NEWS & VIEWS
Archimedes screwed... by companies claiming that ‘hydrodynamic screw pumps’ are the same as the historic ‘Archimedes Screw’ and more importantly have the ‘fish-friendly’ features of the ‘Archimedes Screw’ that they clearly don’t. I predict a significant backlash from fishing interests when they discover that the hydrodynamic screws can effectively mince up eels, lampreys or smolts that get between the rotating screw and the concrete or steel ‘concave’, unlike the ‘true’ Archimedes Screw that contains the ‘slugs’ of descending water within a rotating circular drum.
R.J.A.E January 7th 2012
Evans sees ten-fold increase... in enquiries and business since the lifting of the MCS Accreditation fiasco. For those who have to finds funds from banks or outside investors, times are still hard. For those who already have the funds earning only a few percent interest, hydro is a potential ‘green gold mine’, with tax-free returns anywhere between 10% and 50%.
R.J.A.E. January 7th 2012
Fresh hope for micro hydro... now that Greg Barker (Minister for Energy) has lifted the MCS ‘Sword of Damocles’ that would have rendered many small hydro projects uneconomic. Despite the major cuts to the solar energy programme and a ‘review’ of FITs at the end of March 2012, it is though unlikely that DECC will try and reintroduce the MCS Accreditation process as the only channel for sub 50 kW projects to be eligible to claim FITs.
R.J.A.E. January 7th 2012
A total rebuild of this web site... is now being carried out by web specialist David Eno. I hope you will find the new site full of useful information, news items and a few things to make you laugh, but please be patient while work is in progress and do feel free to e-mail suggestion on what I might include and any comments on what is already in place.
Confusion and trauma... surrounds the introduction of FITs (feed-in tariffs) for hydro-power in the UK continues. Battle lines are drawn between the handful of UK manufacturers who are keen to just get on with the job, and those who see it as an opportunity to skim off a significant proportion of the proposed tariffs in certification processes that do nothing for customers but push up prices (could in some cases double the cost). Guarantees of quality, which in our case is a nominal 10 year guarantee (in reality I would feel duty bound to repair or replace anything that actually fails, and we have one item of equipment still running since 1864)
After my ‘contra taunt’ with the previous Government about funding a copy of the ‘Severn Tidal Reef’ by
Atkins and Rolls Royce... stand accused with the previous Labour Government of blatantly copying the concept behind the ‘Severn Tidal Reef’ concept. On being challenged by Rupert Armstrong Evans the project’s originator, their only action was to change the name to ‘Severn Tidal Bar’!
The concept has received widespread support from wildlife groups and the LibDems carried out their own detailed study into the various proposals.
"Yes Minister or No Minister"
is the question facing Greg Barker (Minister for Energy) who has in the past shown enthusiasm for renewable energy, appears to be at odds with his own civil servants on the application of the 'Feed-in Tariffs' (FITs) for 'Small Scale Waterpower Projects'.
At a meeting on the 12th January 2012 with MP Dan Rogerson and one of his North Cornwall constituents Rupert Armstrong Evans (watermill engineer), the minister agreed that waterpower was unlike any of the other renewables in that each watermill and site was unique. This is in contradiction to the line taken by his civil servants at DECC, who are adamant that only 'standardised' products installed under a complex and expensive 'accreditation' scheme will be permissible.
The Majority of mill-owners and 'millwrights' are totally opposed to this policy as it could add as much as £20,000 to the cost of a domestic project in 'red tape' and also make it almost impossible for both new innovations and historic installations to be brought into use. This would appear to be yet another inherited policy that is based on 'central control' even if it kills of the industry that it purports to support.
When compared to the 50,000 applications to access the solar feed-in tariff, the 10 or so for small-scale waterpower is somewhat insignificant. So what is the logic of spending significant amounts of time and money to control a UK industry that virtually doesn’t exist and is likely to be killed off by imports if the civil servants get their way!
6th February 2011
'Hydro FIT is a DECC Scam'
Greg Barker, the new Minister for Energy at DECC is continuing the disastrous Labour policy that demands that all landowners and watermill owners who want to generate ‘green electricity’ under the ‘Feed-in Tariffs’ have to pay around £15,000 to become MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) approved if they want to build and install a project for themselves.
Desipte the protests of hundreds of watermill owners, DECC and their contractors Gemserv are determined to bulldoze the MCS standards through, even if it drives most of the small UK equipment manufacturers out of business. Alison Bailey of DECC commented at a recent ‘stakeholder meeting that “we would simply have to rely on the Germans to provide the water turbines”
Unlike solar and wind power where the products are relatively standardised, waterpower has an enormous number of variations from small mountain streams to the river Thames. DECC has become so obsessed with the idea that you can install standardised turbines that they are failing to listen to those who have spent years perfecting flexible modular systems that can be adapted to hundreds, if not thousands of different sites and applications.
So stupid is the DECC approach that they even intend waterwheel builders to seek out the original drawings and calculations used to build mill wheels and historic turbines before they are rebuilt. The proposed ‘standards’ are derived from the aerospace and defence industry standards and are totally daft when applied to technology that was used hundreds of years ago without problem by local millwrights.
If this programme is not stopped in its tracks, it will be a total waste of taxpayers money like the previous ‘Clear Skies’ programme and will kill off the last glimmers of innovation in this particular industry, simply because it will be easier to buy a load of mass produced and inappropriate machinery from China.
There is absolutely no rational for this policy other than to keep lots of civil servants employed and to feather the nests of accreditation bodies who openly admit that they do not have the expertise in the field but will still charge up to £1000 a day for their services.
As you will see, we are in the midst of a total rebuild of this web site. I hope you will find the new site full of useful information, news items and a few things to make you laugh, but please be patient while work is in progress.
The confusion and traumas surrounding the FITs (feed-in tariffs) for hydro-power in the UK continues. Battle lines are drawn between the handful of UK manufacturers who are keen to just get on with the job, and those who see it as an opportunity to skim off a significant proportion of the proposed tariffs in certification processes that do nothing for customers but push up prices (could in some cases double the cost). Guarantees of quality, which in our case is a nominal 10 year guarantee (in reality I would feel duty bound to repair or replace anything that actually fails, and we have one item of equipment still running since 1864)
After my ‘contra taunt’ with the previous Government about funding a copy of the ‘Severn Tidal Reef’ by Atkins and Rolls Royce, it has all gone very quiet. Despite welcome support at the time from the LibDems who carried out their own study, I think it is all a bit embarrassing. The present credit crunch should not affect the project as it would be five or ten years before things really started happening. My main ‘gripe’ is that neither DECC nor the consultants involved could be bothered to actually listen. Meanwhile Atkins and Rolls have kept their heads down and refused to reveal what they actually propose (and have spent taxpayers money on!) No... I won’t go away and let it rest!
There will be plenty of new stories in the future.
Rupert Armstrong Evans