Andy Ford responds to CIBSE Journal
1 September 2014
Andy Ford responds to ground source installation issues raised in the August edition of the CIBSE Journal: What does lie beneath.
DECC publishes Evaluation of non-domestic RHI - 29 August 2014
DECC has published an "independent" evaluation of the non-domestic RHI which concludes that the RHI is stimulating investments in renewables, that installation and operation of renewable has been positive and that biomass boilers have been installed in a wide range of sectors. See interim report on RHI Evaluation.
DECC publishes Water Source Heat Map - 11 August 2014
Ed Davey of DECC has published a "high level water source heat map" of 40 urban rivers in England with the highest potential for water source heat pump use for both renewable heating and renewable cooling. The map identifies areas of high heat demand beside rivers with sufficiently high flow rates.
DECC's vision for decarbonisation of heating involves a number of low carbon technologies. Its modelling shows there is a particularly important role for heat pumps and for heat networks.
DECC is particularly interested in deploying water source heat pumps as part of heat networks projects, where heat pumps provide low carbon and renewable heating to a number of different buildings through district heating networks and heating sharing networks.
See DECC's water source heat map.
Open water heat pump systems work by recovering solar energy stored naturally in river water. Water is abstracted after passing through a filtration process and then passes through high-efficiency heat pumps to harvest the low grade heat in the water before being returned to the river with a temperature change of no more than 3°C.
The Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, has described the development as "game changing" in relation to Britain's need for renewable energy against the backdrop of insecurity in Russia, which supplies much of Europe's gas, and the political row at home over soaring fuel bills.
GSHPA Summer Conference 10 July 2014
The GSHPA held its Summer Conference at the Building Centre, London, on Thursday 10 July. Summer Conference 2014. There was a good opportunity to catch up with conditions in the commercial and domestic markets and the opportunity the revised Commercial RHI tariffs offer - together with the introduction of Domestic RHI on 9 April 2014.
Andy Davey of DECC came to listen as well as to speak: he was concerned to find if there were barriers to the take-up of ground source energy and if DECC or Ofgem could do more to encourage the adoption of ground source energy which was way behind what DECC had envisaged. This led to a lively exchange of views and a number of proposals from the GSHPA.
MCS Guidance on domestic renewable heating threshholds
MCS has published guidance on how to apply the revised thresholds for MCS installations. These apply for installations since 16 December 2013. Although only individual heating appliances of up to 45 kWth can gain MCS certification, MCS certified installers can design, install and certify systems with a heat demand of up to 70 kWth by using more than one certified appliance. An MCS installer who can demonstrate competency may also install multiple MCS installations of up to 70 kWth within a given property: and it may not be necessary for these multiple areas to be hydraulically separated.
Ofgem opens for Domestic RHI
On 9 April 2014 Ofgem opened its servers for Domestic RHI applications. Six years after the Energy Act 2008, it is possible to make an application to Ofgem to receive RHI for domestic applications to support the costs of renewable energy technologies installed since 15 July 2009. See RHI Domestic. Owners of domestic properties installing ground source heat pumps can now receive rewarding financial returns as well as a green heating system.
Ed Davey promotes heat pumps
See article in the Independent on Sunday published on 23 March: Ed Davey on Heat Pumps.
GSHPA at Ecobuild 4-6 March 2014
Council members of the GSHPA spoke at an Ecobuild Green Energy seminar on Seasonal Thermal Energy Storage and GSHP case studies on Thursday 6 March.
GSHPA on the move
The GSHPA website, like most others, was originally written to be browsed on a desktop. With many people now viewing sites from their mobiles, the site has been retuned to display well on small screens as well as on large ones. You can now view GSHPA more easily "on the move".
GSHPA appoints new Chairman
At the Council meeting on 23 April Simon Lomax, Managing Director of Kensa Engineering, was elected as the new Chairman of the GSHPA.
RHI rates expected to double
Following the meeting with GSHPA Coucil members in December, DECC issued its Announcement on 21 January 2013.
DECC has confirmed that "evidence suggests there may be differences between actual costs and load factors of installations and the original assumptions used to calculate the current tariffs" clearly indicating that the early assumptions needed revisiting.
The GSHPA evidence submitted supports an increase of tariff rates to 9.4p/kWh.
The DECC announcement goes on to confirm that, "It is DECC's intention that where tariffs increase as a result of this work, installations accredited from today (21 January 2013) would benefit from that increase once the new tariffs come into force".
DECC £6m scheme for social housing
DECC announces a £6m scheme for social housing.
GSHPA meets with Minister
GSHPA Council members met with Greg Barker and DECC officials on 17 December 2012 to address the issue of why 98% of RHI payments had been made to owners of biomass boiler installations. The stated intentions of the RHI are:
- to reduce carbon emissions
- to support innovation
- to support a range of renewable technologies
- and encourage employment in renewable energy companies in the UK
Unfortunately the RHI is failing badly on all these counts - indeed the RHI is currently operating to frustrate these objectives.
The tariff levels for large GSHP installations are currently less than half the rate for biomass boilers and the calculations include major errors in the calculations that supress the GSHP tariffs.
The Minister encouraged officials to accelerate the review of the GSHP tariffs and is expecting to announce that changes in tariffs will to be corrected with an announcement from the Minister in the second week of January.
Ofgem accredits GSHC installations
Although the commercial RHI began on 28 November 2011, it has taken over a year for Ofgem to commernce accreditation for Ground Source Heating and Cooling ("GSHC") installations.
After many months of GSHPA lobbying of DECC and Ofgem, Ofgem wrote to the GSHPA and other stakeholders on 5 December 2012 to say that owners of GSHC systems will be entitled to receive RHI, but at a discounted rate. Owners of systems up to 100kW rated capacity will receive RHI at 72.3% of the RHI rate for ground source heat pumps. Owners of systems over 100kW rated capacity will receive RHI at 64.73% of the RHI rate for ground source heat pumps.
For more see Ofgem starts accrediting GSHC.
EGEC calls for action
The European Geothermal Energy Council has called for an EU action plan on renewable heating and cooling in order to assess the major bottlenecks hindering the further development of ground source energy in Europe: EGEC Press Release.
The EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger says that "geothermal will play an important role in the future energy mix of the EU" and that "we should encourage geothermal development in more and more cities".
Philippe Dumas, Manager at the European Geothermal Energy Council, pointed out that "policy-makers, local authorities and utilities need to be more aware of the full range of geothermal resources available and of their possible applications".
Vertical Borehole Standard
The GSHPA's Vertical Borehole Standard which covers the design, installation and testing of closed-loop vertical boreholes was published in September 2011. The GSHPA's Thermal Pile Standard was published in September 2012.
The MCS Microgeneration Installation Standard for heat pumps, version 3.1, has now been published: MIS 3005 Heat Pump Systems.
The GSHPA has contributed to MIS 3005 and the Environment Agency's Good Practice Guide.
Members of the GSHPA gain publicity from live links to their websites from the Members pages. Members can also help to increase the search rankings of the GSHPA site by providing backlinks to the GSHPA site.
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RHI GSHP rates Double
DECC announced dramatic increases in RHI for ground source heat pumps in commercial installations on 4 December 2013. See RHI – Commercial.
Ofgem acknowledged that DECC's announcements of 4 December 2013 will take effect from 28 May 2014.
RHI Biomass rates fall
DECC announced a 5% decrease in RHI for new small biomass commercial installations from 1 July 2014. See Biomass tariff degression.
RHI Biomass rates fall again
DECC announced a further 10% decrease in RHI for new small biomass commercial installations from 1 October 2014. See Biomass tariff degression.
GSHPA website attracts more traffic
The GSHPA website has become the starting point for learning about GSHPs, GSHC, renewable heat, renewable cooling and new approaches to installing integrated renewable technology systems - and now attracts around 4,000 visitors a month.
GSHPA welcomes Domestic RHI Tariffs
The GSHPA welcomes the DECC Statement of Domestic RHI tariffs. The announcements are summarised on RHI – Domestic and the GSHPA has issued the following press release: Domestic RHI tariffs paid over seven years.
GSHPA welcomes increased RHI Tariffs
Simon Lomax, Chairman of the GSHPA, welcomes the doubling of RHI – Commercial tariffs for smaller GSHP installations and the tripling of tariffs for larger GSHP installations in the following press release: Increased RHI Tariffs for GSHPs.
Thoughts from the GSHPA
Jake Salisbury sheds light on the need for industry standards in Heat Pumps Today.
EST Heat Pump Field Trials – Phase 2
The GSHPA welcomes the second EST report on heat pumps and the clear recognition that heat pumps will perform well if they are properly installed. The installation itself is critical: please see list of installers who are members of the GSHPA: Installers of GSHPs.
Based upon the results of its study, the Energy Saving Trust is convinced that heat pumps can play a significant part to help the UK reach its targets for reducing carbon emissions. Heat pumps can provide an effective, efficient solution for heating in many homes.
GSHPA RHI Conference on 17 July 2013
The GSHPA ran a lively Summer Conference on 17 July at Manchester College. A mood of optimism suffused the conference following the recent announcements from DECC on the increases in the Commercial RHI tariffs and increases in the Domestic RHI tariffs. At last the Renewable Heat Incentive will enable ground source energy to play its part in saving energy, carbon emissions and cash. You can catch-up with the presentations which can be seen at Summer Conference.
UK's Largest GSHP Retrofit Project
The UK's largest GSHP retrofit project was completed by Kensa to a tight deadline in December 2012. Yarlington Housing Group has 200 Kensa GSHPs installed.
GSHPA RHI Seminar on 27 March 2013
GSHPA calls for correction of RHI tariffs
The GSHPA has renewed its call for DECC to conclude its deliberations on a revised Renewable Heat Incentive commercial tariff without further delay. See press release of 4 March 2013.
GSHPA responds to Select Committee
The GSHPA has responded to the call for evidence on the RHI from the Commons Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change. See GSHPA responds to Select Committee
DECC responds to the consultation
DECC responds to the consultation returns on "Renewable Heat Incentive: providing certainty, improving performance" on the non-domestic RHI and at the same time confirms that RHI tariffs for non-domestic RHI are being reviewed and the anticipated changes will be backdated to 21 January 2013.
Solar Roads Systems for cycle tracks
The Dutch are planning to make their cycle lanes ice-free by using ground source energy: warm roads melt ice.
Confirmation on Reduced Rate Vat at 5% for GSHP residential installations
Following correspondence with the GSHPA after enquiries from one of its members, HMRC confirmed on 4 January 2013 that it is in agreement with the wording on the GSHPA's page on Reduced Rate Vat.
BGS sharpens its tools
The British Geological Survey has developed an open loop screening tool in conjunction with the Environment Agency to assess whether your postcode is likely to sitting above a suitable aquifer for a large open loop GSHP system. You can find explanations, and the new tool itself, on the GSHP page of the BGS website.
BGS contributes to ThermoMap
The British Geological Survey is the UK member of the EC co-funded ThermoMap project which focuses on the mapping of very shallow geothermal energy potentials in Europe.
The ThermoMap does not aim to inform about the geology of your area for the purposes of drilling a borehole for ground source energy. However, you can go directly to BGS for this information.
Price of gas soars
On 8 June 2011 Scottish Power announced a 19% increase in the price of gas from 1 August.
On 8 July 2011 British Gas, owned by Centrica, announced it is putting up its domestic gas prices by 18% and electricity prices by 16% from 18 August. This follows a 7% increase in both gas and electricity in December 2010.
On 21 July 2011 Scottish & Southern announced a 18% increase in the price of gas from 14 September, on top of a 9% increase in gas in December 2010.
As this is attributable to increases in the wholesale price of gas, increases from other suppliers seem inevitable. With inflation running at 4.5%, why is this occurring? What is the background?
- World demand for gas increased by 7.4% last year - the largest annual increase ever.
- An increasing world population, enjoying increasing wealth, is demanding more gas.
- Gas is used for heating, industrial purposes, and generating electricity at power stations.
- The nuclear meltdown at Fukushima following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami on 10 March 2011 has raised safety questions over generating electricity from nuclear plants.
- Since Fukushima, Germany and Switzerland have announced that they will phase out their nuclear power stations. Electric power generation using gas is the obvious alternative.
- Italy, in a referendum on 12 June 2011, has overwhelmingly rejected generating electricity with nuclear power.
- Britain's new generation of nuclear power stations are likely to be delayed in the wake of the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima.
- The retail price of gas has risen 233% since 2004.
- The price of gas in the UK has historicaly been low because of the supply from the North Sea and a well developed distribution system of piped gas to nearly all houses in urban areas.
What will happen to the price of gas in future?
The price of gas has risen in the past, is rising now and is likely to continue rising in the future. The increase in world population will put increasing pressure of demand on gas - and other natural resources. The price of electricity tends to rise in line with the cost of gas.
What is the alternative to using gas for heating?
A ground source heat pump provides gas-free heating.