Hamish Wilson, CEO, writes…
Several decades ago, the established thinking was that computing was centred on the IBM mainframe and that all users needed was a dumb terminal. Now, computing has been transformed through the PC and the power of the network.
The mainframe is completely obsolete and we’ve entered a new digital world.
The analogy with the computing market of yesteryear is appropriate. In energy, government policy is locked onto backing the equivalent of the IBM mainframe – a suite of obsolete technologies to the detriment of embracing a new market.
The European Commission have realised this – recently challenging the £1.7billion subsidy contract to Drax power station under state rules. This contract would pay a fixed price of £105 per MWt of biomass power until 2017. This fixed price for power will result in power costing considerably more than that being paid for large scale PV and Wind, including the FIT tariff support.
It appears that the government is set on spending huge sums of money on large-scale infrastructure generation e.g. £25billion, £90 per MWt on Hinkley C. Yet there are a suite of renewable energy micro technologies that include energy storage which when networked together will make a material contribution the National Grid. Minus7 is one example. At scale these solutions will negate the need for additional infrastructure power generation.
What would happen if the UK government focussed more on what it would take to stimulate the micro-generation market? Diverted subsidy funds going towards Drax and Hinkley to microgeneration instead? Stimulating UK manufacturing, local distributed installation and support services and resulting in significantly cheaper lower carbon energy; transforming the energy market through Distributed generation and local demand management.
I believe the UK could become a leader in distributed microgeneration.
What do you think?