Monday, 8 December 2014

Knowle relocation project: Predicting energy price increases over the next 20 years

The chair of the Save Our Sidmouth group wrote to the Deputy CEO of the District Council asking for clarification on energy costs:
Costs of running Knowle, compared with those of running Honiton and Exmouth | Save Our Sidmouth
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: comparing the Sidmouth and Honiton/Exmouth options

The Deputy CEO of the District Council has just replied, as reported on the SOS blog:

Running costs of alternative sites for EDDC HQ

December 8, 2014 by sidmouthsid Leave a comment

Richard Cohen has today replied to SOS Chair Richard Thurlow, as follows:

Mr Thurlow

Thank you for your enquiry regarding the comparison of Annual Running Costs.

You are correct that during year one the differential in electricity and gas costs when comparing the Knowle with proposed new office at Heathpark and a refurbishment of Exmouth Town Hall is £50,200. Using a 2% pa general increase for inflation, but with 10% pa for electricity and gas the difference progressively increases to some £366,000 by year twenty.

Also, please be aware that in addition to electricity and gas costs there are other elements including Business Rates, Maintenance (planned, reactive, grounds), insurances and other running costs that have also been taken into consideration.


Richard Cohen
Deputy Chief Executive
East Devon District Council

Running costs of alternative sites for EDDC HQ | Save Our Sidmouth

We do need to look at the bigger picture...

'Saving energy' might be more than simply getting your bills down. It's about how much you spend on the energy you need to do anything - including the huge amounts of energy needed to construct a new HQ:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: demolish or renovate?
Futures Forum: "The greenest building is the one standing" >> Why do developers prefer to demolish buildings than renovate them?

Meanwhile, getting the right information about the buildings currently occupied might be a good start:


There is no doubt that old buildings were not built for energy efficiency, but does that make them unsuitable for current occupation?

If we look at the last recorded Display Energy Certificate (DEC) (see attachment below) for the Knowle, we see that the Knowle scores a creditable “C” rating on an A-G scale. However, there are several notable points arising from this, and the advisory report also attached below.
The most important of these factors is that the report expired on the 30/09/2009.
There are no apparent records of a more recent report, which begs the question, why not? These reports are provided to illustrate ways of improving energy efficiency, and the results can be improved year on year, so why has EDDC chosen not to?

Many factors affect the living or working in an old building. These include location, aesthetic appeal, suitability for purpose, the surroundings and the accessability to name a few. It is unlikely that any building will tick all the boxes but the Knowle can easily achieve all of these.

There is certainly no evidence that staff within the Knowle have any desire to move to Honiton.
Also a number of energy efficiency measures can be implemented to improve the building. There is no possibility that the carbon impact of a new build will represent a carbon saving in the next few hundred years, therefore a relocation should be seriously reconsidered.

Referring to the advisory report, if basic measures of insulation and energy efficiency
awareness training are undertaken, together with other techniques of solar thermal and solar PV which make good economic sense, combined with a proper energy policy there is no reason why the Knowle should not remain the home of EDDC for the benefit of employees, residents and the whole of Sidmouth!

Produced on behalf of the Sid Valley Energy Action Group

Futures Forum: Knowle: old bricks vs new build: embodied carbon

It is actually very difficult to predict the cost of energy.

We have just seen a fall in the price of oil - and the possible consequences of that:
Futures Forum: Climate change: and lower oil prices
Futures Forum: Climate change and "the history of a fossil fuel addiction" ... Prof Iain Stewart @ the Sidmouth Science Festival

When it comes to predicting 'peak oil', this can be very tricky:
Predicting the timing of peak oil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Futures Forum: Fracking: 'the party's over': Peak Oil now forecast for 2020
Futures Forum: Peak oil, peak soil, peak water... peak everything

Here is an assessment from the oil industry:
Energy Supply & Demand | Global Issues | Chevron

Nevertheless, we have got used to the idea of price increases:
How energy bills have soared - Telegraph
Energy bills rise by 37% in three years | Money | The Guardian

Here is an overall assessment from a solar panel company:

Inflation and Electricity Price Assumptions
Posted by: Chris Jardine in Blog
on Dec 08, 2014
Tagged in: Untagg


Predicting future electricity price rises is notoriously difficult, and energy economists the world over would find it difficult to predict prices 25 years into the future with any accuracy. Nonetheless, we do have some idea of what the future looks like, and can say the following with some certainty:
Electricity prices will rise strongly over the coming years because:

•Increased wholesale prices of gas used for electricity generation, as it is sources from increasingly far away(and potentially volatile) locations. International gas price is also linked to the price of oil, so price rises caused by peak oil may also start to play out through related markets such as electricity.

•The need to replace existing generation capacity – we have about 20GW of nuclear and coal capacity due to shut over the next 10 years

•The need to install high volumes of renewables to meet government and EU targets, incentivised both by the Renewables Obligation and the FiT itself

•The need to fund energy efficiency improvements to reduce CO2 emissions

The cost of wholesale gas price is virtually impossible to predict. But the effects of policy are more certain and have been studied by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. They predict that the price per unit of electricity will increase by 33% in the residential sector and 43% in the commercial sector between 2009 and2020. These are increases in real terms, and do not include inflation.

Joju Solar is therefore assuming electricity price rises of 2.9% per annum for residential properties and 3.6% per annum commercially

Whilst these values may seem high, it is important to note that these are price increases due to policy only, and do not account for any increases in the wholesale price of gas that may arise. This has been the key driver of rising electricity prices for the last 10 years and we expect this trend to continue as well. However, because this cannot be predicted accurately, we are deliberately excluding this factor from our assumptions.


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