Examination of Witnesses (Questions 180
WEDNESDAY 30 OCTOBER 2002
180. So is it fair to say then that the present
structure, if you can call it that, of our energy markets is putting
tremendous barriers in the place of developing renewable energy?
(Professor Strbac) Yes.
(Professor Acres) You have an example not far from
here, which you might be aware of; Woking, which is incorporated
distributed or embedded energy system, not only distributing electricity
on a private wire system, but also heat and heat for its chilling
air conditioning. The gentleman that initiated it all is not the
most popular person in the country because he had to get around
some of the regulations that you are implying exist. But it is
there and even to the Americans that is a major project that they
have come over and looked at and the rest of it. So if you got
the right person who is prepared to sort of bend the rules and
what have you, you can do it in the UK. He claims a CO2 reduction
of 50% because, of course, you are using the heat and the electricity.
So I think some people believeand of course a lot technology
involved in doing it if you are going to have security of supply.
So you cannot just do it. But a lot of people believe that that
is the direction in which embedded electricity, let us say, but
embedded energy is in fact going. And we have an example down
the road of it.
181. Yes, we saw examples in Japan of zero energy
houses with roofs that were selling back to the distributing company
their surplus energy during the day. Am I right in thinking that
that is just not possible at the present time in this country
because of the market?
(Professor Strbac) Can I comment on that?
I would like to mention Distributed Generation Coordinating Group
which represents a joint effort of DTI and Ofgem to really facilitate
deployment of embedded generation sources on the UK system. There
is, as we speak, a tremendous amount of work going on in the area
of trying to remove all the barriers associated with connecting
of distributed generation with connection issues, market issues
and so forth. I am reasonably confident that we would, in the
not too distant future, I am talking about, I guess one or two
years, have the commercial framework in place which would enable
development and connection of these renewable sources should they
appear. One of the difficulties which I would like to mention
is the shortage of skilled manpower to deliver that and it is
now very clear that even if this industry will find it difficult
just to continue business as usual, never mind the challenges
which we have got in front of us over the next eight years, as
I mentioned this anecdotal example of building on a weekly basis
a connecting new plant. We just have no resource to facilitate
that. Again, I would like to see if we can possibly develop or
state clearly some strategic goals and get support for both research
in that area and also developing skills to enable this technology
to actually be implemented on the ground and obviously the research
outputs to materialised with the industry.
Chairman: Thank you very much. We will have
to move on, I am afraid. It is getting on. We could talk all night,
I am sure. Thank you very much for taking time and coming to give
us your advice. You will see the report in the end and I am quite
sure you will recognise some of things you said, but there will
be other ideas by the time of the report. Thank you very much