Archive for July 17th, 2009

Renewable energy, PFI and Tynedale FM

July 17, 2009

At last, there is news of a movement towards making renewables more widely employed in both domestic and industrial settings, possibly by April 2010. Whether the entrenched opposition within the Civil Service will prevent us making up the lost ground on, for example, Germany remains to be seen. Apparently the nuclear lobby has been unduly influential on Civil Servants.

This coincides with the arrival in the post today of my planning permission for a wind turbine. We anticipate that this will generate almost twice our normal consumption and, with reduced bills, the feed-in tariff and Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) should pay off the cost of installation in less than a decade. Energy prices are inevitably going to rise in the years ahead and so the payback period may be even shorter still.

As I have commented on the website, I find more and more people who are pleased by the appearance of wind turbines. Today I have been to visit an owner in the West Allen Valley and stood right next to the machine in a moderate wind – the noise from the wind in the trees nearby was much louder. We sat and had tea outdoors less than sixty metres from the spinning machine and, as I knew would be the case, heard absolutely nothing.

The solar thermal panels that we had installed a few weeks ago have been working so well that, even with four people in the house having daily showers, the boiler has only fired for a few minutes to top up the tank temperature on a couple of days.

On the health front, I see that Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) may be for the chop. Lord Darzi has hinted as much. This has to be a good thing in all fields, not just health. Not only should the scheme be ended but the existing contracts should be extinguished as quickly as possible in order to save money.

On Saturday I met Guy Opperman for the first time. All four candidates had been invited by Tynedale FM to come in for a question time that will be broadcast on Tuesday. Antoine Tinnion and Andrew Duffield were represented by senior members of their respective local groups. The programme seemed to go well and covered a good range of topics, not surprisingly brown bins sent a certain amount of blood and fur flying.

Opperman was particularly strong in his opposition to ID cards. My own position is that the currently proposed cards seem to be an insufficiently developed technology and for that reason alone should be deferred. Before long the technology will be available to make establishing your identity on demand far simpler and more secure. We should wait a while and get it right first time.