Monday, February 04, 2008

More grist to the mill?

I've always been fascinated with water mills and have never really understood why so many disappeared during my younger days. I guess that cheap electricity made them largely uneconomic to run.

But, water mills themselves can, and do, in a few instances, generate electricity in their own right. However, the DBERR's (it used to be the simple to understand DTI) rules on awarding double ROC's (Renewable Obligation Certificates) on all micro-generation projects appear to be pushing many water mills out of the equation as reported in CarbonFree.

"For example at Tellisford, with Declared Net Capacity (DNC) of 55kW, the site will generate about 280,000 kWh per year, on which the income including its single ROC will be about £26,600. Yet a slightly smaller site with DNC of 50kW would generate about 231,000 kWh per year, on which including double ROCs it would earn about £33,500. Thus a mill generating 17% less electricity would receive 26% more money."

Now that is simply insane. Yet another example of rules being ill thought out, poorly implemented and actually forcing the opposite of what they were intended to do in the first place.

Well done (extremely sarcastically, of course) DBERR.

I meant to include this too. It rather reminds me of the retired engineer who rebuilt a derelict old water mill into a highly desirable property somewhere in Derbyshire some 15 to 20 years ago. He didn't want the mill wheel working and doing nothing, so he adapted it to generate enough power for his own benefit. All was going well until Severn Trent Water Authority decided that it would charge him thousands of pounds a year for using their water to generate electricity!

Of course, he simply shut down the mill wheel.

1 comment:

Peter said...

This blog has of course had occasion to dip its toe into these muddy waters when I got interested in Hereford Hydro.

Rather than search and (doubtless mess up posting the) link here, I'll add the category to the list to throw up all the options.

I hope this example does not indicate the all-too-typical left hand screwing up right that typifies almost any havlfway sensible eco effort that is attempted!

I really felt that the powers that be were trying to make this work, in Herefordshire at least.