Saturday, 27 February 2021

Pumped Storage - A 'Battery' of sorts

 The Principles of Pumped Storage

Pumped storage hydro-electricity works on an extremely simple principle.

Two reservoirs at different altitudes are necessary. When the water is released, from the upper reservoir under gravity, energy is created by the downflow which is directed through high-pressure shafts, linked to turbines.

In turn, the turbines power the generators to create electricity.

Water is pumped back to the upper reservoir by linking a pump shaft to the turbine shaft, using an electric motor to drive the pump.

The pump motors are powered by electricity from the National Grid - the process usually takes place overnight when national electricity demand is at its lowest

A dynamic response - In the example of Dinorwig's six generating units, they can achieve maximum output, from zero, within 16 seconds.

Pump storage generation offers a critical back-up facility during periods of excessive demand on the national grid system.

In effect this pumped storage system is a form of demand management, in short a "battery" of stored potential energy.

Dinorwig and Ffestiniog supply electricity to the Grid on a daily basis, as well as providing back-up for periods of heavy demand. The stations offer fast response times - in the case of Dinorwig, probably the fastest of any power facility in the world - 1,728MW from standstill n just 90 seconds.

Each of Dinorwig's six generating units can produce 288MW of electricity, offering a combined station output of 1728MW. Ffestiniog's four 90MW units have a combined generating capacity of 360MW.

About Dinorwig Pumped Storeage, Snowdonia, Wales

The project was begun in 1970 with an environmental and economic appraisal of three sites, which seemed to offer the right conditions. In 1972 Dinorwig was chosen largely on environmental grounds (the area is already extensively altered by man – the Slate quarries – and attracts thousands of visitors, so can't be said to be wild: the other two sites were much less industrialised), and in 1973 the Act permitting Dinorwig to be built was passed. Exploratory tunnels and bypasses constructed, but the main civil engineering contract was not let until December 1975 and started in January 1976. It was the largest civil contract in Europe at the time (probably now overtaken by projects such as the Channel Tunnel).
Lower Dinorwig Reservior

Over the next 6 years the civil construction was continued, the mechanical engineering (putting in the Machines) and the electrical side (all the transmission gear, switching etc.) being started as and when. Areas of excavation and building allowed. The first generation was in 1982; the scheme was in full production and officially opened in 1984.

The workforce peaked at 2,700 of which 90% were local. The agreed figure had been 70%. So no work camps were necessary, most living at home; this reduced labour relations difficulties both with the local communities, and the strife within camps, which sometimes exists when people work and live too closely, without the usual outlets.

Since so much local labour was used, training was necessary. As work progressed, and different phases of the work were reached, men were retrained in the new skills. Considerable EEC grants aid was given to help with the training. The labour relations at Dinorwig, at a time when there was considerable unrest elsewhere, are reckoned to have been exceedingly good. There were regular consultations between management, workforce and local communities, with Local Liaison Committee meetings every month, at which any problems were aired and resolved.

Environmental issues included maintenance of water quality (there was daily, weekly and monthly sampling at up to 20 sites), protection of salmon and trout stocks, preservation of the Arctic Charr, and revegetation of upper dam and lower works, as well as the most costly part of the environmental care – undergrounding of the transmission line from Dinorwig to the National Grid, Landscaping was undertaken by one of the leading landscape architects, Sir Frederick Gibberd.
Detail from above

As regards future energy use – pumped storage at the present time uses night time electricity production from 'base-load' (generally very large or nuclear) power stations. So it is not really a 'renewable resource' station. However, if there were a great deal of renewable energy in the future, all round the world, then pumped storage would be vital – e.g. solar energy is only produced during the day, and depends on the degree of sunlight; tidal energy varies on a monthly cycle, hydro depends on rainfall, wind is seasonal, variable, and unpredictable. The best way to store energy so produced is to use pump storage.

By Denis Egan -, CC BY 2.0,

Heat Pumps

For Commercial, Industrial and substantial private properties installations

With the ever rising costs of gas, oil and electricity, with attendant heating, hot water and cooling needs - now is the right time to consider [at long last - when we consider that Sweden has been installing heat pumps for over 50 years - heck I remember learning about them on my Construction Degree in 1972]

  • · Heat pumps for industrial and commercial use
  • · Heating power from 50 kW to 1000 kW (and more)
  • · Working fluid: R134a (alternative R407C)**
  • · Multistage options
  • · Bespoke according to your demand

*Can be powered by an ORC [Organic Rankine Cycle] THE RANKINE CYCLE The Rankine Cycle is a thermodynamic cycle that converts heat into work. The heat is supplied to a closed loop, which typically uses water as working fluid. The Rankine Cycle based on water provides approximately 85% of worldwide electricity production. The Organic Rankine Cycle's principle is based on a turbogenerator working as a conventional steam turbine to transform thermal energy into mechanical energy and finally into electric energy through an electrical generator. Instead of generating steam from water, the ORC system vaporizes an organic fluid, characterized by a molecular mass higher than that of water, which leads to a slower rotation of the turbine, lower pressures and no erosion of the metal parts and blades.

** A growing focus on the environmental impact of refrigerants is fuelling demand for refrigeration solutions that can provide satisfactory cooling performance with a lower impact on global warming. This is propelling environmentally friendly refrigeration solutions to the top of the corporate sustainability agenda. In addition, local legislation is increasingly targeting refrigerant gases with high Global Warming Potential (GWP). R134a and R407c

Our SUSTAINABLE Designs for bespoke Heating & Cooling systems, with possible Electricity Micro Generation

More than 45 years of experience with one of the leaders in the utilization of geothermal energy. Bespoke and efficient heat pumps solutions are our strength, energy savings and energy efficiency are our goals - along with saving money on bills! Renewable energy directly supplied from the ground beneath a building is one of the most sustainable ways of long-term energy usage. As a seasonal "buffer" - to smooth out the peaks and troughs of supply and demand.

The earth is a huge energy storage system, which permanently regenerates through solar radiation. Every square metre of our earth receives a quantity of 750–1,100 kWh of solar energy yearly. Due to this amount of heat, constant temperature levels averaging 10 to 12° Celsius prevail all over the year in Central Europe in the earth from a depth of approximately 10 metres, and this temperature rises by 1° Celsius per each 33 metre of depth. It is quite simple and very cost-efficient to use the heat stored within the ground for heating purposes. About 80% of the required heating energy can be extracted from the ground by means of HEAT PUMPS, the remaining 20% we use, in form of electric power, for operation of the heat pump. However, with the rising popularity on micro generation [of electricity] even that aspect can be reduced to zero running costs.

As a result of heat extraction during winter, the temperatures of the ground decrease. Due to this much-appreciated side effect, the ground may virtually be used for free for cooling purposes during summer. It's simply a gigantic "battery", a buffer, as it were to reduce peak demand


Irrespective of the size of the project, our focus is always set on the design and implementation of an efficient and energy-saving heat pump solution. A perfect heat pump solution is the result of early stage expert consultation provided to the client combined with the compilation of all essential data regarding climate, soil conditions [on larger projects a soil survey may well be beneficial, water table, building [assuming well insulated fabric - or upgrading] and occupancy dynamics and requirements. This data is essential in order to produce a viable heat pump solution as well as the results of the simulation calculations we use to determine the economically usable energy supply of the earth.

By careful calculation and selection of heat pump components - from exchangers, compressors, buffer storage, expansion valves and circulation pumps – we can provide significant savings on initial capital costs and annual operating costs. Due to our considerable experience and confidence in our systems we can offer extended warranty periods.

The same rules apply: experience is everything. The concept – is actually simple – does however quite often lead to unsatisfactory results if the overall design and the simulation are not made by experienced specialists. Heat pumps that are designed without adequate experience, are frequently over dimensioned and consequently inefficient. Our clients will however profit by our decades of experience in the implementation of efficient and economic projects.

Contact Us for a Survey of your Premises or Project

Heat pumps - heat from nature

Heat pumps are the first choice for those who want to lower their heating bills and generate heat in a more environmentally responsible way. After all, the environment provides the heat pump with an unlimited and free supply of the energy it needs. This fully-fledged heating system needs very little power for its drives and pumps in order to make this energy available within the premises. A heat pump makes you independent of fossil fuels, or can replace them, and in addition, actively contributes towards reducing CO2 emissions.

Simple principle, great result

A heat pump works in an analogous way to a refrigerator – simply the other way around.

In a 'fridge, heat is transferred from the inside to the outside. With a heat pump, this happens the other way around. Heat from the air or the ground is transferred into the living space via the heat pump system. Vapour from a refrigerant is compressed to increase the temperature, to make it high enough for central heating and direct hot water [DHW] heating. in summer in reverse the heat pump can cool - which is of much greater importance in Southern UK and much more so in Southern Europe - [see the irradiation maps]

Renewable energy from ambient heat

Heat pumps use ambient heat from the water, ground or air. This ambient heat is in practice, "stored" solar energy or geothermal heat from below ground. Ambient heat is therefore a renewable energy, of which we have an inexhaustible supply.
Unlike fossil fuels, renewable energies have the big advantage of being able to be regenerated. In addition, ambient heat is a decentralised energy supply, which is always available and which can be used without the need for complex supply systems or centralised energy infrastructures.

Use with various energy sources

The best heat source for each individual case depends on local conditions and the actual heat demand. Heat pumps can use various energy sources:

  • Air – practically unlimited availability; lowest investment costs, but least efficient
  • Ground – via geothermal collector, geothermal probe or ice store; very efficient
  • Water – extremely efficient; observe water quality and quantity
  • Waste heat – subject to availability, volume and temperature level of the waste heat

Advantages of heat pumps

60 to 75% lower heating costs

Heat pumps obtain 3/4 of required energy free of any charge, from the environment in which you live. Soil, groundwater, and outside air store huge amounts of thermal energy which can be transformed into heating energy using heat pumps. The savings are considerable compared to other conventional heating systems. The amount of power consumed by heat pumps is notably lower than the amount of heat they generate. 

Smart future investment

If you decide to install a heat pump today, you should be aware you are making an investment for the future. Its true value lies in many measurable and non-measurable aspects. In addition to the safety of investment, flexibility, low heating costs, comfort, and many economic and ecological benefits, a heat pump is an investment in your future and the future of your children.

New building, refurbishment, or heating system replacement

A heat pump is an ideal solution for heating and cooling of newly constructed or refurbished buildings, or when replacing an existing heating system or even simply an older boiler - it may even be feasible to retain the internal distribution. Since it operates on the principles of low-temperature heating, it is suitable for both underfloor heating and heating with wall-mounted radiators, as well as a combination of both. Heat pumps are also appropriate for rebuilt or refurbished buildings with radiator heating since new high temperature heat pumps can reach water temperatures of 80°C.

Warm in the winter, cool in the summer

Unique heat pump technology allows your heating system to heat your home during the winter and cool it during the summer without additional work or investment. The heat pump system can be used for cooling regardless of whether you use fan coils or underfloor heating.

Contact Us for a Survey of your Premises or Project



Saturday, 1 June 2019

Natural Gas and CHP and sometimes cooling

Combined Heat and Power Systems

Using energy efficiently has become a goal across industries in the past decade. Rising energy prices, an increasingly competitive marketplace, and environmental regulation of harmful pollutant emissions have all incited commercial and industrial energy users to search out the most efficient and cleanest ways to use energy.

One innovation that is finding applications in commercial, industrial, and even residential settings is what is known as Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems. Essentially, this type of system takes the waste heat from the burning of fossil fuels and applies it to power another process. For example, a basic CHP system might generate electricity through a large gas-fired turbine. The generation of this electricity would produce a great amount of waste heat. A CHP system might apply it to heating an industrial boiler instead of allowing this heat to escape. In this way, more of the energy contained in the natural gas is used than with a simple gas turbine. This increases energy efficiency, which implies that less energy is needed to begin with (costing the user less), and fewer emissions are generated because a smaller amount of natural gas is used. Typically, a CHP system produces a given amount of electricity and usable heat with 10 to 30 percent less fuel than would be needed if the two functions were separate. A typical electric generation facility may achieve up to 45 percent efficiency in the generation process, but with the addition of a waste heat recovery unit, can achieve energy efficiencies in excess of 80 percent.

Combining Heat and Power gives big efficiency improvements
CHP systems can be implemented to produce as much as 300 megawatts (MW) of electricity, to as little as 20 kilowatts (kW) of electricity, depending on the electrical and usable heat needs of the facility. It is not uncommon for larger cogeneration units to be installed in a facility that has very high space and water heating requirements, but lower electricity requirements. Under this scenario, the excess electricity is easily sold to the local electric utility.

Types of Combined Heat and Power Systems

A typical CHP system consists of an electric generator, which can take the form of a gas turbine, steam turbine, or combustion engine. In addition to this electric generator, a waste heat exchanger is installed, which recovers the excess heat or exhaust gas from the electric generator to in turn generate steam or hot water.

There are two basic types of CHP systems. The first is known as a ‘topping cycle’ system, where the system generates electricity first, and the waste heat or exhaust is used in an alternate process. Four types of topping cycle systems exist. The first, known as a combined-cycle topping system, burns fuel in a gas turbine or engine to generate electricity. The exhaust from this turbine or engine can either provide usable heat, or go to a heat recovery system to generate steam, which then may drive a secondary steam turbine.

The second type of topping cycle systems is known as a steam-turbine topping system. This system burns fuel to produce steam, which generates power through a steam turbine. The exhaust (left over steam) can be used as low-pressure process steam, to heat water for example.

The third type of topping cycle systems consists of an electric generator in which the engine jacket cooling water (the water that absorbs the excess emitted heat from an engine) is run through a heat recovery system to generate steam or hot water for space heating. The last type of topping cycle system is known as a gas turbine topping system. This system consists of a natural gas fired turbine, which drives a generator to produce electricity. The exhaust gas flows through a heat recovery boiler, which can convert the exhaust energy into steam, or usable heat.

While topping cycle systems are the most commonly used CHP systems, there is another type of CHP system known as ‘bottoming cycle’ systems. This type of system is the reverse of the above systems in that excess heat from a manufacturing process is used to generate steam, which then produces electricity. These types of systems are common in industries that use very high temperature furnaces, such as the glass or metals industries. Excess energy from the industrial application is generated first, and then used to power an electric generator second.

In addition to these two types of systems, fuel cells may also be used in a CHP system. Fuel cells can produce electricity using natural gas, without combustion or burning of the gas. However, fuel cells also produce heat along with electricity. Although fuel cell CHP systems are still in their infancy, it is expected that these applications will increase as the technology develops. To learn more about fuel cells, click here.

Combined Heat and Power Applications

CHP systems have applications both in large centralized power plants, and in distributed generation settings. Cogeneration systems have applications in centralized power plants, large industrial settings, large and medium sized commercial settings, and even smaller residential or commercial sites. The key determinant of whether or not combined heat and power technology would be of use is the nearby need or purpose for the captured waste heat. While electricity may be transferred reasonably efficiently across great distances, steam and hot water are not as transportable.

Heat that is generated from cogeneration plants has many uses, the most common of which include industrial processes and space and water heating. Those facilities that require both electricity and high temperature steam are best suited for CHP systems, as the system can operate at peak efficiency. There are many industries that require both electricity and steam, for example the pulp and paper industry is a major user of CHP systems. Electricity is required for lighting and operating machines, while the steam is useful in the manufacturing of paper.

Many commercial establishments also benefit from CHP systems. Universities, hospitals, condominiums, and office buildings all require electricity for lighting and electronic devices. These facilities also have high space and water heating requirements, making cogeneration a logical choice. For example, the University of Florida has an on-campus 42 MW gas turbine cogeneration facility that produces electricity and space and water heating for the campus. For more information on this cogeneration system, click here.

CHP systems are also available to serve smaller sized facilities. In this type of facility, these smaller, ‘modular’ cogeneration units can generate anywhere from 20 kW to 650 kW, and produce hot water from engine waste heat. It is most common to install a system based on the hot water needs of the establishment. For facilities like restaurants or medical facilities, which require hot water year-round, cogeneration makes an economic and environmentally friendly option. In terms of household sized CHP systems, it is possible to install a small system that can generate up to 10 kW, and fulfill all of the household heating requirements of an average home. However, these types of systems are not common. Fuel cell manufacturers are expected to target these small sized cogeneration units once the technology is perfected and it is economical for a household to install such a unit.

To learn more about CHP systems and explore other internet resources, visit the United States Combined Heat and Power association.

Icelandic Expertise to Bring Geo-Thermal to Ethiopia

by Ragnhildur Sigurdardottir, Bloomberg

Reykjavik Geothermal, a power developer backed by hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones II, is about to kick off a $4.4 billion project to bring geothermal energy to Ethiopia.

Tapping long-built Icelandic expertise in channeling geothermal power, the developer is preparing to start exploration drilling in September for two 500-MW plants in Corbetti and Tulu Moye, south of the capital Addis Ababa. At full-scale, each project would become the largest independent power producer in Africa, according to RG.
The Reykjavik-based company’s exploration teams have picked spots to drill where they can see steam rising from the ground. “All the results from the surface exploration work indicate that we are developing projects in a huge caldera, huge active volcanoes which can sustain at least 1,000 megawatts or more,” Gunnar Orn Gunnarsson, RG’s chief operating officer, said in an interview in Reykjavik.
Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Station, Iceland

The projects would become a vital cog in Ethiopia’s drive to become a middle-income country by 2025. Currently, its installed electricity capacity of 4,200 MW only provides power for 40% of its 105 million people. Neighboring Kenya already has 685 MW of installed geothermal capacity, providing almost a third of its energy.

The projects will cost money and need more investors to reach full potential. The first phase will develop 50 to 60 MW, requiring an equity investment of $175 million for each. They have been fully funded and RG holding a significant minority share in each project.

Bringing the full projects on-line would cost about $2.2 billion apiece, with 75% anticipated to be financed via debt. Other owners in the projects include Africa Renewable Energy Fund, Iceland Drilling Co. and Meridiam SAS.

RG expects “strong emerging market returns” from the projects, which will continue to improve as the projects gain scale, according to Gunnarsson.

Gunnarsson said RG is “fortunate” to be backed by Tudor Jones, who owns 23%, and Ambata Capital Partners, which holds 27%.

“But as the scale grows, RG continues to seek further investors,” he said.

The company is now negotiating drilling contracts after getting everything in place with the government, according to Gunnarsson. The projects have been in the works since 2010, through three prime ministers.

“Our relationship with the government has always been very positive and the current government is very supportive,” he said. “They have shown, in particularly over the last year, that they want this to happen and now we have cleared the pathway to go to exploration drilling.”

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Are Green Energy Policies Effective - or are they all Failures

Whilst this article [Link Below] mainly blames the politicians, the main issue it neglects to cover with regard to cleaner energy methods [Wind, Sun, Tides and Bio-Digesters] is that of the distortion that misaligned subsidies have.

The initial subsidy for Solar Photo-Voltaic [Solar PV] was so over-generous that a massive 'industry' of direct-selling organisations sprang up almost over-night. These panels soaked up so much subsidy that the scheme has been massively cut back - so who set the original subsidy at 44p per kWh? Way, way over the current retail price of electricity - and not into the best technology either.

Now efficiency of 'renewables' [cleaner technologies is a better description; and certainly not wood pellet burning technologies] is often slated as the reason whey they are not effective or efficient.

  • Now the photo below shows steam [yes STEAM] rising from the cooling towers [yes COOLING TOWERS - not Chimneys] - probably Drax with a total of 8 Cooling Towers, ARE DESIGNED TO WASTE AROUND 60% of the energy released from burning Coal or even wood pellets - its the engineering answer to "efficient energy production" [...of a large scale remote power station].
  • Power Station Cooling Towers Wasting 60% Heat
  • However the electricity generated under centralised power plants like this is rarely above 22% at the plug in your house. Some say as low as 11%.

This in-efficiency [in centralised power systems] could have been solved by utilising lots of smaller power plants, built close to towns and cities which would not necessitate Cooling Towers, as waste heat can be distributed to houses and industry - just like in Denmark. Its called de-centralised power or even embedded power where tiny street corner electricity and heat for distribution are generated. So these remote [centralised] power stations are part of our problem.
Embedded Power Islington

Tidal projects also suffer from 'pilot project issues' and unnecessarily high subsidies - so the technology is fine, the "power" is clean and there is zero fuel cost - so lets look into differing cost models and subsidy strategies - this is the problem - how to assist innovation.

Dailymail online/debate/Christopher-Booker

Friday, 24 March 2017

Turn Down Markets

Innovative, carbon free ‘turn-down’ demand response sector delivering for consumers

23 Mar 2017

Capacity Market results announced today mean dozens of industrial and local businesses will help keep the lights on at peak demand next winter and cut carbon through innovation in the demand response sector, the Association for Decentralised Energy said.
Reducing Energy Loads

Approximately 312 MW of carbon free turn-down demand response has been secured as part of the Transitional Arrangements auction, which is aimed at preparing and supporting this innovative sector for the main Capacity Market auction.

The auction, which cleared at £45 per kW on Wednesday, means businesses across the UK will earn just over £14m in revenue, helping them to manage their energy costs and boost their competitiveness simply by turning down or shifting non-critical processes. Examples of demand turn down include temporarily switching off unnecessary lighting, pumps and motors, while demand shifting is the practice of moving a business process to earlier or later in the day.

There is nearly 10GW of untapped business led demand response, including highly efficient combined heat and power, ready to support the UK’s energy security. To achieve this potential however, user led demand response must be able to access all markets, from the Capacity Market and Balancing Mechanism to the Wholesale Market and ancillary services market, on an equal footing with traditional generation.

ADE Director Dr Tim Rotheray said:

"Today’s results are returning value to energy users for helping keep the lights on, while also cutting emissions through zero carbon demand response. Instead of paying power stations to increase supply, businesses will be managing demand in innovative ways while meeting all their energy needs leading to a more efficient, more affordable and lower carbon system.

"This auction is designed to help lower costs and improve uptake of demand response so that this tool will play a key part of the future energy sector. The Transitional Arrangements are vital in supporting this innovative sector to grow, deliver Britain’s security of supply needs and ultimately help drive a more competitive demand response market."

Notes to editors:

Auction results
A total of 373 MW entered the Auction, of which 83.69% received Capacity Agreements for delivery in 2017/18.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Waking the 'sleeping giant' of energy efficiency

A message from Dr Steven Fawkes (Sept 2012)

Energy  efficiency  can  play  a  major  role  in  addressing  the  multiple  challenges of improving energy  security,  reducing  the  environmental  impacts  and reducing costs  to  consumers,  as well as creating economic growth and jobs.   We need to urgently develop the tools to wake up, what Angela Merkel recently referred to as,“the sleeping giant“.

The German Prime Minister’s reference has prompted the question how do we significantly scale-up energy efficiency? A  scale-up  of  energy  efficiency  deployment requires  an  increase  in demand,  supply  of products  and  services, and availability of  financing.  These  preconditions  need  to  occur across all sectors of the economy.  Many companies in heavy industry claim they have invested in as much energy efficiency as they  can because  of  the high costs  associated with  efficiency.  However, opportunities  still remain, both in retrofit and major process change.
Electric Natural Gas Buses: Cleaner AND Greener

In commercial transport  there  is  a  demand  for  greater  energy efficiency  but  the  main constraint is the equipment replacement cycle as energy use is largely locked in by vehicle choice. There is a lot of variation in demand in the commerce industry  with  large retailers typically carrying programmes  that have  produced good  investment  returns  for  many  years.  In smaller organisations there is a latent demand for energy efficiency but the constraints are more around lack of capacity. However,  there  is  increasing recognition in  non-domestic  buildings of the potential  to holistically retrofit buildings in a way that can produce energy savings of 30-80% but still little demand.
The Empire State Building, where savings of 38% were achieved with a three year payback  period  on  the  marginal capex has  shown the art  of  the  possible. 
Empire State Building Night
Empire State Building

Constraints include  the  well-known split  of landlords’ and  tenants’  incentives,  the  nature  of  commercial property financing and short term investor behaviour. Across all organisations there is a need to increase knowledge amongst decision makers as many opportunities to improve energy efficiency are still being missed because clients don’t  know what can be done.  Capacity and knowledge needs to be built from the board, through energy managers and down to the shop floor.

Unfortunately,  housing demand  is  a  more  difficult  issue.    The  Green  Deal  has  a  target  of retrofitting  14 million homes, which  implies  a  massive  increase  in  demand  for  energy efficiency.  Although most householders would prefer lower energy bills this is not the same as demanding an energy-efficiency retrofit. A retrofit implies disruption equivalent to having a major extension.

Energy efficiency is abstract and unlike an extension it is hard to enjoy or display.  Very few people wake up and think of buying some energy efficiency, they are more likely  to  wake  up  and  think of buying  an  object  of  desire  such  as  a  new  car  or  a  new computer.  Making  efficiency  desirable is particularly difficult  because  of the  level  of disengagement that consumers have from their energy bills and suppliers, with bills largely seen as another form of unavoidable taxation.

The  other  aspect  of  demand  for  energy  efficiency in  households is  behavioural  change. Opower, a customer engagement platform for the utility industry, has produced measurable savings  by giving  consumers  information  about  their  own  energy  use  compared  to  their neighbours usage,  so  called  “neighbour  power”.  Onzo, a  data  and  analytics  service  for utilities, has technology that can provide consumption data for individual appliances as well as the whole house. Impressive savings and reduction in peak loads have been achieved with this approach.

On the supply side we need to build capacity in several areas, particularly measurement and verification of  savings (M&V), integrative design  techniques, and supply  of financing products. M&V should be an essential element of all energy efficiency projects. 

The Empire State Building retrofit has shown the power of integrative design but these design techniques are  still  not  widely used. 
IR Image Showing Differing Heat Loss
Traditional component  rather  than  system engineering  design techniques are  still the norm in practice and classroom.  We need to increase the supply of architects and engineers trained in integrative design techniques.

Financing  for  cars  does  not  make  people  buy  cars,  and  the  same  is  true  for  energy efficiency.  It  does,  however, enable  them  to  overcome  the  barrier  of  upfront  cost.    Many different  designs  of  energy  efficiency  financing  techniques exist  and  in the  USA there  has been a flowering of innovation. Even in the US, however, the market remains tiny (c.$5bn) and not  widely  recognised  by  the  financial  sector. Only  standardisation,  such  as  we  saw develop in the renewables industry, can lead to a mass finance market.