June 2022 Smart Energy News

By Pilgrim - June 15, 2022


Smart Energy

  • In our Smart Energy People podcast this month Martin Davies of Viridian Solar shares his nearly 20-year journey, from an experiment painting a radiator black in 2003, to acquisition by building firm Marley.
  • I’ve mentioned this before, but a chart worth 1000 words is how UK home insulation stopped dead in 2013 when the government cut funding. Now even the head of the UK’s Confederation of Business Industry is begging the UK government to reverse this and act on insulation rather than just applying temporary fiscal measures to the current energy crisis which have no long-term benefit.
  • US president Biden uses national security law to drive production of heat pumps and insulation - to help wean US and Europe off of fossil fuels.
  • As the UK govt’s £5,000 Boiler Upgrade Scheme goes live, with no VAT on installations, here’s a handy guide to getting a heat pump.
  • Can you achieve a heat pump COP of 4 in typical UK housing? Yes!
  • Nesta made a lovely interactive map of UK heat pumps showing their popularity in remote locations away from the gas grid.
  • In Switzerland, the city of Zurich is starting to permanently disconnect its gas pipelines.
  • Interesting “freeze-thaw” molten salt battery claims it can shift grid energy across months with 92% efficiency - at 1/15th of the cost of Li-ion batteries.
  • Octopus and Ilke Homes launch “zero energy bills” homes - for an increased purchase cost of £8k - reminds me of Simon Daniel of Moixa’s “energy pension” idea.
  • Interesting to see Octopus trialling a Home Mini hub - which appears to put your smart meter properly online so you can view completely up-to-date data without waiting for nightly uploads via the DCC. Will be interesting to see what else they do with this in the future.
  • Looks like EU will make solar panels mandatory on all new buildings, and ban fossil-fuel heating systems by 2029.
  • Eco-pioneer Dale Vince is building a grass-to-gas plant.
  • https://twitter.com/UKStorageEnergy shows how much UK grid electricity is coming from storage. Answer 3% as I write, which is small beginnings, but then so was wind and solar (there are parallel accounts for tracking those too).
  • In the second of 3 white papers, Geo and Vaillant dive deep into the potential of DSR for heat pumps, highlighting the importance of storage & thermal mass, and also of standards to communicate available load shifting throughout the supply chain.
  • Speaking of the importance of home demand flexibility, corny paper title of the month goes to The Joy of Flex!  
  • The changing energy landscape: Near my home, the village of Swaffham Prior first restored an historic windmill to grind corn. Now it is restoring a second one to generate electricity - what those old 4-blade mills lose in efficiency, they gain in aesthetics. The village is building a heat network too. Impressive how a small team of educated, passionate people can drive local change.
  • At home my Sofar battery inverter arrived and installed without problems alongside 12kWh of Pylontech batteries, so now I am shifting free daytime and cheap night-time electricity. That’s about the same energy capacity as our hot water tank, although of course electricity is more valuable than heat. Inverter hardware is great, software not so much: no device which uses Windows XP in its manual will be allowed onto my home network!
  • A 2GW orbital power station? Why not.


Until next month,


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