Saturday, 30 April 2016

New Sunshine Tariff for Wadebridge

Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network has agreed a day/night summer tariff with a difference - it's cheaper in the day!
From 9am to 4pm in summer, customers will pay only 5p per unit.
This is designed to raise awareness of the desirability to use solar PV electricity of which there is a lot in Wadebridge.
I wonder if such a scheme could also have lower charges from 8pm to 9 am in winter, which would save £8000 per kilowatt in new generation capacity from nuclear?

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Community Energy Action Report helps us to see where we should be heading

Western Power Distribution published a report late last year that describes in great detail their engagement with several communities in the quest for awareness raising and behaviour change that would benefit both the suppliers and users of electricity.

You can download and read the report at

I think my aim is a step on the way, simpler and  less ambitious - to reduce national peak demand by awareness raising of when that occurs, to which the answer is simple - between 3 and 8pm on winter weekdays.

Once there is general awareness of  peak generation capacity as an issue, the rest can follow on a firmer footing.

Monday, 25 April 2016

What is the simplest way to cause mass behaviour change amongst electricity consumers?

If you ask people in the industry, or in DECC, they say that people will only change their behaviour if they are financially motivated to do so via their electricity tariff. I'm not so sure.

Alex Laskey of Opower says that peer pressure is more important.

But first, people need some basic information on when to use electricity.

How about a traffic light system that tells people when it is most economic for the system as a whole - it would potentially save £50 billion in UK alone, if the alternative is a couple more large nuclear power stations.
At minimal cost, each home could have a light that changes colour when the supply situation changes. At its simplest, the light would be red between 3 and 8pm in winter, amber between 8am and 3pm in winter, and green pretty much all of the rest of the time.
Thus all members of each household would clearly know when it is environmentally and economically better to use or not use electricity.
Let me know what you think and tell your friends.

Monday, 18 April 2016

UK Carbon Emissions have fallen to where they were in 1900

UK CO2 emissions (millions of tonnes) between 1850 and 2015. Source: DECC and the World 
Resources Institute CAIT data explorer. Chart by Carbon Brief. The CAIT data has been adjusted 
because it excludes land use emissions.

What do we make of this? On the face of it, we have been supremely

successful at reducing our carbon emissions since they peaked in 1970,

and are now back down to where they were in 1900.

What has caused this? Here are a few reasons, not necessarily in order of importance:
  • Switching away from coal fired power stations
  • De-industrialisation
  • Continuous progress in energy efficiency
  • The introduction of renewables
  • Demand management!

Where will further progress come from? When will we get back to pre-1850 levels of emissions, which we need to do to combat climate change?
Low Hanging Fruit

For a start we can create the opportunity for a higher percentage of renewables in our energy mix by time-shifting domestic and small business consumption out of peak times -this is probably now the easiest piece of low hanging fruit to pick in the fight to reduce carbon.