Chris Twinn claims demand for large scale renewable energy will outstrip supply at UKBGC Merton Rule debate

The industry was warned that it could not rely on off-site renewable energy to reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment.

Arup director Chris Twinn said increasing competition for off-site renewables could threaten how much energy the industry could buy in order to fulfil low or zero carbon commitments for new developments.

Speaking at a debate on the Merton Rule yesterday he said the transport sector would use its “much bigger buying power” to buy large amounts of renewables in the futue. “They will end up nicking what we are thinking we will use in housing and construction.”

Twinn added that a key current problem with off-site renewable was that “no-one can verify if they aren’t being used two or three times”. He said there was a danger of double accounting in the industry at present.

Chris Twinn

What technologies will work?

Twinn pointed to recent work by his firm identifying what technologies would become crucial for the industry in the coming years, which include waste to heat technologies and CHP. He said development needed to be 50 homes per hectare minimum and community wide energy systems were essential. “Local authorities are absolutely crucial in achieving this,” he said. “Efforts so far from utilities to engage in this have been half hearted. We have got to incentivise utilities companies. Tenders we have seen (for community energy systems) the utilities firms have loaded the prices up prefer not to do it.”

And Twinn added that the option of offsetting for the industry was out of the question. “In order to meet its Kyoto promises China will buy every offset across the world.”