Today marks the deadline to submissions on the forthcoming feed in tariffs for micro-generation in Ireland. What is micro-generation? It is the generation of electricity at a small scale, often at household scale. The most common type are solar panels that generate electricity, often located on roofs.
But why is this important? We have compiled a list of reasons:
Renewable electricity will become the new “black gold”. It will replace petroleum as the main form of energy bringing with it the same influence and power that petroleum currently wields. Countries with more renewable energy will fare better.
Electricity is crucial in the move to a low carbon society and every opportunity to generate renewable energy (including micro-generation) should be supported as a priority of national security. We cannot generate too much renewable electricity!
Electrification of transportation is the most sustainable option for transportation. Electric cars are becoming a reality but they substantially increase the amount of electricity required (displacing petroleum thankfully). The electricity for cars can be made from renewable energy including micro-generation.
PV is ideal at small scale. It is:
- just as efficient at domestic scale
- easy to install
- low maintenance
- close to location of demand = very low transmission losses
- Minimal visual impact = placed on buildings
- No noise concerns for neighbours
Every roof is a potential energy plant that does not suffer from many issues that plague other renewable energy projects like:
- Environmental impact
- Statutory licencing
- Connections to grids
Every roof that is not covered in PV is the loss of another potential renewable energy plant.
Wind power is ideal at large scale because:
- The larger the turbine the more efficient it is
- Wind turbines require ongoing maintenance so economies of scale are really important.
- Wind turbines are more efficient when placed away from buildings and other built-up areas.
- Off-shore wind is even more efficient and has other benefits, but this can only be implemented by very large companies; not micro-generation.
The generation of wind power and PV complement each other, i.e. when it is sunny it is generally not so windy and vice versa. Since wind power is much better at grid scale and PV works very well at micro scale with a free and uninhibited flow of energy linking the two sources a huge amount of electricity demand can be met without needing backup systems.
PV panels can be used in place of roof tiles or slates thereby reducing materials needed to make buildings. Less materials = cost savings and benefit to the environment.
Micro-generation fosters public support for renewable energy projects and the transition to a low/zero carbon society. If owners/family/neighbours are able to see and touch the systems that are generating renewable electricity it will help in the fight against climate change.
See our complete Submission on Micro-generation Support Scheme by clicking the text.