The price of gas soars 19%
On 8 June 2011 Scottish Power announced a 19% increase in the price of gas from 1 August.
On 8 July 2011 British Gas, owned by Centrica, announced it is putting up its domestic gas prices by 18% and electricity prices by 16% from 18 August. This follows a 7% increase in both gas and electricity in December 2010.
On 21 July 2011 Scottish & Southern announced a 18% increase in the price of gas from 14 September, on top of a 9% increase in gas in December 2010.
As this is attributable to increases in the wholesale price of gas, increases from other suppliers seem inevitable. With inflation running at 4.5%, why is this occurring? What is the background?
- World demand for gas increased by 7.4% last year - the largest annual increase ever.
- An increasing world population, enjoying increasing wealth, is demanding more gas.
- Gas is used for heating, industrial purposes, and generating electricity at power stations.
- The nuclear meltdown at Fukushima following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami on 10 March 2011 has raised safety questions over generating electricity from nuclear plants.
- Since Fukushima, Germany and Switzerland have announced that they will phase out their nuclear power stations. Electric power generation using gas is the obvious alternative.
- Italy, in a referendum on 12 June 2011, has overwhelmingly rejected generating electricity with nuclear power.
- Britain's new generation of nuclear power stations are likely to be delayed in the wake of the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima.
- The retail price of gas has risen 233% since 2004.
- The price of gas in the UK has historicaly been low because of the supply from the North Sea and a well developed distribution system of piped gas to nearly all houses in urban areas.
What will happen to the price of gas in future?
The price of gas has risen in the past, is rising now and is likely to continue rising in the future. The increase in world population will put increasing pressure of demand on gas - and other natural resources. The price of electricity tends to rise in line with the cost of gas.
What is the alternative to using gas for heating?
Interseasonal Heat Transfer from ICAX is a gas-free system of heating buildings.
Interseasonal Heat Transfer can save over 50% of carbon emissions compared to using a gas boiler for heating.
Interseasonal Heat Transfer can save over 80% of carbon emissions compared to using standard air conditioning and chillers for cooling.
Reducing Carbon Emissions from existing buildings
Many large corporations would like to reduce the carbon footprint of their existing building stock, but are unsure how this can be done beyond attention to detail like increasing the insulation levels to reduce heat escaping in winter.
Interseasonal Heat Transfer can be applied to some existing buildings. This is often possible if the building uses air conditioning in the standard way, which is to use a large amount of electricity to "waste surplus heat" to the outside air in summertime. Depending on location and the buildings involved, ICAX may be able to reduce the energy consumption of air conditioning by "banking" the surplus summer heat in vertical boreholes in the ground.
In the winter heat is recovered from those boreholes via an ICAX Skid (which includes a heat pump) in order to heat the building more cheaply in winter - without burning fossil fuels.
Interseasonal Heat Transfer can now be used to provide on site renewable energy to heat buildings without burning carbon fuels. Interseasonal Heat Transfer captures surplus heat energy in the summer and stores it in a ThermalBank for release when it is needed to heat buildings in winter.
Interseasonal Heat Transfer also captures cold on winter nights, stores this in ThermalBanks™ in the ground and releases it to cool buildings in summer. Renewable Cooling is a more natural form of cooling with a much lower carbon footprint than the standard solution of providing air conditioning powered by electric chillers.
Interseasonal Heat Transfer™ is suited to some existing buildings and may be able to link in to existing heating and cooling distribution systems in current buildings.
Reducing Carbon Emissions from new buildings
Interseasonal Heat Transfer™ is ideally suited to well insulated new buildings.
Renewable Heat Incentive
Please see: What IHT is.
See also: Retrofitting IHT to save carbon emissions.