Utility Week

UTILITY Week 20th February 2015

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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utILIty WeeK | 20th - 26th February 2015 | 31 Community Disconnector Editor: Ellen Bennett, t: 01342 332084, e: ellen.bennett@fav-house.com; News editor: Jillian Ambrose, t: 01342 332061, e: jillian.ambrose@fav-house.com; Associate news editor: Mathew Beech, t: 01342 332082, e: mathew.beech@fav-house.com; Insights editor: Jane Gray, t: 01342 332087, e: jane.gray@fav-house.com; Research analyst: Vidhu Dutt, t: 01342 332026, e: vidhu. dutt@fav-house.com; Reporter: Lois Vallely, t: 01342 332083; e: lois.vallely@fav-house.com; Business development manager: ed roberts, t: 01342 332067, e: ed.roberts@fav-house.com; Business development executive: Sarah Wood, t: 01342 332077, e: sarah.wood@fav-house.com; Publisher: amanda barnes, e: amanda.barnes@fav-house.com. General enquiries: 01342 332000; Membership subscriptions: : uK £577 per year, overseas £689 per year, t: 020 8955 7045 or email membership sales manager Paul Tweedale: PaulTweedale@fav-house.com. ISSN: 1356-5532. Registered as a newspaper at the Post Office. Printed by: buxton Press, Palace road, buxton, Derbyshire SK17 6ae. Published by: Faversham House Ltd, Windsor Court, Wood Street, East Grinstead, West Sussex RH19 1UZ The last straw This week has le Disconnector a little disillusioned. Aer two decades of being told to drink skimmed milk, eat margarine and use low-fat yogurt (that last one was a joke – the great man knows you're not supposed to eat yogurt), it turns out we should have been doing the opposite. There's no link between dairy fats and the fat in our bodies, apparently. The confusion arises because they share the word "fat". In fact full-cream milk and butter contain useful nutrients. It's this sort of thing that plays into the hands of climate change deniers, who present science as not so much a matter of empirical evidence as of opin- ion. What are scientists going to be advising us to do next? Build our houses out of straw? Well, yes. That's exactly what they're inviting us to do. It turns out that straw is a wonderful insulator and researchers at the University of Bath have been working with a building com- pany to turn it into a construc- tion material. Concerns about its load-bearing capacity and vul- nerability to fire are misplaced, says Professor Pete Walker, who led the research. Straw houses have been built over the past 20 years, of course, normally with wattle and daub plastering to create a mock medieval home, but no-one's attempted to mass produce mod- ern homes using predominantly straw inside a brick cladding. So, the tales your parents told Disconnector you about the three little pigs (pictured) and the big bad wolf and how you should never build a house of straw? Turns out that was all lies too. Eat for victory It's not just the rush to tasteless, fat-free cooking ingredients that turns out to be counterproduc- tive, windfarms are a waste of time too. According to Decc statistics. As reported by the Tel- egraph. In fact, the Department of Energy and Climate Change has an online calculator that lets people see the results of various courses of action. One of the most effective ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is to switch from eating beef to chicken. If half the world's beef production switched to chicken, it would save 29 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide a year. To put this into perspective, global climate change agreements are designed to cut the world's output of carbon from about 50 gigatonnes today to 20 gigatonnes by 2015. The Telegraph says sniffily that to achieve the same sav- ings through generation you would need two million more onshore wind turbines and 2,000 nuclear reactors. So, if you really want to make a difference you should ditch the steak and munch away on a chicken sandwich instead, from the comfort of your straw house, of course. Decc didn't offer, and the Telegraph didn't press, on the relative merits of pork. The great man thinks our civil serv- ants were very wise to leave bacon sarnies out of it. On yer bike Kids are a lot more "on mes- sage" when it comes to cutting emissions than adults, perhaps thanks in large part to the efforts of our schools. An ingenious initiative in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland, for instance, is to tour schools with some specially adapted printers, powered by the dynamos of stationary bicycles. If the kids – or their teachers – want to print something, someone has to jump on the bike and gener- ate the electricity to do the job. Apparently it takes about five seconds of hard pedalling to print one sheet of A4 paper, which would certainly make you think about how much you wanted to read, say, that government report. It's a lesson well learnt for the kids, thinks Disconnector, although he personally will not be installing one in his abode. It would interfere with his new hobby of stuffing his face with chicken sandwiches, prepared with as much butter as his heart desires. 3,580 average circulation Jan–Dec 2014 Membership subscriptions: uK £577 per year. Overseas £689 per year. email: PaulTweedale@fav-house.com The Climate Group @ClimateGroup "I do not want my kids growing up in a more dangerous and insecure world because my generation failed to act." @EdwardDaveyMP James Beard @JamesBeardWWF Breaking up with fossil fuels is hard to do. How often is the easy thing the right thing? William Marchant @richonlyinname Telegraph missing bits in Hinkley timeline. 1st revealed in Bayeux Tapestry. Harold cops arrow from angry NGO. FID due by Xmas 1066. William Marchant @richonlyinname OK, you can't see Hinkley deal on the Bayeux Tapestry. But only because those panels are redacted due to commercial sensitivity. Nuclear Energy Inst. @NEI We take electricity for granted. Go places where they don't have electricity, and see what's going on. #WallStreetBrief 3WhitehallPlace @3WhitehallPlace Hinkley Point C update. Unless Austria drops its legal opposition, The Sound of Music will not be shown on television this Christmas. ElectricityNorthWest @ElectricityNW Liam is here to take over, remember it's #friday13th. Stay safe around electricity and stay away from men with masks. The Climate Group @ClimateGroup Energy efficiency cost is 2 or 3 times lower than cost of generating the same amount of electricity at a power plant. American Wind Energy @AWEA The nation's first renewable energy standard law was enacted by Iowa in 1983. #windworks jessica lennard @JessicaLennard British Gas v pleased with itself about ECO. Well done chaps, you complied with a statutory obligation on watered down targets. William Marchant @richonlyinname Ofgem's expenses suggest it buys its energy from incumbent EDF. I hope they shopped around. Sticky customers get ripped off. 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