Here’s a little piece of slightly outdated news that recently crossed my path. Northern Ireland is making a big push for small-scale renewable energy.
“Under proposed building regulation changes, the use of renewable energy in new builds will be mandatory from 2008.
About 4,000 grants will cover up to 50% of the cost of installing renewable energy systems, such as solar panels.”
It’s great to see a country implement a program that will demonstrate the feasbility and benefits of developing small-scale renewable energies. In addition to reducing fossil fuel extraction and greenhouse gas emissions, ensuring that every building can generate some of its own energy could prevent some of the massive blackouts we’ve recently experienced in the US. If this proves successful, let’s hope other countries will follow suit.
Buildings that generate some of their own power also mean lower energy bills. Northern Ireland has its mind in the right place with this program, “Five-hundred low-income families will get solar hot water systems installed in their homes, under a Department of Social Development initiative.”
The BBC article from which this information comes also reports that N.I. Secretary of State Peter Hain has installed photovoltaics on his house in Wales, which he claims led to the halving of his energy bills. Solar energy being that effective in such northern lattitudes and in a place that isn’t exactly known for its abundance of sunny days? Who woulda thought?!