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Report: viability of on-site energy generation in offices ‘highly questionable’

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A new report has blamed ‘contradictory’ government policy for office developers installing ‘very inefficient and badly performing’, small-scale renewable energy generators

Drawn up by Sturgis Carbon Profiling for the British Council for Offices (BCO), the document claims that the ‘perceived merits’ of reducing carbon emissions through on-site renewable is not cost effective compared to ‘alternative larger scale carbon reduction installations’.

In addition, due to the high taxpayer subsidies, the report warned it was ‘highly questionable whether advocating micro generation for commercial buildings in dense city centres [can be] justified’.

Although admitting some installations produce ‘modest financial returns’, the document said there were ‘cheaper options available that [could] deliver both carbon and cost savings more effectively.’

Gareth Roberts of Sturgis Carbon Profiling said: ‘[We have exposed] the contradictions in government policy in that currently Carbon Capture and Storage is viewed by many to be expensive and poor value for money, even though it costs only £40/T. [However] developers are routinely paying around £380/T on average to achieve the same goals [through on-site renewable]’.

‘With basic economic forces at play renewables would be much better deployed on land which is of low value and on a much larger scale than currently used on most commercial buildings.’

The report calls for a wider review of the costs of achieving carbon emissions throughout the built environment.

Roberts concluded: ‘To many developers on-site micro generation policies are simply viewed as another planning hurdle to cross.

‘Renewable installations are considered a cost to be minimized, given that the majority of their benefits will be passed on to future unknown tenants.

‘This misalignment of incentives however has the precise effect of compounding the specification of small badly performing installations, which generate little benefit to occupiers or the environment.’


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Readers' comments (1)

  • "due to the high taxpayer subsidies"
    I nearly stopped reading at that point (one supposes it was written by a Tory?). Subsidies for renewables are paid for out of energy bills. A person paying an energy bill may or may not be a tax payer. I am glad I have read this profile of the report - I was going to buy it - however with this type of expression one realises that that the report is politically biased with the aim of feeding propaganda to more extreme tendancy in the Tory party.

    Quite what "carbon capture and storage" has to do with on-site renewables is anybodies guess (my company works with various players in the CCS space - nobody pretends that it is a cheap solution). One thing for sure, if we are de-carbonising the way we heat buildings then its either CHP or electric heating - and the latter in cities demands embedded generation of some sort. The "some sort" could be covered by RES.

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