#17: Decentralised Energy

February 27, 2007
by phil
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Continuing our look at solutions…

In a coal- or gas-powered electricity plant in the UK a staggering 60% of the energy is wasted as heat. In a decentralised model you can use that heat to warm people’s homes using a technology called Combined Heat and Power.

CHP is a proven, market-ready technology (unlike hydrogen or “clean coal”) that is already widely used in Europe. Denmark, for example, generate 50% of their electricity in this way. George Monbiot unconvincingly dismisses CHP in his book “Heat”, whereas The Tyndall Centre have made an important feature of it in their future energy scenarios and it forms a central part of London’s trailblazing plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 60% by 2025 which were unveiled today (see: here).

For this programme I interviewed Jim Footner of Greenpeace. Unfortunately there was a technical problem with the recording which rendered it unbroadcastable. So instead what you’ll hear is a useful introduction to decentralised energy in the form of the soundtrack to the Greenpeace film “What are we waiting for” which was produced by Memory Box films and narrated by Clive Anderson.

Afterwards, I attempt an assessment and run past some of the main points that came out of the discussion with Jim. At the very least, the UK should institute a law (simillar to the one they have in Denmark) that forbids any new build fossil fuelled electricity plants without heat capture (whether in the UK or abroad with UK support).

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