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Microgeneration


The different ways that our power is currently being generated is extremely harmful to our environment. We simply do not have enough resources to offset these emissions.

We believe that it should be our number one priority to look at alternatives now, to support the regeneration of our planet – our only home.

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EXPLAINED

The different ways that our power, both heat and electricity, is currently being generated is extremely harmful to our environment and energy-related carbon emissions are continuing to grow substantially year on year. The simple fact is that we do not have enough resources to offset these emissions and so we believe that it should be our number one priority to look at alternatives now, to support the regeneration of our planet – our only home.

This year, carbon emissions have largely been reduced with many people staying at home, less people travelling and overall less consumption. However, we know that it’s not going to stay this way as the world starts opening up again.

We are grateful for new technologies that allow us to be more environmentally conscious and reduce our carbon footprint. We will be using some, if not all, of the below methods of renewable energy within the Believe Resorts and hope that as awareness grows, others will follow suit in a bid to keep ourselves, our soil, our food, our air, and our future generations, healthy and sustainable.

What is Microgeneration?

Microgeneration is the term used to classify a broad range of low carbon technologies.  It provides power as an alternative or supplement to traditional grid-connected power – more likened to the small-scale generation of power (both heat and electric), which is created by using energy from renewable sources. This power may be used by individuals to power their home or by small business and local communities.

Microgeneration is a means of providing power for a communities’ own needs, rather than for whole cities or countries to use.

Examples of renewable energy sources that can be harnessed for microgeneration include wind, solar, hydro, heat generation from biomass, solar thermal and heat pumps.

The Main Methods of Microgeneration

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1. Solar PV (Photovoltaic)


Solar panels mounted on the roof of a building. When the sun is out, solar radiation hits the panels and produces a flow of electrons in the cells.

Stats (as of 2008)
Energy produced annually per installation (electricity): 1600 kWh
CO2 saving per installation: 500 kg
Number of suitable homes: 10 million
Total potential CO2 saving: 5 million tonnes
Payback without subsidy: 63 years
Cost per tonne lifetime CO2 saving: £1,000
Assumptions: 2kWp crystalline silicon PV installation in central England

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2. Micro Wind


Micro wind turbines that can be mounted on top of buildings or stand on their own.

Stats (as of 2008)
Energy produced annually per installation: 700 kWh
CO2 saving per installation: 355 kg
Number of suitable homes: 1 million
Total potential CO2 saving: < 500,000 tonnes
Payback without subsidy: 30 years
Cost per tonne lifetime CO2 saving: £280
Assumptions: 1kWe free-standing turbine installed in location with average wind speed >5m/s

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3. Micro Hydro


Cost and performance is highly variable and unique to all hydro microgeneration technologies and therefore the general stats are hard to estimate. 

Microgeneration through the use of water is a very specific technology and only suitable for certain locations with an appropriate water flow. The benefit with this technology is that power generation is generally continuous and energy can be easily stored. 

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4. Solar Thermal


These systems employ either a series of evacuated tubes or glazed panels to harness solar radiation from the sun and directly heat water. 

Stats (as of 2008)
Energy produced annually per installation (hot water): 2000 kWh
CO2 saving per installation: 540 kg
Number of suitable homes: 10 million
Total potential CO2 saving: 5 million tonnes
Payback without subsidy: 50 years
Cost per tonne lifetime CO2 saving: £370
Assumptions:£5000, 5m2 installation in central England

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5. Biomass


A biomass boiler can be used in conjunction with a conventional (radiator) central heating system. This method of power generation burns biomass (commonly wood pellets).

Microgeneration using biomass has the potential to make a huge difference to household CO2 emissions - around 4-10 tonnes depending on the fuel type1. 

Microgeneration using biomass is also one of the very few fuel sources that can be classed as carbon neutral. The wood pellets used come from trees that would have absorbed carbon during their lifecycle, and although a small amount of CO2 is released when the wood is burnt, biomass is seen as a carbon neutral fuel source. 

Energy produced annually per installation (heat): 20,000 kWh
CO2 saving per installation: 5,300 kg
Number of suitable homes: 1 million
Total potential CO2 saving: 5.3 million tonnes
Payback without subsidy: 45 years
Cost per tonne lifetime CO2 saving: £78
Assumptions: Displaces oil boiler; marginal cost £8,000

The Benefits of Microgeneration

We wholeheartedly believe in the power of microgeneration and the carbon savings that it can bring for our generation – who, at this point in time, have very limited options remaining. As well as promising to steadily reduce our carbon footprint, microgeneration shows promise as a way of securing a stable energy supply for millions of people around the world and reduces our dependence on unsustainable fossil fuels.

We intend to incorporate and implement various microgeneration methods as much as possible into the planning of our sustainable eco retreats; both solar PV and solar thermal are front runners with biomass and wind alternatives also under consideration.

Statistics from: What is Microgeneration? And what is the most cost effective in terms of CO2 reduction. Jeremy Harrison.

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