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Links for September 8th through September 14th

by Mel Starrs on September 15, 2011

in News

These are my links for September 8th through September 14th:

  • Planning – Insults vs Consultation « The Chris Brown Blog – Ooops – BREEAM is guilty of this mistake too: “The ‘Brownfield First’ policy advocated by the Trust has never been a particularly good one (previously developed land can be in the most unsustainable of locations and should be turned back to natural uses in some cases while some undeveloped sites can present good cases for sustainable development).”
  • NPPF: Centralism meets Localism | UK Regeneration – “The NPPF raises the significance of the Local Plan itself by the removal of much planning policy and guidance at a national level, and changes at local level including the introduction of “Neighbourhood Plans”. The slimmed down NPPF leaves a freedom for more choice; local authorities (and hence local people) can decide what they actually want in their area and how they will interpret sustainable development.
  • The problem with leaving local authorities with that freedom of choice is absence of good local plans in half the councils in England. They will suddenly find that planning approval is to be assumed. And that presumption applies “wherever the plan is silent, indeterminate or where relevant policies are out of date”.”
  • The Low Carbon Kid: Was the Treasury right about cutting support for larger solar installations? – Confirming my long-held view that energy and carbon saving are not the primary drivers for renewables subsidies: “A feed-in-tariff favouring householders may be a good way of popularising renewable energy and energy awareness among the general public, but it is not a cost-effective way to generate energy.”
  • Does the NPPF help us build a better Britain? | UK Regeneration – UKR ponder NPPF and sustainable development: “Rather makes you wonder what ‘planning’ is for. Is it to be limited to tweaking rather than positive refocusing of market pressures. Will that focus become so narrow as to hinder the creation of more balanced economic growth across the country? For example, the RTPI argues we need to change how we live in order to reduce carbon emissions. This can be done through well thought through regeneration: mixed-use sustainable urbanism. The NPPF may prevent this such an approach or make it less effective as it promotes most development through the default ‘yes’ answer.”
  • No deal? | Analysis | Inside Housing – Tenant engagement issues and more: “‘A big chunk of homes could miss out [on the green deal] because of issues around obtaining consent,’ says Mr Burke. ‘As it stands, an individual could prevent work being done in a whole block of flats. This could significantly disadvantage the people that the government are supposed to be helping – the fuel poor. We are arguing to the DECC that consent should not be unreasonably held by any tenant or landlords. The government is taking this seriously.’”
  • The Godfather of green | Analysis | Inside Housing – Great interview with Porritt (read whole thing – includes NPPF, GD, zero carbon, FiT etc): “‘Right now the golden rule [where savings have to exceed the cost of works] is an extremely difficult thing to deliver. It just doesn’t quite add up – which is causing a lot of frustration. So, will the government have to provide additional mechanisms through the Green Investment Bank perhaps? Or are there other ways of de-risking private sector involvement in this scheme? What is going to enable individual consumers to feel like they can trust the deal being presented to them by private sector providers, and what sort of underwriting or guarantees are going to be required from government to give it some extra credibility in the market place?’”
  • Environmentalist blog | The effort of efficiency | the environmentalist – “In the memo, Moxham argues that householders are unlikely to adopt energy-efficiency measures, such as better insulation and improved heating systems, in sufficient numbers to counter the impact of policies supporting the development of low-carbon electricity generation. DECC’s calculations of savings from such projects are, he says, unconvincing “given the hassle factor and other barriers to consumer uptake”.”
  • Environmentalist blog | Wood from the trees | the environmentalist – Drax has been using biomass to co-fire the 3,870MW plant since 2003, gradually increasing it to supply 8% of fuel in the 12 months to the end of June.<br />
    CEO Dororthy Thompson says the proportion of biomass at Drax could rise to 50% or more if the level of financial support was higher. Currently, biomass generation is awarded only half a ROC – renewable obligation certificate – per unit of electricity, whereas two ROCs are awarded for each unit produced by offshore wind.<br />
    The government is due to make a decision on subsidy levels for biomass by the end of the year, but any rise, and subsequent upsurge in biomass use by coal-fired plants, raises questions about the source of the feedstock.<br />
    Imported biomass already makes up more than half of the feedstock used for co-firing in power stations, and the government has acknowledged that the UK will continue to rely on imports. Drax says it will aim source as much as possible from the UK, but admits that imported biomass will also be required.
  • IMT Energy Rating & Disclosure Implementation Report Landing Page | BuildingRating.org – “U.S. states and cities are breaking new ground with innovative policies to rate the energy performance of buildings and provide that information to consumers. Already enacted in some of the nation’s largest real estate markets, these policies will impact billions of square feet of floor space in offices, malls, apartment complexes, warehouses, government facilities and other buildings large and small nationwide. They have the potential to influence the real estate decisions of tens of thousands of businesses, tenants, investors, pension funds, lenders and building owners and operators.”
  • Renewables certification for Tesco / Renewable energy / Energy saving news / Resources / Homepage – Energy Saving Trust – “Tesco has achieved accreditation for its installation of waste-to-energy systems at two stores. It has become the first retailer to produce biofuel certified under the government’s Renewables Obligation scheme and Ofgem has now allowed the store to issue Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) for the fuel.”
  • Barclays launches £100million renewable energy fund for farmers – “Barclays predicting the costs of wind and solar projects to fall by up to 50 per cent in the next three to five years.”
  • Nick Grant

    The Drax thing highlights how the bottleneck with biomass is not finding places to set fire to the stuff and yet new buildings are still going up with expensive, inefficient and poluting biomass boilers, and all in the name of reducing emissions.

    I don’t think we should feed trees into Drax but is probably not as bad as burning them for heat in new buildings. Just to be clear I’m not saying co-gen is good!