Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Review of 2011 Weather + Energy

After the mini-peak in annual heating cost in December 2010, the
curve has been down, down, down ever since.
December 2011: The heating figures above show it, this has been a very mild year, weather-wise. The House consumption for 2011 was 4,662 kWh and for the GHSP was 2,657 kWh.... Both are amazing figures - I thought at one time that 6,000 and 4,000 were as low as consumption could go to! I then 'had a dream' that they could touch 5,000 and 3,000..... but they kept on going! I re-compute these every Sunday, so they are not a surprise. The Sunbox capture was 3,035 kWh which is satisfactory.
   If we have a stiff Winter-Spring, I expect those figures to bounce back a bit - perhaps making 5,000 and 3,000 the new median for future years. We shall see!

The Guardian has two articles reviewing the weather and the environment for the year of 2011. First the article based on a National Trust report describes how confusing it has been for plants and wildlife. The Spring 2011 was an amazingly warm 'bounce-back' after the wintry months of 2010 with the sunniest March and the warmest April on record. After a reasonably warm summer, we have had this recent autumn that had the September-October heatwave (more all time records), the second warmest November in 100 yrs, and in December, the temperature hardly ever went below freezing (in this part of the world). I never once had to get a scraper out for the car windscreen. In our front garden, one of our rose plants has come into flower! Daffodils are already sprouting.

The Environment
The other report, on the wider environmental picture reveals a lot of problems, mostly caused by a British government that promised to be the greenest ever, but seem to have believed that they could have entirely different policies compared to their election promises. 
Quoting from the Guardian article: 2011 was a torrid year for what remains of natural Britain. There was a cold winter, a glorious but very dry spring, an Autumnal heatwave and a late drought, but the government which promised to be the greenest ever, was pilloried for its proposed actions on planning, forests, air quality, climate change, solar energy, sustainable development, biodiversity, nuclear power, badgers, geo-engineering, rivers, shale gas, energy conservation, roads, public transport and a lot more besides. Only a few nuclear industry fans and some optimistic marine conservationists had much to celebrate.
   So they've had fracking proposals for Lancashire, backing out of the Feed in Tariff, increasing support for Nuclear, making it easier for house builders to avoid their energy efficient obligations, attempts to lift regulations that protect the environment from business activities. They've produced things like the Green Deal which are so weak and complex in timetabling that they seem almost custom-designed to avoid people taking up the offer. Carbon emissions from the UK continue to climb, although energy from renewables has been on the increase (something to cheer about... ). Osborne is verging on taking the US view that green action is 'bad for business' (and 'why bother as we are smaller than the Chinese?'). Environmental bodies like Natural England or the Energy Saving Trust has been reduced to the level that any objective observer would regard as closed.

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