♫♬ The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore ♫♫

Remember that song by the Walker Brothers? Of course, it ain’t true – it’s gonna go on shining and shining and shining. What they should have written was that the Government subsidies for solar PV aren’t going to go on forever, but they couldn’t get the words to fit the melody so they compromised.

In fact the Government subsidy regime is closing for new installations on 1st April next year. I am talking about new here. So, that means that any estate that gets its solar PV registered with Ofgem before 1st April next year gets locked into receipt of the 20-year index-linked subsidy for every kWh generated or exported to the grid; whereas any estate that gets it done after 1st April next year gets no subsidy at all. It does make a difference to the net benefit.

A lot of schools and rural estates, with a bit of prompting from us, have recognised the significance of this and we are now working with them to get their solar installations done before the deadline. Over the Summer holidays we’re organising the installations at Repton College, Pocklington School, Solihull School and Barlavington Estate, and several others are in the pipeline for later in the year.

There’s quite of lot of detail to be worked through: assessing the estate for the best sites, scoping the right array for each site, securing local grid operator permission to install, tendering for installers, commissioning, registering the installations with Ofgem. However, recognising that most of our clients have neither the time nor the in-house knowledge, we arrange all of that.

If you’re interested, it’s not too late to make the most of free sunshine.

♫♬Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me ♫♫

Why ReEnergise is Rehearsing Shakespeare

ReEnergise is currently running a concerted campaign to raise awareness about renewable heat. For shameless attention grabbing in schools, the theme is Shakespearean and tongue in cheek. But the underlying rationale is perfectly serious. Here is the opening from Episode 5 just to give you a flavour.

Oh Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?

Down here.

Oh Romeo…

Yes, my love? (Sigh)

My Father says we can’t see each other anymore.

What?! But…

He says nothing good will come of it.

It’s now Government’s policy to phase out the installation of high carbon forms of fossil fuel heating in new and existing businesses off the gas grid during the 2020s. Might seem a long way off, but it’s already relevant if you’re on oil and need to replace a boiler. Just consider the intended lifespan of that new boiler in the context of 2030…

Transferring to renewable heat usually saves a lot of money. Annual returns on investment can be as high as 20%, thanks to savings on the fuel costs and generous Government subsidies. The subsidies are index-linked to the CPI and last for 20 years. However, the heat subsidy scheme will be closing for new entrants on 1st April 2021. So, estates need to act soon, or risk having to switch after April 2021 without the support of the current subsidy regime.

Switching to renewable heating systems is not just a way to save money. There are clear sustainability and CSR benefits.

All types of renewable heat generate less NOx than oil, so air quality is improved. Quality of life is better: there is lots of evidence that when renewable systems are designed and installed correctly the quality  of the heating improves, both output and occupancy comfort.

Fuel price security is improved: our extensive modelling of differing fuel price and CPI inflation rates shows that the greatest financial risk is to remain on oil.

The best return on investment is achieved when the school or rural estate finance the programme. However, for those that don’t have a budget but want to act soon, we have a range of financing options that have evolved in the light of feedback from clients.

The renewable heat market has matured a lot in recent years and there are now several reliable options. We’ve yet to find a situation where one of them does not fit the bill. It’s usually more a question of which one best suits a specific estate.

There’s a good reason to be banging the drum.

Firle Village District Heating System

Following an initial feasibility study we conducted in 2017, we are now working with the Firle Estate in East Sussex and community energy specialists, the Brighton & Hove Energy Services Cooperative (BHESCo) to build a comprehensive technical study into the options available to take this beautiful South Downs village off fossil fuels through the installation of a dedicated 2km district heating system.  The scheme will include the supply of heating and hot water to both domestic and commercial users in the village.  Our work will identify the optimum technical mix of low-carbon technologies and, in addition to heat, will consider options for behind and beyond the meter low-carbon power generation and storage systems.  The final scheme will be delivered through a community energy supply company administered by BHESCo.  In addition to the technical scope report, our work will subsequently entail contractor tender and project management.

Stephen Tindale Climate Answers Charity launch

We were delighted and honoured to be asked to speak at the launch of the Stephen Tindale Climate Answers charity in London in June.  Stephen was an important and highly valued friend and colleague who tragically took his own life in July 2017.  A man of utter integrity and huge influence, Stephen was one of this country’s leading political thinkers on climate policy and low-carbon energy.  The charity launch in London was a fair reflection of this with guests ranging from the media, industry, NGOs and political circles in addition to members of his family and friends.  Our founder, Tarquin Henderson, shared the speaking honours with Sir Kier Starmer QC, one of Stephen’s many friends in the Labour Party and Suzanna Hinson from the charity.

The charity has been set up to support young people looking to forge a career in the low-carbon sector through the provision of research grants and work experience.  Our company is looking forward to hosting our first research associate later this year.  The charity website provides more detail on their work and of course Stephen’s legacy.