Politics and ‘renewable hot air’?

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Despite an election campaign that failed to mention UK renewable energy policy, the recent G7 meeting made a commitment to pursue ‘deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions’. Good news? Yes, probably, although cynics might suggest this does no more than delay commitments made previously to reduce emissions by 50% before 2050! Rhetoric will no doubt increase toward the ‘UN climate show’ in December; a major objective of which is to limit global temperature increase to 2°C.

John Findlay of Carbon Zero Consulting, explains ‘the UK’s efforts in reducing CO2 emissions rely on replacing coal (and later, gas) with increased power output from nuclear, wind, solar, tidal – and through massive uptake of renewable heating. The latter continues in a rather surprising direction. Recent figures show that 93% of all non-domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI) applications have been for biomass systems. On the domestic front the story is more mixed but shows that the predicted renewable market as a whole is well below where it needs to be.
Major changes are needed to the RHI to breathe life into the renewable heating market, to correct the imbalance of technology uptake and to allow movement toward the stated aims of the UK Climate Change Act.

Proposals to address these factors have been developed by the ground source heat pump association (GSHPA). These can be found at GSHPA_Manifesto Briefing. Findlay adds that “although recent reductions to biomass RHI will help the situation, we must ensure renewable technologies are selected on sound engineering principles – and not simply on short term RHI gain”.