Renewable Energy for the home

Why use renewable energy? It is now officially recognized that the climate is changing as a result of the combustion of fossil fuels. While the full impact of global warming is not fully understood, it is expected that sea levels will rise over the coming millennia, perhaps as much as several meters. Some experts now consider this process to be irreversible, but still urge reduction in CO2 emissions, to limit further damage.

At the same time, fossil fuel reserves are dwindling, which inevitably will lead to an escalation in the price of fuel. Estimates of remaining fossil fuel reserves are often contradictory, however it is widely expected that production of crude oil will decline in the latter half of this century. and the earth's remaining reserves may not be in geo politically stable areas.

The U.K. government is committed to the use of renewable energy resources, to reduce the level of CO2 emissions. In 2001 it set a target of 10% supply of electricity by renewable energy, for as early as 2010. This has been revised under current EU targets, and we are now committed to a 20% supply of electricity by renewable energy, by 2020. In addition, the Government has also set a target for reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 60 per cent (relative to 1990 levels) by 2050.

What are the sustainable technologies?

Below is an list of some principle renewable energy sources, applicable to domestic micro power generation. Further discussion follows on subsequent pages, see links at bottom of page:

  1. • Solar water heating

  2. • Wood fuel heating and biomass

  3. • Ground source heat pumps

  4. • Solar Photovoltaics

  5. • Wind power

  6. • Graywater re-cycling and Rainwater harvesting

  7. • Combined heat and power (CHP) and micro CHP

Are there any grants available?

Yes grants are available for part of the installation cost of micro power generation projects. You may wish to enquire with your local authority for grants available in your area. Some national and local schemes are listed below:

What are the planning implications?

You do not generally need planning permission for solar thermal or photovoltaic panels, unless your building is listed, you live in a designated area, or otherwise permitted development rights have been removed from your property. However you will need to inform the local Building Control authority about your plans. Wind turbines and air source heat pumps do not currently fall under permitted development, although this is expected to charge in the near future, with regard to domestic power generation.

Follow on articles:

Solar water heating

Wood fuel heating and biomass

Heat pumps

Solar Photovoltaics

Wind power/a>

Gray water re-cycling and rainwater harvesting

Combined heat and power (CHP) and micro CHP