborating on new district heating projects where Virtu’s unique combination of high efficiency thermal output with electricity from PV will differentiate us from the competition.

 

Further reading:

 

Will your property be lettable after 1st April 2018?

March 20th, 2018

It’s no joke – under new legislation, UK commercial properties must meet strict new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) from 1st April 2018.  If a building has an EPC rating of less than E it could be affected.

 

What is the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES)?

The minimum energy efficiency standard was introduced in March 2015 by the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015. The MEES Regulations originate from the Energy Act 2011.

 

 

The energy we use for heating and powering our non-domestic buildings is responsible for around 12% of the UK’s emissions. Taking remedial action can be expensive and disruptive.  We would always advise on implementing energy efficiency measures as a first step, which is very much the motive behind the new EPC legislation.  However, sometimes integrating measures like new double glazed windows or improving insulation in walls and roofs can be both expensive and disruptive.

 

Not surprisingly we would encourage anyone likely to be affected to seek professional advice and to also consider the advantages of incorporating an element of renewable energy generation wherever possible.  ‘Virtu’ Naked Energy’s very high energy density solar collectors produce both heat and power thereby offsetting far more CO2 per square metre of roof space than alternative solutions.  This will not only improve the EPC rating, but gives the landlord greater control over energy bills and ultimately, in many cases an additional income stream as well as enhancing the value of its asset.

 

For more information please see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/656541/Non-Dom_Private_Rented_Property_Minimum_Standard_-_Landlord_Guidance.pdf

Renewable energy’s next frontier: heat (and coolth)

March 8th, 2018

As Europe is currently experiencing extremely cold weather much attention has been given to the question of heat.  Long overdue in our opinion, as heating accounts for around 50% of all energy used globally and 40% of all CO2 emissions.  Extreme weather and geopolitical uncertainty also draw attention to the potentially serious issues around security of supply.  Although the overall demand for heat is still rising it is being outpaced by the need for cooling.  Renewable thermal energy is gaining a lot of attention with governments around the world acknowledging that despite good progress in decarbonising the generation of electricity by a switch to renewable solutions there is much than can and must be done to make heating and cooling sustainable.

 

Electrification of heating may provide part of the answer, but creates additional challenges at times of peak demand which could be exacerbated by a simultaneous push towards the electrification of the transport sector.  Advances in storage of electricity will play a role, but may not be sufficient. There is no magic bullet and no doubt the best solution will be a mix of technologies.  Solar thermal could play a major role when combined with inter-seasonal storage and district heating systems.  At the other extreme solar thermal is likely to play a significant part in fulfilling the growing demand for air-conditioning where demand and supply are perfectly matched (allowing solar electricity to be used for other applications).

 

Here are a few interesting articles and websites going onto more detail:

 

http://www.iea.org/publications/insights/insightpublications/Renewable_Heat_Policies.pdf

 

http://www.iea-shc.org/data/sites/1/publications/Solar-Heat-Worldwide-2017.pdf

 

https://www.renewablethermal.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/RTC_FactSheet_FINAL.pdf