Debt & Climate Change qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum
29 Oct 2008 08:10:44
Let him who desires peace prepare for war. We have two potent enemies, Debt and Climate Change, in my view effectively tackling the latter can materially reduce the former.
Renewable Engineering/Energy from 1086 and before until the middle of the last century was a source of Wealth and Power.
To counter these enemies the Government favours building wind farms, schools, hospitals etc. All of little real use against Climate Change nor of economic use to counter debt. It's the Maginot concept, defensive and in the end useless against the blitzkreig of Carbon Dioxide and Cash Shortage. Yet a Keynesian policy for Renewable Engineering/Energy investment could bring great reards, for countering Climate Change, Debt and Inflation.
I have just been reading the House of Lords Select Committee on European Union Twenty-Seventh Report, The EU's Target for Renewable Energy: 20% by 2020 reportlus the Press release on it, http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/lords_press_notices/pn241008eub.cfm http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldeucom.htm and have the following comments:-
1. In the present economic turmoil it seems very ulikely that Householders will take up grants for Renewable Engineering Equipment , if they have to put their hand in to their own pocket. And borrowing is also "out" for most. It is therefore suggested that one looks at these USA initiatives, which involve leasing. http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/story?id=53874 http://energy-for-future.blogspot.com/ I have been quietly working on a renewable engineering equipment leasing project for the village of Orleton since last April
2. The report states that some 41% of energy use is heating/cooling & hot water. The Orleton project noted above aims to install Solar Water Heaters and Heat Pumps in all 230 or so dwellings in the village. It is suggested that these technologies should receive priority in any Government programme.. They can also counter Fuel Poverty, and produce a positive cash flow quite quickly. They are, I understand, now not requiring planning permission in most cases. There is one form of "heat pump" used reportedly in the Pyrenees which just consists of some 20m of pipe buried about a meter below ground. Air drawn through such a pipe will come out at a constant temperature year round of about 57 F [15 C], heating in winter, cooling in summer
3. Solar Electricity. In February 1998 Lord Liverpool asked a question about the UK's overall potential for this technology. The Government reply, quoting a 1994 report, gave the maximum available capacity [based on roof areas available] as about the same output as the then electricity demand. The text of this reply should be on file in their Lorship's records.I understand that in Holland energy supply companies "lease" roof space from householders. Piad for by an electricity supply, the surplus generated being sold elsewhere by the supply company.
4. A most valuable contribution to both electricity and heat supplies [CHP] can be provided by waste disposal plants. There is one at Ludlow [www.greenfinch.co.uk see also http://www.chpa.co.uk/about_us/profiles/woking.shtml for CHP]. There are a number of other energy producing waste disposal plants about. In this context it is suggested that Local Authorities should once more be given powers to collect/generate Energy, include from Solar, Waste & Hydro, and sell it to their local inhabitants to defray Council Expenses. One might envisage removing the need for Council Tax ? In the old days the Gas Works created Council income. The Local Government Association has been discussing this see http://www.r-e-a.net/MembersTab/local-authority-membership-2/local-authorities-and-renewable-energy and www.localpower.org . Longer term the CO2 from Wast Disposal plants could be converted to Biodiesel through the use of Algae beds.
5. A potent barrier to economic installation of Renewable Engineering Equipment is Bureaucracy. This should be kept to a minimum. Equipment suppliers prices should be examined very carefully, even now some try to "cash in". For example Solar PV in the USA can cost as little as $1.0/watt for the panel [£0.63] UK prices are often many times this, One reason of course is that the equipment has to be imported.
6. The USA is viewing the development and manufacture of Renewable Engineering Equipment as the "Technology for the 21st Century". See below http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/a-green-new-deal-can-save-the-worlds-economy-says-un-958696.html http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2008/10/16/11328/229 Except for these recent articles http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/oct/23/commentanddebate-energy-environment-climate-change http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/oct/27/green-new-deal-climate-change the UK does not yet seem to have the same view of the very considerable opportunities for manufacture, employment and a major contribution to countering adverse economic conditions, including both debt and inflation. Not least about 23 million heat pumps [to bring us up to Swedish standards - 95% of dwellings have one there] as many or more Solar Water Heaters, a vast quantity of Solar PV [cf. item 3 above]. waste disposal plants, local Hydro, and of course Offshore Wind and Tidal power. There is an almost "wartime" effort needed, not just make what we need, but to install it and maintain it. Could do wonders for countering the Recession ?? But where is the political or other leadership pointing this out ?