Your independent energy adviser
0800 051 5770

Is wasting energy really the best policy?

In the latest of our guest blogs, Peter Franklin, Director of energy consultancy Enstra Consulting tackles the efficiencies of energy generation.

Is wasting energy really the best policy?

65% of the energy that goes into a typical gas or coal-powered power station is lost during the generation process. This isn’t just a waste of precious fossil fuels, it’s also a wasted opportunity for businesses.

Do you know that when you switch on the lights and run your PC that the bulk of your electricity will be coming from a coal fired power station or a large-scale combined cycle gas generation turbine (CCGT) station?

Do you also know that, according to a recent BBC study, 65% of the energy input to these power stations is lost either through the inability to use the waste heat produced during generation, or through losses in the transmission and distribution system?

This means that more than double the amount of energy that you use has to be fed into the generation system! With significantly increased carbon prices on the horizon, the cost penalty associated with this wastage is set to rise steeply, which then feeds through into everyone’s energy bills.

If we could use the heat produced during the generation process, and produce the electricity closer to the point of consumption i.e. your business or home, this energy wastage could be reduced dramatically.

The technology needed to do this is not new. Indeed in Germany, district heating schemes abound, where combined heat and electricity production structurally avoid this wastage.

Combined heat and power (CHP) is a mature technology at the community level. And new technologies such as fuel cells and micro-CHP offer the possibility of creating electricity at the point of consumption whilst using the waste heat at the individual home or business premise level.

The government’s plans are to build more centralised gas generation stations (CCGTs) and to perpetuate this waste when what is needed is a shift in our generation paradigm.

Where possible we should be putting in place community level generation or individual property level generation whenever there is a heat demand that can be satisfied from the heat produced during electricity generation.

Businesses and communities should be getting together and taking control of the generation of the electricity they need and using the associated heat. This will bring with it all the benefits of a sustainable solution in the medium and long term – lower costs (unless perverse incentives are introduced by government), better security of supply, and sound environmental protection.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.