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While away some time before popping out

… to get some of the things I cannot buy in my main shop.

Like many, I do the majority of my shopping from a supermarket. But they don’t do everything and besides, I did forget a couple of things.

Why the wait, well I live in a football town, so waiting until kick-off has happened will mean a huge reduction in the traffic and a chance to finish my cup of tea 🙂

My beloved is recovering from losing a tooth yesterday as a result of his treatment for cancer 20 odd years ago, so I have been pottering in the kitchen.

I love cooking for us all, but it’s the hardest thing I do on so many levels. By law, ready made dishes must have their nutritional values on them. When you cook yourself, it’s much more of a guessing game and that can take the shine off the whole experience if you end up too high or low following the wrong bolus or wrong delivery type. Cooking basic foods different ways can make a huge difference to how the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats work together.

Still, today’s lunch was good, a carrot and coriander soup cooked from fresh in about an hour (taking prep into account). I have about a serving each for later in the week as a quick lunch or to take into work.

I’m just doing some tea cakes to have later, having got the kitchen straight from lunch, and chilling watching my favourite cookery Saturday morning show.

It’s not at all sunny, but the UK is experiencing significant amounts of wind power, so I don’t feel too bad about cooking. Indeed, the UK has enjoyed a long period of lower carbon dioxide electricity production due to the investment in wind turbines.

Sitting here, watching the trees sway in the wind, I would love the ability to do this myself, but living in a town, it’s not as straight-forward to do this in a domestic capacity. Planning permission may be required (not as clear cut a decision as it used to be), then there’s erecting the turbine.

All in all, a non-trivial task and being a low scale market, there’s going to be a long wait until the prices are as competitive as solar for domestric microgeneration.

Of course, some people are lucky and live by streams that can be harnessed for hydropower. In England, compared to other parts of the UK, our relatively flat landscape means that the number of people able to do this is tiny.

Far more could make use of combined heat and power (CHP), especially during the winter when the days in the England can be extremely short, barely 4 hours, as per see first graph showing number of day light hours in London . This when we tend to heat our homes. Imagine every time you heat your radiators you also produce some electricity? Again, in my house, the smart meter shows that I heat my home most while the sun ain’t shining in the winter!

However, the UK government’s decision to essentially ban gas boilers in the UK mean these units are not being sold in the UK 🙁 despite the fact our air source and ground source markets are still immature, making this a difficult option to choose, especially in renovations rather than new builds. By comparison, heat pump installation costs in Norway are tiny compared to a similarly sized installation in the UK…

CHP has popular in Denmark (45.3% market penetration), the Netherlands, and Finland. Norway tends to use heat pumps where possible rather than gas for heating and like the UK has difficulty harnessing solar during the winter months (Germany, Greece and Spain are keen users of solar due to their long day light hours).

Don’t get me wrong, solar is fanastic and during the summer, we are almost running off the grid the majority of the time. Our yearly generation is between 3.4 and 3.8MWh, our consumption of electricity was 3.9MWh (excluding our V2G draw which was 3.5MWh and I say that, because we donate so much of our battery charge per annum) – the majority of that consumption is during the winter – at 92% efficiency, our CHP could cover that. Which is a bit of a wow factor.

Usually, CHP hasn’t been competitive compared to domestic electricity costs from the grid, 2022 and the situation with Russia has changed all that. Like our solar generation and donations from the car, the pay back is much quicker.

But now is definitely the time, if that sounds good to you.

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