Two great posts from Casey Cole on the problems of reducing energy use in the existing stock. I sort of go along with everything he writes, except I get stuck at the end of the later post, where he contends that
once we’ve identified the heat, we have to start moving it from where it’s created to where it’s needed
In theory, fine. But in practice, how do we move low-grade heat more than a few tens of metres? The only technology widely available for shifting energy around long distances is electricity cables. And electricity is manifestly high-grade energy.
Biofuel is really a red herring here: everyone agrees there will never be nearly enough of it to cover the huge demand for heating.
Community CHP plants everywhere, with pumped hot water laid on for every locality? Maybe, but the overall efficiencies of CHP plants are not that great. It would be a huge infrastructural project for rather limited benefit, especially as roof mounted solar panels provide an alternative method of getting hot water to each household for half the year.
So just what?
These are very basic questions and at the moment there don’t appear to be any totally coherent answers out there.
PS I think this is a much more important question that the Zero Carbon consultation.