Ground Source Energy News
Heat Limits for Domestic RHI
Due to an unexpected regulatory delay in parliament - to say nothing of the unexpected general election - it is now expected that the proposed heat limits for Domestic RHI are unlikely to come into force before autumn 2017. So if you are installing a large system for domestic clients you should try to achieve accreditation as soon as possible.
However, be careful not to give any guarantees to your clients in case the timeline comes forward!
RHI Biomass rates fall again
On 28 February BEIS announced a further 5% decrease in RHI for new biomass commercial installations to 2.85p from 1 April 2017. See Biomass degressions.
Separate RHI Scheme in Northern Ireland halted
Following accusations of widespread abuse of the biomass subsidy, the separate Renewable Heat Incentive scheme created for Northern Ireland has been terminated. The GSHPA notes that RHI in England, Scotland and Wales is a separate system designed by DECC and run by Ofgem: its future has been assured by the recent extension to its budget up to March 2021. See RHI in Northern Ireland terminates.
GSHPA welcomes RHI Consultation Response
GSHPA welcomes the publication of the RHI Consultation reponse on 14 December 2016, although we are disappointed to see the introduction of capping of RHI for large domestic properties as these have the largest potential to save carbon emissions.
RHI Biomass rates fall again
On 30 November BEIS announced a further 5% decrease in RHI for new small biomass commercial installations to 3.10p from 1 January 2017. See Biomass degressions.
Committee on Climate Change urges Government action on reducing climate change
The Committee on Climate Change published its report on "Next Steps for UK Heat Policy" on 13 October 2016. It is urging full hearted support for heat pumps and also for the Government to consider the conversion of the gas grid away from natural gas towards distributing hydrogen and a massive investment in Carbon Capture and Storage.
GSHPA has a new Chairman and new officers
The GSHPA announces changes at the top.
BEIS replaces DECC
The responsibilities of DECC and BIS have been merged into BEIS. The new Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is headed up by Greg Clark, with Nick Hurd confirmed as "Minister with responsibility for climate change". Let's hope he is given enough power to be in a position to be responsible for halting climate change.
See an attempt to illustrate the new responsibilities of BEIS.
All Hands Off DECC
Statement from Greg Clark following his appointment as the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 14 July 2016. I am thrilled to have been appointed to lead this new department charged with delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy, leading government's relationship with business, furthering our world-class science base, delivering affordable, clean energy and tackling climate change.
Professor Sir David MacKay
Members will be very sorry to hear of the death of Sir David MacKay on 14 April 2015 at the age of 48.
His book Sustainable Energy - without the hot air did a great deal
to explain the need for sustainable heating and his analysis was profound. Amongst his many memorable quotes:
"For forest-dwellers, there's wood. For everyone else, there's heat pumps".
"A useful technology will surely be long-term thermal storage".
"I believe we should leapfrog over gas-powered combined heat and power and go directly for heat pumps."
RHI Biomass rates fall again
On 31 May DECC announced a further decrease in RHI for new small biomass commercial installations to 3.26p from 1 July 2016. See Biomass degressions.
Heat Pumps in District Heating
DECC has published Heat Pumps in District Heating, a report which recognises the value of using heat pumps in District Heating in place of gas boilers and gas-based CHP to lower carbon emissions.
Sir David MacKay
David MacKay received a knighthood in the New Years Honours List 2016 "for services to Scientific Advice in Government and Science Outreach". See Sustainable Energy - without the hot air.
Paris Agreement limits Climate Change
On 12 December at the United Nations Conference nearly 200 countries came together in Paris and agreed that carbon emissions should be reduced with the aim of limiting the increase of temperatures to 1.5°C above the temperature of pre-industrial times. See Paris Agreement. This is good news for the world - and will be good news for members of the GSHPA if DECC takes genuine steps to limit carbon emissions from heating.
Does DECC yet recognise that Ground Source Energy and recycling heat through the ground is the surest route to saving energy and reducing carbon emissions from heating? How will DECC respond to this new challenge?
RHI Biomass rates fall again
On 30 November DECC announced a further decrease in RHI for new small biomass commercial installations to 3.76p - and a further fall in domestic RHI tariffs to 5.14p, both from 1 January 2016. See Biomass degressions.
Comprehensive Spending Review
On 25 November the Chancellor confirmed in the Comprehensive Spending Review that funding for the RHI would continue beyond March 2016 up to 2020/21. This follows extensive lobbying by the GSHPA and a number of its member companies: the future looks more secure.
Importance of Strategic Heat Policy
The GSHPA, along with other trade associations, has written to Amber Rudd to encourage her support for the RHI ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review: Importance of Strategic Heat Policy.
Ground Source Energy Expo 2015
The Ground Source Energy Expo 2015 held at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry was a big success with twice the number of visitors than came to last year's event. Visitors came to learn about developments in the GSHP market, both domestic and commercial. The presentations can be viewed at Ground Source Energy Expo 2015.
Heating & Renewables Awards 2015
On 10 September the Heating & Renewables Roadshow awarded the following:
- Community heating project of the Year
Kensa - Trent & Dove Housing
- Ground source heat pump installer of the Year
- Commercial installer of the Year
Ground Heat Installations
- Heating & Renewables Installer of the Year
Congratulations to these GSHPA members for winning these awards, particularly the Heating & Renewables Installer of the year which is open to all categories of renewable energy but was won by a ground source heat pump installer.
Green Deal Funding stops
On 23 July 2015 the new Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Amber Rudd, said: "We are on the side of hardworking families and businesses - which is why we cannot continue to fund the Green Deal. It's now time for the building industry and consumer groups to work with us to make new policy and build a system that works".
RHI Biomass rates fall again
On 28 August DECC announced a further 5% decrease in RHI for new small biomass commercial installations to 4.18p - and a further fall of 10% in domestic RHI tariffs to 6.43p, both from 1 October 2015. See Biomass degressions.
RHI GSHP rates Double
DECC announced dramatic increases in RHI for ground source heat pumps in commercial installations on 4 December 2013. See RHI – Commercial.
Ofgem acknowledged that DECC's announcements of 4 December 2013 will take effect from 28 May 2014.
Reduced rate VAT – Warning – EU Judgement of 4 June 2015
An EU court ruling of 4 June 2015 states that the UK cannot apply reduced rate VAT to the supply and installation of energy savings materials – except in the case of social housing. See: Reduced rate VAT for more information and the likely implications for an increase in the rate of Vat from 5% to 20% for installation of energy saving materials in 2016.
GSHPA website attracts more traffic
The GSHPA website has become the starting point for learning about GSHPs, GSHC, renewable heat, renewable cooling and new approaches to installing integrated renewable technology systems - and now attracts around 4,000 visitors a month.
GSHPA welcomes Domestic RHI Tariffs
The GSHPA welcomes the DECC Statement of Domestic RHI tariffs. The announcements are summarised on RHI – Domestic and the GSHPA has issued the following press release: Domestic RHI tariffs paid over seven years.
GSHPA welcomes increased RHI Tariffs
Simon Lomax, Chairman of the GSHPA, welcomes the doubling of RHI – Commercial tariffs for smaller GSHP installations and the tripling of tariffs for larger GSHP installations in the following press release: Increased RHI Tariffs for GSHPs.
Thoughts from the GSHPA
Jake Salisbury sheds light on the need for industry standards in Heat Pumps Today.
EST Heat Pump Field Trials – Phase 2
The GSHPA welcomes the second EST report on heat pumps and the clear recognition that heat pumps will perform well if they are properly installed. The installation itself is critical: please see list of installers who are members of the GSHPA: Installers of GSHPs.
Based upon the results of its study, the Energy Saving Trust is convinced that heat pumps can play a significant part to help the UK reach its targets for reducing carbon emissions. Heat pumps can provide an effective, efficient solution for heating in many homes.
GSHPA RHI Conference on 17 July 2013
The GSHPA ran a lively Summer Conference on 17 July at Manchester College. A mood of optimism suffused the conference following the recent announcements from DECC on the increases in the Commercial RHI tariffs and increases in the Domestic RHI tariffs. At last the Renewable Heat Incentive will enable ground source energy to play its part in saving energy, carbon emissions and cash. You can catch-up with the presentations which can be seen at Summer Conference.
UK's Largest GSHP Retrofit Project
The UK's largest GSHP retrofit project was completed by Kensa to a tight deadline in December 2012. Yarlington Housing Group has 200 Kensa GSHPs installed.
GSHPA RHI Seminar on 27 March 2013
GSHPA calls for correction of RHI tariffs
The GSHPA has renewed its call for DECC to conclude its deliberations on a revised Renewable Heat Incentive commercial tariff without further delay. See press release of 4 March 2013.
GSHPA responds to Select Committee
The GSHPA has responded to the call for evidence on the RHI from the Commons Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change. See GSHPA responds to Select Committee
DECC responds to the consultation
DECC responds to the consultation returns on "Renewable Heat Incentive: providing certainty, improving performance" on the non-domestic RHI and at the same time confirms that RHI tariffs for non-domestic RHI are being reviewed and the anticipated changes will be backdated to 21 January 2013.
Solar Roads Systems for cycle tracks
The Dutch are planning to make their cycle lanes ice-free by using ground source energy: warm roads melt ice.
Confirmation on Reduced Rate Vat at 5% for GSHP residential installations
Following correspondence with the GSHPA after enquiries from one of its members, HMRC confirmed on 4 January 2013 that it is in agreement with the wording on the GSHPA's page on Reduced Rate Vat.
BGS sharpens its tools
The British Geological Survey has developed an open loop screening tool in conjunction with the Environment Agency to assess whether your postcode is likely to sitting above a suitable aquifer for a large open loop GSHP system. You can find explanations, and the new tool itself, on the GSHP page of the BGS website.
BGS contributes to ThermoMap
The British Geological Survey is the UK member of the EC co-funded ThermoMap project which focuses on the mapping of very shallow geothermal energy potentials in Europe.
The ThermoMap does not aim to inform about the geology of your area for the purposes of drilling a borehole for ground source energy. However, you can go directly to BGS for this information.
Price of gas soars
On 8 June 2011 Scottish Power announced a 19% increase in the price of gas from 1 August.
On 8 July 2011 British Gas, owned by Centrica, announced it is putting up its domestic gas prices by 18% and electricity prices by 16% from 18 August. This follows a 7% increase in both gas and electricity in December 2010.
On 21 July 2011 Scottish & Southern announced a 18% increase in the price of gas from 14 September, on top of a 9% increase in gas in December 2010.
As this is attributable to increases in the wholesale price of gas, increases from other suppliers seem inevitable. With inflation running at 4.5%, why is this occurring? What is the background?
- World demand for gas increased by 7.4% last year - the largest annual increase ever.
- An increasing world population, enjoying increasing wealth, is demanding more gas.
- Gas is used for heating, industrial purposes, and generating electricity at power stations.
- The nuclear meltdown at Fukushima following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami on 10 March 2011 has raised safety questions over generating electricity from nuclear plants.
- Since Fukushima, Germany and Switzerland have announced that they will phase out their nuclear power stations. Electric power generation using gas is the obvious alternative.
- Italy, in a referendum on 12 June 2011, has overwhelmingly rejected generating electricity with nuclear power.
- Britain's new generation of nuclear power stations are likely to be delayed in the wake of the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima.
- The retail price of gas has risen 233% since 2004.
- The price of gas in the UK has historicaly been low because of the supply from the North Sea and a well developed distribution system of piped gas to nearly all houses in urban areas.
What will happen to the price of gas in future?
The price of gas has risen in the past, is rising now and is likely to continue rising in the future. The increase in world population will put increasing pressure of demand on gas - and other natural resources. The price of electricity tends to rise in line with the cost of gas.
What is the alternative to using gas for heating?
A ground source heat pump provides gas-free heating.
GSHPA website visits rise
This website now receives over 4,000 visits a month as interest in ground source heat pump installations grow. Amongst the most popular pages are the lists of GSHPA Members to which viewers go to look for installers, consultants, drillers and suppliers.
Ofgem's Insights - Decarbonisation of Heat
Ofgem has just published its insights into The Decarbonisation of Heat, including the need to focus on "electrification of heating through heat pumps".
10% of UK electricity is used for Cooling
The BRE Study on energy use by Air Conditioning reports that 10% of UK Electricity use is for Air Conditioning and Cooling. However, there is a much better way to provide Renewable Cooling.
Threat to BGS data provision
Following a threat to the funding of the British Geological Survey, the GSHPA sent a questionnaire to its members seeking views of the value of the services at BGS. The results of the GSHPA questionnaire show that nearly all of the members who responded use BGS services regularly and value it highly.
Zero Carbon Homes applies in London
Zero Carbon Homes rules apply in London from 1 October 2016. See Zero Carbon Homes - London.
GSHPA Members Consultation
To ensure the Association is working to achieve the aims of its members a consultation was conducted in the summer of 2016 by Jen Billings in a series of interviews with members. You can read the full report or see a presentation which summarises the results. We are working on refining what we do to more closely aligned with what our members expect. However, this is an on-going process so please feed back to us any further suggestions you have so that we can keep on track.
Surface Water Source Heat Pumps
CIBSE has launched a Code of Practice on Surface Water Source Heat Pumps in conjunction with the Heat Pump Association and the GSHPA. The Training & Standards Committee of the GSHPA has made a major input to the document which is now available to GSHPA members.
A launch party was held on 20 April at Kingston Upon Thames including a seminar: for the slide presentations see CP2 Launch 2016
The GSHPA has launched its Ground Source Heat Pump Manifesto to encourage the new government to stimulate the heat pump market to help achieve the country's commitments under the Climate Change Act: GSHPA Manifesto.
Domestic RHI Biomass rates fall 20%
DECC announced a 20% decrease in RHI for new biomass domestic installations from 10.98p to 8.93 from 1 April 2015. This follows on from the 10% decrease from 12.2 to 10.98p in the previous quarter. See Biomass degressions.
Domestic RHI Biomass rates fall 20% again
DECC announced a further 20% decrease in RHI for new biomass domestic installations from 8.93 to 7.14p from 1 July 2015. See Biomass degressions.
Amber Rudd opens Heat Conference
Amber Rudd MP opened the Heat Conference saying, "We want people to have permanently warmer homes, lower fuel bills and to be reducing their emissions. Renewable heat technologies can deliver all three." She said: "Moving from heat buried deep underground, to the latent heat available in rivers, canals, lakes and the seas that surround us. I'm pleased to announce today a package of actions to drive the deployment of large scale water source heat pumps." See Heat Conference speech.
EHPA writes to David Cameron
23 September 2014
See letter from European Heat Pump Association and others to David Cameron and Ed Davey on the urgency of changing strategy for the implementation of Renewable Heating and Renewable Cooling to reduce our dependency on imported fossil fuels. See: EHPA writes to David Cameron.
Andy Ford responds to CIBSE Journal
1 September 2014
Andy Ford responds to ground source installation issues raised in the August edition of the CIBSE Journal: What does lie beneath.
DECC publishes Evaluation of non-domestic RHI - 29 August 2014
DECC has published an "independent" evaluation of the non-domestic RHI which concludes that the RHI is stimulating investments in renewables, that installation and operation of renewable has been positive and that biomass boilers have been installed in a wide range of sectors. See interim report on RHI Evaluation.
DECC publishes Water Source Heat Map - 11 August 2014
Ed Davey of DECC has published a "high level water source heat map" of 40 urban rivers in England with the highest potential for water source heat pump use for both renewable heating and renewable cooling. The map identifies areas of high heat demand beside rivers with sufficiently high flow rates.
DECC's vision for decarbonisation of heating involves a number of low carbon technologies. Its modelling shows there is a particularly important role for heat pumps and for heat networks.
DECC is particularly interested in deploying water source heat pumps as part of heat networks projects, where heat pumps provide low carbon and renewable heating to a number of different buildings through district heating networks and heating sharing networks.
See DECC's water source heat map.
Open water heat pump systems work by recovering solar energy stored naturally in river water. Water is abstracted after passing through a filtration process and then passes through high-efficiency heat pumps to harvest the low grade heat in the water before being returned to the river with a temperature change of no more than 3°C.
The Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, has described the development as "game changing" in relation to Britain's need for renewable energy against the backdrop of insecurity in Russia, which supplies much of Europe's gas, and the political row at home over soaring fuel bills.
GSHPA Summer Conference 10 July 2014
The GSHPA held its Summer Conference at the Building Centre, London, on Thursday 10 July. Summer Conference 2014. There was a good opportunity to catch up with conditions in the commercial and domestic markets and the opportunity the revised Commercial RHI tariffs offer - together with the introduction of Domestic RHI on 9 April 2014.
Andy Davey of DECC came to listen as well as to speak: he was concerned to find if there were barriers to the take-up of ground source energy and if DECC or Ofgem could do more to encourage the adoption of ground source energy which was way behind what DECC had envisaged. This led to a lively exchange of views and a number of proposals from the GSHPA.
MCS Guidance on domestic renewable heating threshholds
MCS has published guidance on how to apply the revised thresholds for MCS installations. These apply for installations since 16 December 2013. Although only individual heating appliances of up to 45 kWth can gain MCS certification, MCS certified installers can design, install and certify systems with a heat demand of up to 70 kWth by using more than one certified appliance. An MCS installer who can demonstrate competency may also install multiple MCS installations of up to 70 kWth within a given property: and it may not be necessary for these multiple areas to be hydraulically separated.
Ofgem opens for Domestic RHI
On 9 April 2014 Ofgem opened its servers for Domestic RHI applications. Six years after the Energy Act 2008, it is possible to make an application to Ofgem to receive RHI for domestic applications to support the costs of renewable energy technologies installed since 15 July 2009. See RHI Domestic. Owners of domestic properties installing ground source heat pumps can now receive rewarding financial returns as well as a green heating system.
Ed Davey promotes heat pumps
See article in the Independent on Sunday published on 23 March: Ed Davey on Heat Pumps.
GSHPA at Ecobuild 4-6 March 2014
Council members of the GSHPA spoke at an Ecobuild Green Energy seminar on Seasonal Thermal Energy Storage and GSHP case studies on Thursday 6 March.
GSHPA on the move
The GSHPA website, like most others, was originally written to be browsed on a desktop. With many people now viewing sites from their mobiles, the site has been retuned to display well on small screens as well as on large ones. You can now view GSHPA more easily "on the move".
GSHPA appoints new Chairman
At the Council meeting on 23 April Simon Lomax, Managing Director of Kensa Engineering, was elected as the new Chairman of the GSHPA.
RHI rates expected to double
Following the meeting with GSHPA Coucil members in December, DECC issued its Announcement on 21 January 2013.
DECC has confirmed that "evidence suggests there may be differences between actual costs and load factors of installations and the original assumptions used to calculate the current tariffs" clearly indicating that the early assumptions needed revisiting.
The GSHPA evidence submitted supports an increase of tariff rates to 9.4p/kWh.
The DECC announcement goes on to confirm that, "It is DECC's intention that where tariffs increase as a result of this work, installations accredited from today (21 January 2013) would benefit from that increase once the new tariffs come into force".
DECC £6m scheme for social housing
DECC announces a £6m scheme for social housing.
GSHPA meets with Minister
GSHPA Council members met with Greg Barker and DECC officials on 17 December 2012 to address the issue of why 98% of RHI payments had been made to owners of biomass boiler installations. The stated intentions of the RHI are:
- to reduce carbon emissions
- to support innovation
- to support a range of renewable technologies
- and encourage employment in renewable energy companies in the UK
Unfortunately the RHI is failing badly on all these counts - indeed the RHI is currently operating to frustrate these objectives.
The tariff levels for large GSHP installations are currently less than half the rate for biomass boilers and the calculations include major errors in the calculations that supress the GSHP tariffs.
The Minister encouraged officials to accelerate the review of the GSHP tariffs and is expecting to announce that changes in tariffs will to be corrected with an announcement from the Minister in the second week of January.
Ofgem accredits GSHC installations
Although the commercial RHI began on 28 November 2011, it has taken over a year for Ofgem to commernce accreditation for Ground Source Heating and Cooling ("GSHC") installations.
After many months of GSHPA lobbying of DECC and Ofgem, Ofgem wrote to the GSHPA and other stakeholders on 5 December 2012 to say that owners of GSHC systems will be entitled to receive RHI, but at a discounted rate. Owners of systems up to 100kW rated capacity will receive RHI at 72.3% of the RHI rate for ground source heat pumps. Owners of systems over 100kW rated capacity will receive RHI at 64.73% of the RHI rate for ground source heat pumps.
For more see Ofgem starts accrediting GSHC.
EGEC calls for action
The European Geothermal Energy Council has called for an EU action plan on renewable heating and cooling in order to assess the major bottlenecks hindering the further development of ground source energy in Europe: EGEC Press Release.
The EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger says that "geothermal will play an important role in the future energy mix of the EU" and that "we should encourage geothermal development in more and more cities".
Philippe Dumas, Manager at the European Geothermal Energy Council, pointed out that "policy-makers, local authorities and utilities need to be more aware of the full range of geothermal resources available and of their possible applications".
Vertical Borehole Standard
The GSHPA's Vertical Borehole Standard which covers the design, installation and testing of closed-loop vertical boreholes was published in September 2011. The GSHPA's Thermal Pile Standard was published in September 2012.
The MCS Microgeneration Installation Standard for heat pumps, version 3.1, has now been published: MIS 3005 Heat Pump Systems.
The GSHPA has contributed to MIS 3005 and the Environment Agency's Good Practice Guide.
Members of the GSHPA gain publicity from live links to their websites from the Members pages. Members can also help to increase the search rankings of the GSHPA site by providing backlinks to the GSHPA site.
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