For the last five months, I have spent part of my time pulling together the speakers’ programme for the Nextgen Conference which took place last week. It was a pleasure to see it all come together over the two days. The feedback from delegates, exhibitors and speakers alike has been overwhelmingly positive and I am still digesting it all. I was also chairing one of the two Agri-Rural theatres and was fortunate to have gained some good insights from the speakers there:
Bengt-Erik Lofgren from the International Renewable Energy Technology Institute showed us how Sweden had become a bioenergy leader, through a carbon tax, combined with low interest ultra long term loans to develop district heating schemes. Although painful at first, their GDP has increased faster than before these measures, as a result of more money staying within a circular economy. The debate was whether any government here would ever be brave enough to institute similar policies.
David Handley, chief economist at RES noted the concern that the allocation and auctioning process around CfD’s would create ambiguity in the market for renewable sand may lead to investor discomfort. He also pointed out that European gas market integration meant that Shale Gas in the UK would not necessarily result in a reduction in gas prices.
Sam Whatmore from Forest Fuels and Tom Corbett of Energy Innovations both highlighted as lifecycle costs as one the biggest traps which many projects suffer from. The focus on upfront capital costs frequently results in projects being delivered with the wrong specification of boiler which does not make it anywhere near the twenty year lifetime one would expect. It was argued that the artificial banding of RHI payments for different boiler sizes was resulting in the wrong sizes of boilers for specified need being installed. And for all those with Biomass boilers, are you sure you have appropriate ‘Explosion relief’ built into your storage system?
WRAP also updated on a couple of grant incentives have been launched, which are welcome news to rural businesses and communities, The Rural Communities Renewable Energy Fund and the On Farm AD Fund. These will give a significant incentive to project owners by helping to fund riskiest early feasibility study phases.
There’s more to follow in the coming days on this. Thanks for your attention. More information on the Nextgen Bioenergy Conference.
A massive thank you to our guest blogger, Andre Burgess, for this post.
This blog first appears on EMVC Solutions.
EMVC is an energy advisory business, delivering solutions in distributed, low carbon energy generation and energy efficiency services, including smart energy control and monitoring services.