Happy New Year from all of us here at Trade Skills 4U. As we enter into yet another millennium year (doesn't time fly?) we take a look back at the past year and recap on the main highlights of 2012 in the electrical industry.
In January 2012, almost a whole year ago, a public consultation was held on the future of Part P of the building regulations. Deregulatory changes will come into force this April 2013 with regulatory changes taking effect in October of this year (2013.
In February 2012, The Eden project in Cornwall became the first employee owned solar plant in the UK. 200 roof panels were placed on some of the Eden projects storage buildings as part of a unique deal where employees own a 'share' of the solar installation.
In March 2012, two nuclear power plants planned for England were ditched due to the high costs and poor economic conditions. This is a victory for renewable energy advocates but is nuclear doomed in the UK?
In April 2012, the government released a new biomass strategy designed to ignite the biomass industry. If successful, the biomass industry could be producing 11 per cent of UK energy and supporting 50,000 jobs by the end of the decade.
May 2012 was the coldest May in the UK in the last 100 years and with this came the news that the government was planning its biggest energy reforms in the last 20 years. The draft energy bill raised concerns that consumers could face increased energy bills and was neglecting renewable energies,
In June 2012, the UK saw very unseasonal weather conditions with floods causing widespread damage to homes and businesses. Electricians were kept busy rectifying power outages, whilst the floods were also causing problems for transport of all types.
In July 2012 the government released its annual statistical publication - Energy Consumption in the United Kingdom. The publication has been looking at trends and changes in energy use in the UK since the 1970's but its particular focus has been on the changes in energy use since the 1990's.
August 2012 saw the introduction of the infamous Feed In Tariff (FIT) Cuts for solar panels. From now on, householders get less money for generating solar energy as the government cuts the subsidy. Householders now receive 16p per KWh of electricity produced instead of 21p per KWh.
September 2012 was a month of turmoil for energy industries with power shortage risks by 2015 announced by Ofgem. Wind turbines come under fire with the Daily Mail reporting that wind farms could be killing us rather than saving us. Meanwhile an Arctic expert predicts the final collapse of sea ice will happen within 4 years.
October 2012 saw the energy row rage on with the Prime Minister vowing to ensure consumers were offered the lowest possible energy tariff ending the confusion over energy tariffs and ensuring consumers are not paying more than necessary for their energy usage. The wind farm dispute shakes renewable power investors and in America, Superstorm Sandy wrecks havoc causing major disaster.
November 2012 finally saw the coalition government publish the long awaited energy bill. Confusion and debate still reigns over the impact on domestic energy bills, however the bill has been largely welcomed by the energy industry. However environmental groups are less enthusiastic particularly with the de-carbonisation target.
In December 2012, support for Biomass and Solar support packages were published. Solar projects on buildings rather than ground level will carry higher rates and encourage solar projects at large factory and warehouse buildings. Biomass projects that are both carbon and cost effective. The support offered could unlock investment decisions up to £600m and create an additional 1000 construction jobs.
2012 is likely to be a year remembered for a record dry spring followed by floods and storms of biblical proportions. Todays headlines talk of last years drought conditions with the constant rain spoiling many harvests which has lead to record wheat and oil seed rape prices. Farmers have yet to sow this years seed in many areas as the ground is too water saturated, which will impact on the 2013 harvest.
What will 2013 bring to the electrical industry? Watch this space.