Friday, December 29, 2006

World's Biggest Offshore Windfarm


Who is Going to Build the World's Largest Off-shore Wind-farm?

Ireland announced it was to construct the "world's biggest wind-farm" in 2002 but there is a new claimant for this category. The UK has plans to build the world's largest offshore wind farm off the coast of south-east England. The £1.5bn scheme will be called the London Array. It will have 341 turbines in the Thames estuary and could generate 1,000 megawatts of power, enough to meet about 1% of the UK's electricity needs.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Wind Power


The Cost of Generating Electricity by Wind
Where are Ireland's Grand Plans??

The Cost of Generating Electricity by Wind has fallen a great deal since the 1980 ies. The cost of oil has equally risen in that time.

Here are the figures for 1 Kilo Watt Hour, or the cost of keeping a single bar electric fire going for 1 hour:

38 US cents in the early 1980 ies
18 US cents in 1990
5 US cents 2003
3 US cents by 2020 (projected figures)

Ireland had some plans for a huge wind farm on the Arklow sandbank in 2002 - I wonder what has happened to that plan?

The News at the time

In 2002 Ireland approved plans to build the world's largest wind farm on a sandbank ten kilometers offshore from Arklow. The Arklow Sandbank— a sliver of land is one of the windiest locations in Ireland. The plans were for 200 wind turbines. The wind farm is expected to generate about 10 percent of the country's energy needs by the time the project is complete, or about 520 megawatts of electricity.


Friday, December 22, 2006

Review of this blog's year


This blog was first posted on Wednesday 7th June last. That's just over 28 weeks ago. The counter shows that there have been 27, 036 page loads since the blog went live. That means the average has been almost 1000 per week.

It would appear therefore that this blog has gained a fair sized readership. I am counting that as a success in itself. Judging from the letters and comments I have received, it has drawn a fair deal of reaction, both positive and negative. The reaction has been mainly positive and supportive. I am counting that as another success!

The blog has managed to rattle a few cages in the commercial world. The price comparisons have proved to be most irritating to some readers in business. This I count as another success.

The blog has failed to draw ANY response whatsoever from SEI. I do not count this as a failure as I have maintained, more or less, that there is no life in SEI anyway. Maybe that should read, no intelligent life in SEI!!

If I have caused any few people to avoid a rip off, or provoked some thought on renewable energy in any few minds, I am happy with my efforts during the year. I hope to keep up the blog in 2007 and nail a few more cowboys!


Wishes to All at End of Christian Year


At the end of the Christian year 2006
I wish all readers of this blog:




Thursday, December 21, 2006

My List for Santa


My List for Santa

Dear Santa,

Can I please have the following things delivered for Christmas or any time during the New Year would also be fine.

1. That the price of Renewable Energy equipment in Ireland comes into line with the rest of Europe. With lots and lots of real competition.
2. Proper regulation (with teeth) of prices for equipment and installers by SEI. Or the disbanding of the present SEI and its replacement with a more pro-active and clued-in management.
3. Proper safety standards being set for sustainable energy equipment.
4. The promotion of wood pellet manufacture in Ireland.
5. Active government interest and input to ensure stable prices and good supplies of wood pellets.
6. A huge increase in wind generation capacity in Ireland.
7. Massive and immediate investment in BioMass power generation.
8. The disbanding of ESB and its replacement with a proper management system.
9. Grants and investment in the production of BioDeisel.

Can I please reserve the right to add to my list.

Many thanks Santa!


Monday, December 18, 2006

Questions -Questions


Questions for any Pellet Boiler Dealer

To be fair to Kedco, the questions I posed in the last blog to that company are 100% applicable to any would-be re-seller of pellet boilers.

I also believe that any self respecting company should not have to be asked these question. They should proudly display the questions and answers in their advertising materials.

I would take any coyness on the part of a company about answering these questions as a black mark against them, and would refuse to deal with that company.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Kedco Wood Pellet Questions


Unanswered Questions from Kedco

I have been reading in the papers where Kedco are expanding their franchise in Ireland, selling, among other items, their own branded OPOP boiler.

Some 6 weeks ago I posed some questions to Kedco by their own invitation.
Just to remind you here again are the questions:

1. How secure is Kedco's pellet supply?,
2. What prices are offered on wood pellets, bulk, bagged, baled?,
3. Can Kedco guarantee a price on pellets for any length of time i.e . the next 12 to 18 months perhaps?,
4. How long is the guarantee on the burner unit as distinct from the boiler?,
5. Will Kedco supply parts replaced by other than their own technicians under warranty?
6. What is the cost of Kedco service technicians time per hour, and what mileage cost, and minimum charge?
7. Does Kedco have a stock of spares?
8. Does Kedco have a price-list of spares?
9. If so what is the price of a 16Kw stainless steel burner box/tray/hearth, or an igniter unit?

I would add another couple of questions on reflection:

a. How many fully trained technicians does Kedco have on full time employment?
b. What type of warranty repair is not covered by the guarantee?
c. Under warranty, are there ANY charges for a call-out?
d. Before sale and delivery of a wood pellet boiler, do Kedco survey the location, if so is there a charge?

And here is one new question just added with this blog:

Does the Kedco boiler have a fail-safe water quench anti back-burn device fitted?

It would be nice to have the answers??


Just got this letter


Just Got This Letter:

Hi There,

I like to weld and make things in my spare time and I am thinking of making filler pipes for pellet stores and selling them at a reasonable price including the appropriate connections etc.

My problem is and I hope maybe you could help get some feedback as to what the self builders need made for filling their stores. I have read some people just intend fixing the connector straight to the store but I don't see how this could be good. I read from Balcas site that they need a metal pipe so that's a start. Should I be making a length of pipe with a bend on one end for turning into the silo and the coupler welded to the other end?. Should there be like an expansion area at the end of the pipe? .Also should it be galvanised. ( I used to work in a feed silo factory so I have an idea of whats reqd.)

I would be grateful for any idea you might have or get from other people.

Also have you got or do you intend doing a boiler comparison type chart or separating the good ones from the bad, I think this would be a good idea as I know like everybody else I hear various stories from every supplier.

Many thanks for your time

My Answer:

Hi Angelo,

Thanks for your letter.

If you read my profile would see that I do not have any specialist knowledge of this business. I have gained all of my knowledge from reading and talking to others. I have specific interests that concern me, and which I have been writing about on this blog since last June, these do not include details regarding the design of storage facilities.

I have had several requests for specific advice on various matters. I do not offer advice. I also do not operate an information service as such, I just pass on what I am learning, or just simply have a good old rant at the stupidity of SEI, or some other problem I perceive.

I am unable to offer you any useful information on the matters you asked. Perhaps however you might consider sharing the information with others when you learn it.


PS. Regarding the boiler comparison suggestion, I have reveived several dozen suggestions about various services I should or could offer by spending time compiling this information or that information. BUT I have received no offers of information.

I have no commercial interest whatsoever in this business, and get no reward or payment of any kind out of this blog.

On the other hand, SEI (sustainable Energy Ireland) have got many millions of Euro in taxpayers money to do just that sort of thing, with well paid executives and operatives. With all the money and hoo-ha, they have failed completely to be advisers to the Irish public on matter regarding, value, competence, safety etc.

I would not mind doing more information gathering and comparison type of work if I had the time. It would be nice, once in a while, to have some others, who are concerned with these matters, actually do something about it!!

Ahhhhh - that feels better off my chest!


Saturday, December 16, 2006

DANGER - Murphy's Law and Wood Pellet Boilers


Murphy's Law states: "Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time".

It is how most accidents happen. "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link" in another truism. Both these sayings can be applied to many wood pellet boilers in use in Ireland.

I have already discussed Back-Burn dangers in the previous couple of blogs. A back burn can happen in any boiler with an automated fuel feed system. There needs to be elaborate and fail safe methods for dealing with a back burn. There is only a very primitive system in many Irish installations.

I ask again - how many fires will it take for SEI to set the standards higher?


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Back-Burn Prevention

A Possible Retro-Fit Kit to Prevent Back-Burn

Presented for debate, and not as advice, implied or otherwise, is a simple, elegant, and inexpensive approach to preventing back-burn.

Simply a large bottle of water is suspended some way above the burner unit and a hose attached to the pellet feed tube. The end of hose is sealed with bees wax or a similar low point melting plug. If there should be any back burn, the wax would melt and release the water immediately quenching the fire and preventing any re-ignition. The release of water would not cause any serious damage to the burner or boiler.

Simple ideas are often the best. To me, this appears an elegant solution and would cost very little indeed to implement.

Details like:
(1) The type of hose pipe to be used,
(2) The method and place to attach the hose,
(3) The type of wax or other heat sensitive sealant utilised,
(4) The quantity of water, and
(5) the height of the water, would all need to be verified by testing.

A retro-fit kit of this type could be produced and sold for very small money. Or will we in Ireland wait until a few homes have been burned down before we act??

SEI please take note!!


Wood Pellet Back-Burn

Preventing Back-Burn in Wood Pellet Boilers

Many wood pellet boilers now installed do not have adequate back-burn fire protection fitted. Preventing back-burn in a wood pellet boiler should be as important as fitting a fire-valve on the fuel line to an oil boiler.

The method, or methods, used should be independent of the boiler function, and should also be independent of power supply.

There have been a number of suggested solutions to the danger. Some of them are priced highly (it is only what you have come to expect with wood pellet boilers), and some can cost as little as €5.

One fool-proof, simple, independent system is a water quench system. One such device I will outline in the next blog. This is NOT a recommendation from me nor is it to be taken as expert advice of any sort. It is an ingenious suggestion I have been told about, and I am simply passing it on to the technically savvy out there who might like to do something with it.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Sustainable Energy Ireland

How are Sustainable Energy Ireland Doing

with regard to their
Constitution and Prime Tasks?

Following is an para-phrased extract from a document on the SEI web site which outlines the correct way to promote and introduce wood pellet heating. Each bulletpoint is from the document, my comments are in brackets and italics.

How to introduce pellets successfully

· Increase public awareness of wood pellet heating
(To be fair SEI has done a good job in this department, the web site is very good, and the seminars around the country have also been successful in their task)

· Prove reliable pellet quantities and delivery
(SEI have failed miserably and completly here. They didn't even bother to consult the existing manufacturer regarding projected installation figures, so that Balcas might have some chance to re-tool and up production output)

· Establish strict quality standards for wood pellets
(What standards? and even if there are some criteria written down somewhere, how is that affecting the customer. Standards without teeth are useless)

· Establish clear quality standards for woodpellet boilers (high efficiency, low emissions and reliable operation) (and above all SAFETY)
(Again - What standards? Most important standards are missing. SAFETY!! The greater portion of wood pellet boilers now installed have no independent and reliable back-burn safety system installed)

· Poor quality boilers represent a bigger problem for long term market development than over-priced boilers!
(Lots of poor quality boilers in Irelandand some of them also qualify for inclusion in the "overpriced" category)

So how does SEI measure up on the criteria they thewmselves have published on their website?
I suppose a score of "1 out of 5" isn't all that bad by "Irish" standards, what do you think is it?

But the lack of properly applied safety standards are unforgivable.
So I give SEI a "failed" on applying their own criteria.



Safety for Wood Pellet Boilers

Safety and Back Burn!

Regarding Safet for wood pellet boilers, especially,
to do with the real danger of back-burn.

I will be returning to this subject again soon.

Please stay tuned.


Potential Fire Hazard

Many Wood Pellet Boilers Potential Fire Hazards

The greater majority of the wood pellet boilers being sold in Ireland do not have adequate “back-burn” protection.

What does “back-burn” protection mean?

In a wood pellet boiler the burner unit, where the flame is created, is connected to the supply of pellets via an auger and a piece of plastic tubing. (see above picture)

The purpose of the bit of plastic tubing is to “melt” if there is burning of the pellets back up through the tube through which they are fed, thus cutting off the pellet supply. In many boilers this is really the only separate back-burn protection.

If, for instance, there was a storm blowing with possible down draught in the flue, a backpressure might be created temporarily in the pellet feed tube. If this should happen for any reason, the pellets in the tube could easily and quickly ignite.

If the pellets should ignite in the feed tube, and really get going, the question is would the plastic melt fast enough to stop a fire?

Would you trust the bit of plastic tubing, (by implication, approved by SEI, as they approve the boilers) , to save your home or the lives of your family???

My guess is that all of these boilers will have to be retro-fitted with water quench safety devices.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Prices - Comment

A Comment just in from "fandango1"

Just put a deposit on a 16kw Scotte OPOP wood pellet boiler. Total price including auger & 250kg hopper is €4660. Seems fairly comparable to european prices mentioned in previous blog posts. What do you think?

My reply:

Not good value at all!! Maybe less profiteering than some other sellers.

€3793 inclusive of Irish VAT - should be the Irish price - based on Danish prices AND allowing €200 to cover the extra transport to Ireland. Remember also that Denmark is NOT a cheap country!! €4660 minus €3793 = €867 loading on top of the profit that the Danish shop is making!!

The Atmos boiler with Swedish burner, to which you made the comment, is in a different class altogether - so you could not really compare it with an OPOP Scotte combination. it represents a really good price from the Polish company.

Hope you can get a reliable supply of pellets this winter!

Best of luck.

From an earlier Blog:
Boilers and Burners

Boilers are the BIG thing, like a fridge, the Burner is a smallish unit bolted to the side or to the front of the Boiler. In Ireland there are various combinations of boiler and burner being sold as units.

The Opop Boiler (generally grey in colour) is very popular, as is the Dor Boiler unit (generally red in colour)

The Scotte and the Boink Burner units are very commonly fitted to either of the above boilers.

The Dor boiler is dearer than the Opop, as it can burn logs, and the Scotte burner is a bit more expensive than the Boink, though both offer 100 step modulation.


The Danish Retail price for the combination 16Kw unit is 20,400Dk plus tax. In our money that's €2734 plus 21% VAT. Now you will need to add a hopper unit to that price but hoppers can easily be built or locally made. The boilers are made in the Czech Republic and have to be shipped to Denmark. Shipping to Ireland would cost a bit extra so add say €200 extra to cover the longer shipping haul.

For fear I be accused of distorting the facts here is the site link:

Now lets add it all up - shall we? Combination Boink Boiler unit €2734, a locally made hopper unit say €200 and another €200 for the extra shipping. That gives us €3134 plus 21% VAT which is a total of €3793 inclusive of Irish VAT, transport and a locally made hopper unit.


Irish Energy Policy

The Celtic Knot - Symbol of Irish Energy Planning

Well, if Ireland's Sustainable Energy Planning lacks "joined up thinking", it certainly does not lack length and knots.

1. Promote wood pellet heating installations - but do not give a thought to fuel supply!
2. Promote wind power - but allow ESB to dictate just how much wind energy they will allow on the network!
3. Grant aid domestic alternative energy installations - but have no thought of standards, safety or value for money, allow the cowboys and gougers to do their worst!
4. Plan to have 30% of Ireland's energy delivered from sustainable mean by the year 2020 - but no thought of how the remaining 70% can be achieved in the last 5 to 10 years of oil????
5. Talk of atomic energy in Ireland - but - no but - it is madness!!

Oh for heaven's sake - can it get any more twisted or knotted than that?


Polish Boiler Dealership

Polish Boilers - The Contact Information

Here is the web address with all the details of the Polish Dealer:


Friday, December 08, 2006

The Polish Dealers Details

Knot not Not? Knotted?

You will be looking for the Polish dealers details maybe?

Tune in again in a day or two, I will include full details
in my next post.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

More Polish Prices

The Atmos D 20P 22Kwatt Pellet boiler with an Iwabo Swedish Burner Unit left or right sided fitting, Auger and a 250L silo for 15,671 Zlotty inclusive of Polish VAT at 22%.

Additionally the burner unit can be easilt removed and the boiler then used to burn lump wood.

The Irish price €4117 inclusive of VAT at todays exchange rates.

Ship 'em in from Poland lads!!


Pellet Boiler Prices in Poland

Title of This Blog
Prices of Wood Pellet Boilers in Poland
Ireland Wake Up!!

The BioMaster 20Kw Wood Pellet Boiler Complete

So that you might have something to compare Irish Wood Pellet Boiler prices with, I will post some Polish prices here on the blog over the next few days. First one up, is a make called BioMaster, following is the blurb as published:

BioMaster 20 KiloWatt pellet Boiler complete
Nominal power: 20 kW (enough output for the average home)
Efficiency: 91,7 – 92,3 % (looks as if this one is highly efficient)
Warranty: 2 years

Advantages of the boiler:
- high efficiency
- full automatic functioning
- quick and easy maintenance
- economical fuel burning
- smoke-free and ecological burning
- possibility to install two pumps and steering I

Price: 12,810 Polish Zlotte incl VAT
That’s €3365 incl. VAT at todays exchange rates.

How do you think the Polish price compares with Irish prices?
We will just have to send a van to Poland or else maybe get some Polish business people to set up in Ireland!!!


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Fuel Cells for Electricity Generation

What About Fuel Cells?

I had an interesting letter recently from Brett F. , proposing fuel cells as a possible alternative energy source. It is an area of power generation I had not given much consideration. Here is a brief extract of that interesting letter:

Hi, A lot of great points you raise here. I too would like to see some appreciation for sustainability in the Energy supply in Ireland and around the world.

You should explore the possibility of fuel cells mentioned later in my rant. I have been loosely following their development for some years now, but I’m not sure why their release to the market is so slow. They are very expensive at the moment but when everyone has one or two in the back yard and 5 or 6 in the house, I’m sure they will be cheaper to produce than petrol.

Fuel Cells are possibly the long-term answer. A fuel Cell, say 1 cubic meter in size, is supposed to be capable of supplying a small village. The Ideal Fuel cell requires Hydrogen and Oxygen in gas form, and the only output is H2O (Pure Water) and Electricity. Some types can produce a little CO2 because they use methanol as an input instead of Hydrogen gas, but its negligible. The energy is not produced by burning the fuel, but it uses the electro potential difference of two gasses to strip electrons for the electricity – like a battery.

A battery used electro potential of two metals but the electro potential between two gasses is much greater. The problem in harnessing this electro potential is keeping the two gasses physically separated while letting electrons and ions flow between them. Recently, this has been made possible using ceramics technology.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Nuclear Powered Ireland

The Irish Nuclear Discussion
has been
Opened Again

Ireland is again being asked to consider Nuclear Power as a future alternative. How can we think of bringing something so deadly poisonous and dangerous onto our Island. The volatile, unstable, and highly deadly waste we would leave to children, grandchildren, and future generations to deal with. There is the small but real danger of an accident like Chernobyl happening, which would leave the country uninhabitable for 10,000 years.

To spark some thoughts and discussion on the matter I have borrowed some photographs of the real victims of Nuclear Power from various sources on the Internet including GreenPeace. If the use of these photographs is any sort of breach of copyright I apologise, and will remove them immediately if so informed.

I am publishing the photographs to help focus minds on the dangers of a power source so deadly, so utterly poisonous, and so long-lasting, that the lands affected will be useless to mankind for thousands of years.

Please look very closely and carefully at the following photographs, and think of your children, and of your children's children. Then think very carefully, is nuclear power worth that risk??

The Real Victims of Nuclear Power

May God comfort and heal these unfortunate souls.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ireland's Oil Fields

s Oil Fields

Ireland's Oil Fields offer more by way of opportunity than immediate and short-term benefit. The oil fields are small and can be very easily managed. The management of the oil fields will give constant and long-term sustainable employment prospects for thousands of Ireland's residents.

Clean Crude Oil

The crude oil extracted from these fields is very clean and light oil and lends itself perfectly to the manufacture of diesel fuel for transport and heating etc.

Long Term Employment Potential

Again, as with the management of the oil fields, the extraction of the crude and its manufacture into end products offer huge potential for long-term employment.

I have obtained a photograph of a typical oil field, one of perhaps thousands or tens of thousands of potential oil producing fields all over Ireland.

National Treasure

Have a good look at this national treasure, which will outlast the Arabian and Russian oil fields by thousands and thousands of years into the future, and will additionally not contaminate the immediate environment or the planets atmosphere.

Typical Example of Ireland's Potential Oil Fields


Monday, November 27, 2006

Where Are Ireland's New Oil Fields?

Where are the New Oil Fields as Announced in the last blog?

I have been receiving requests for more specific information regrading the locations of the new oil fields as announced in my last blog which was posted just a few hours ago.

Above is a rough map of the country with oil well symbols in various places. These are not necessarily the locations of the oil fields. I have simply used the map as a graphical feature to illustrate this blog. Therefore, please do not take the map as literal.

The story has been met with a combination of reactions, everything from disbelief, to delight. I want to assure my readers that this is NOT a hoax. I am waiting for a photograph of one of these oil fields and I will post it right here on the blog just as soon as I get it.

Please stay tuned.


Ireland Has Discovered New Oilfields!!!


Ireland Has Discovered New Oilfields!!!

There have recently been several reports of the discovery of oilfields in Ireland. Indications are that while these oilfields are not big in the global sense, they nevertheless offer collectively an independent and secure source of our own oil. The type of crude oil being produced is especially suitable for processing into diesel for transport and heating purposes.

This is great news for Ireland. Stay tuned for further news!!


Sunday, November 26, 2006


New Type High efficiency Solar Panels


A UK solar heating company was fined £40,000 for exaggerating the benefits of their solar heating panels. The firm claimed customers energy bills would be cut by 70%. The actual saving in their particular case was a mere 8%.

This is the first case of its type in the UK. The company was found guilty of misleading the public under the Trade Description Act.

The company's directors were additionally ordered to pay £27,000 in costs.

Now if SEI went after some of the Irish profiteers and rip-off merchants in the same way, it would clean up the Renewable Energy Business in the Republic.

Irish buyers have a wide choice of solar systems and installers offering services. The prices vary a great deal. The dearest are not necessarily the best. The new type of vacuum tube high efficiency units offers much better results. Well designed and well installed systems win out over cowboy systems. Irish customers would do well to be wary and ask lots and lots of questions and get written quotations before making up their minds.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Ireland refusing more wind energy??


I have just heard that Ireland (ESB) has recently refused to take any more wind generation capacity on to it's grid. If this is true it is soooo completely wrong.

I understand that balancing energy is not an easy task and that wind is a fluctuating source, but Ireland has only a tiny - tiny fraction of it's power from wind compared to some "civilised" countries!!!

In the meantine we are burning out precious peat bogs to generate power, and are discussing atomic power!! Is this madness or what???


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Lack of Joined-up-Thinking in UK Too!!

Lack of Joined-up-Thinking in UK also!!!

Mr. Norman Denning, who lives in the Horsham Council District area in the UK, was flabbergasted when he was told planning permission for a wind turbine at his home was unlikely, despite government encouragement and grants for such sustainable energy sources.

He had already spent £3000 on two turbines when he was told by the Horsham Council that he would not get planning permission for the turbines because the equipment might appear too prominent.

Gee - And I thought Ireland had the the world patent on the "lack of joined-up-thinking"


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Readers of this Blog

The number of page loads for this blog has almost reached 24,000 at time of writing. That's how many times the page has been requested by a web surfer or browser. I have installed a counter, which is located at the very foot of this blog, that keeps the count of every time the blog is accessed. The blog has been up approximately five and a half months. That makes approximately 144 page loads per day on average over the life of the blog.

That figure is averaged over the life of the blog the daily number has been steadily rising. Back at the start of the blog there were much fewer page loads. The present daily page load activity can reach 250 to 300 some days.

When I started writing the blog I never guessed it would attract such a deal of attention. I am very pleased and gratified that such a large number of people find my rantings of interest or amusing. Thank you!


SEI Mission Impossible?

I am being too hard on SEI?

So what exactly is SEI's job? And how are they fulfilling aspects of their work? Below are parts of the mission statement taken from the SEI site, interspersed with some questions. See what you think?

Sustainable Energy Ireland

Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI), formerly the Irish Energy Centre was set up by the government in 2002 as Ireland’s national energy agency. Our mission is to promote and assist the development of sustainable energy.

Our Mission

Our mission is to promote and assist the development of sustainable energy in Ireland.
This includes implementing significant aspects of the Green Paper on Sustainable Energy and the National Climate Change Strategy as provided for in the National Development Plan such as:

• improving energy efficiency

(By allowing untrained installers, and untested systems into the marketplace?)

( By allowing woodpellet boilers without adequate back-burn prevention?)

• advancing the development and competitive deployment of renewable sources of energy and combined heat and power

(By encouraging profiteering through a badly thought out grant system?)

(By not setting up strict price regulation and monitoring of vendors and installers?)

(By not bothering to check the supply situation for wood pellets, and by not even informing the only manufacturer on the Island of the installation figures?)

• reducing the environmental impact of energy production and use, particularly in respect of greenhouse gas emissions.

SEI is also responsible for:
• advising Government on policies and measures on sustainable energy;

(would this include the Green Papers daring plan to have a HUGE 30% (a sarcastic joke in case you don't know) of Ireland's power requirements by sustainable energy sources by the year 2020, at which time there will be only another 5 years of oil left on the planet?)

(Guess they will get the other 70% changed over in the remaining 5years???)

• implementing programmes agreed by Government;
• stimulating sustainable energy policies and actions by public bodies, the business sector, local communities and individual consumers.

( But that would not include stimulating the supply of wood pellets?)


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Can SEI be Sued for Stupidity?

Can SEI be Sued for Stupidity?

The thought struck me; can the people who are left without supplies of wood pellets this winter as a direct result of the lack of planning and foresight by SEI, actually take SEI to court for giving bad advice?

Any lawyer out there with some free advice?


Sunday Times Publish Wood Pellet Story

I am happy to see that the Sunday Times Ireland have just published the story I wrote about on this blog over a week ago. I feel justified in running with the news at the time, and I do not apologise for somewhat overstating the crisis. SEI and the Irish wood pellet situation is nothing short of a huge COCK-UP.

Have a read of the Sunday Times Article here:,,2091-2460177,00.html

Then have a read of my blog dated 10th November.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Another Fan?

A Fan?

(This letter was posted as comment to the Tesco Wind Generator blog, but I thought it worthy of a full posting)

Just found your blog. It is hilarious with a lot of truth.It gives a fair reflexion or the current state IMHO it shows how we are good at jumping on the bandwagon no matter the cause so long as there's a few pound in it for US.

I am at present checking out for an alternative heating system. Have enquired about solar and wood systems. They, to me, are priced out of their economic value! If you checkout another site which makes a price comparison of costs/heat produced it could make you wonder how these units can ever be justified.

I have been in business here in IRELAND for about 40 years and have watched some make money out of the most uneconomic(for their customer) schemes. If I cant find an economic, in my view, system, I will be prepared to source it elsewhere or set up to manufacture here in IRELAND. I am talking here both about heating systems and the fuel to run them.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Bio-diesel adds $24billion to US Economy

Bio-diesel adds $24 Billion to US Economy

A US study suggests that bio-diesel will add $24 Billion to the U.S. Economy. The US National Bio-diesel Board has just published a study showing clearly how bio-diesel production is a major boost to the U.S. economy.

It is driving the economy in several different ways; through job creation, through tax revenues, and through farm income. It is also lessening dependence on imported fuels, helping the enviornment, and keeping money in the country.


Ah well - we'll think about it!!


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wood Pellet Robbery the New Crime

The crime wave this winter might involve wood pellet robbery, especially if the price keeps rising and the supplies get shorter.


US Wood Pellet Situation, and Ireland?

Supplies Better But Prices Well Up

US stores have been stockpiling wood pellets this year to meet expected demand. Wood pellet shortages caused really big problems for suppliers and public alike during last season with long queues and quick sellouts for stores lucky enough to get supplies in the first place.

In the US last year, a bag of wood pellets sold for $2.99 at Earnest's supply stores. The price this year is $5.09 a bag. Bag prices at other stores range from $4.95 a bag to $6.16 a bag.

The cost of wood pellets in the US is now coming close to the cost of natural gas. It is however still cheaper than propane fuel or electric heating but the price gap is closing fast.

This year, at least, there are more suppliers providing pellets in the USA. Suppliers are saying that even though supplies are well up on last season, people would still be wise to stock up while supply is available.

And Ireland?

There are, however, no extra manufacturers/suppliers in Ireland this winter. Extra supplies will have to be imported from an international marketplace where supplies are tight and prices are steadily inflating!!


Monday, November 13, 2006

Minister for Kick Ass

"Paddy Irishman" is right!! Every country should have a Minister for Kick-Ass elected directly by the people like the President. With full powers to publicly kick the ass of Ministers, Parliament Members (TDs), Government Departments, and Dinosaur Government Companies like ESB.


A Letter from a Satisfied Reader!

A letter from a Satisfied Reader!

Good man yourself. Great to see someone who hits the nail on the head and can entertain us as well ! Although I`m up north, your site relates to me too. This is an island wide phenomena. I have lately started to look at some alternatives to my ancient oil burner and have looked at wood pellet as an option.

An initial quote from "greenenergyltd" - an accredited supplier is £5500 with the possibility of 50% off with grants. They were very helpful and I will probably go and see their setup this week but it seems like they have doubled the price and are milking the grant money - leaving punters no better off - no encouragement to go green and act locally.

There is confusion about pellet supplies - Balcas in Enniskillen being the main or only supplier at the moment that I can see - rumours of capped quotas are on the government's action renewables blog site. Word of mouth about delays and long waits. This will put people off. Stuck with a boiler and nothing to feed it with - or a five week wait for an order. I see lots of confusion and no one providing answers at the government sites.

I will probably start looking and asking about biomass more ( especially after checking your site ) - no it hasn`t put me off ( not yet ).

Would ye ever think of running for president or minister for kicking ass.

keep er lit,
Paddy Irishman



Disaster Pending - or A Bit Overstated??

Some of this blogs readers have suggested that perhaps I have overstated the most recent entry; "Pending Disaster in Irish Wood Pellet Heating".

I am happy to say that I fully agree with this view. In fact I have made a special effort to make this blog generally thought provoking. Provoking being the operative term. I hope it does not upset too many people that I aim to provoke debate and engage peoples thought processes on these important matters.

We are sitting on a global environmental disaster just waiting to happen. The Irish Nation is 85% dependant on imported fuel, and the Irish Government are making the silliest and most ineffectual of plans in the Green Paper.

What would you say? Should someone be crying wolf! - or not?


Friday, November 10, 2006

Pending Disaster in Wood Pellet Heating

Pending Disaster
Irish Wood Pellet Heating

It looks like the position of wood pellet supply that I have been predicting, on this blog for some time, is about to happen in Ireland this very winter. It seems very likely that the demand for wood pellets will exceed the supply available, with the consequences of price inflation, and/or of delayed or indeed no supply.

The Cart before the Horse

Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) has been strongly promoting the sales of wood pellet heaters with their generous grants. However, SEI has failed completely to ensure the supply of fuel, along with its other failures. This is a bog basic planning cock-up by SEI and by the Irish Government, and it is one which was obvious from the very beginning.

The whole Sustainable Energy Ireland affair is a bit like spending millions to establish a boat building facility in the middle of the Sahara. But that said - what’s new in Ireland!!

Balcas Ltd., Enniskillen, currently the only sizable manufacturer of wood pellets on this Island, has stopped taking new orders. They say that the lead-time for new customers is approximately 2 months. Existing customers supply will be maintained. Balcas capacity is 50,000 tons p.a. Their current problem is one of logistics and whereas they are making every effort to address the issue, it will be 2 months, or perhaps more, before the situation eases.

I spoke to Balcas who have clearly said that they would have been able to adapt to the increased demand if they had been informed of the level of increase in the market place. But nobody at SEI or the Department of Energy had the wits or courtesy to consult the only supplier with significant capacity!!!

Another Irish case of a terminal lack of “joined up thinking”.

The Hope that was on the Horizon

I mentioned several months ago that there was a new large capacity pellet manufacturing facility being built in Ireland.

The July blog said:

“Good News about Wood Pellets

No sooner had I the last Blog published, than I received an e-mail from Briain Smyth of Irish Pellets Co. Meath which lead to an interesting conversation about a new 100% Ecological Wood Pellet Production Facility.

Briain tells me that his new factory is expected to be in production in December. I was very happy to hear that it will be using 100% Irish sourced wood to produce top quality 6mm pellets with a guaranteed 8% moisture.

The initial capacity of the factory will be 30,000 tonnes per year but this will be increased in time. By my calculations that would be enough to supply about 6,000 to 8,000 average domestic users per year on initial production capacity. Now that is good news!

Prices have not yet been focussed but Briain assures me that they will be very competitive. Irish Pellets has a web site but there is not a great deal of information up on it just yet.”

However, the position, I now gather from talking with Briain Smyth, is that the plant will not be up and running ‘till the new year.

Worse to Follow

And there is much worse to follow: Briain has also told me that the hoped for government aid for the project has not been forthcoming, and that if the grants and aid are not assured in the next couple of weeks, he will be forced to make sales contracts abroad for the entire output of the factory in order to stay afloat.

Simply stated, this means that without the Irish Pellets Ltd. capacity being added to the Irish market over the next couple of years, we will be highly dependent on imported pellets. There are already major world shortages of wood pellets.

So What is the Current Situation?

As I personally see it just now, grant or no grant, it is not a good time to install wood pellet heating systems. It could end up this winter that oil is cheaper than wood pellets and more available.

What a colossal cock-up by SEI and the Government!!!


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

New Type of Bio-Fuel Announced

U.S. Sustainable Energy Corp. has announced a unique new patent-pending biofuel.

The Publicity Blurb Says:

"Where the most efficient processes today create 1.5 US gallons of an inferior biodiesel in over 24 hours, our proprietary technology allows us to create 5 US gallons of a superior fuel in under 9 minutes.

We will be expanding production to our new 4 reactor system generating 24,000 gallons per day in our Natchez facility within 10 weeks time. That system will be the first step in eradicating the nation's dependence on foreign fossil fuels."

The heating value, which is the amount of heat produced when the fuel is burned completely, is higher for the USSEC liquid biofuel than traditional biodiesel. Using ASTM D-240-76 testing standards, Summit reports the heating value of the USSEC biofuel is 128,000 BTU/gal.

Traditional biodiesel, which typically has a value around 117,000 BTU/gal and compares favorably to petroleum diesel which typically has a heating value of 130,000 BTU/gal. For comparison, the heating value of typical regular unleaded gasoline is 114,200 BTU/gal, premium gasoline is 116,200 BTU/gal and jet fuel is 122,200 BTU/gal.

In addition the USSEC biofuel exhibits remarkable cold temperature physical properties. Using ASTM D-445 testing standards, Summit reports the pour point of the USSEC biofuels, which is an indication of the lowest temperature at which the fuel can be pumped, is typically less than or equal to -90°F. In fact, the USSEC biofuel did not freeze even at -90°F, the limit of the pour point detector.

For comparison, the pour point for petroleum based diesel is around -16°F; the typical pour point for soy bean based bio diesel is 30°F. This allows the company's biofuel to be used in extremely cold temperature conditions. "

English Translation:

A very fast to manufacture bio-diesel which has a high power output and the huge advantage that it does not turn to jelly in cold conditions!!

Well done guys!! - But why can't you drop the "spin-speak" and just say it in English!


Answers from Kedco and Some Invited Questions

Some Answers from Kedco, and Some Questions which they have Invited

First the answers:

Kedco said:

"I agree it was a politicians answer!! Sorry I didn't spot that is was a 16kw that you were comparing.The price of the 16kw was €4,941 including VAT ,delivery and commissioning.
Anymore questions drop me a line.

Then the Invited Questions I am Asking:

"Hi . . . ,

Would you like to comment on:

1. How secure is Kedco's pellet supply?,
2. What prices are offered on wood pellets, bulk, bagged, baled?,
3. Can Kedco guarantee a price on pellets for any length of time i.e . the next 12 to 18 months perhaps?,
4. How long is the guarantee on the burner unit as distinct from the boiler?,
5. Will Kedco supply parts replaced by other than their own technicians under warranty?
6. What is the cost of Kedco service technicians time per hour, and what mileage cost, and minimum charge?
7. Does Kedco have a stock of spares?
8. Does Kedco have a price-list of spares?
9. If so what is the price of a 16Kw stainless steel burner box/tray/hearth, or an igniter unit?

If Kedco can offer transpearent answers and pricing packages on the above, it would, IMHO, be offering something as yet unique in Ireland, and I would be prepared to say so on the blog.


I would add another couple of questions on reflection:

a. How many fully trained technicians does Kedco have on full time employment?
b. What type of warranty repair is not covered by the guarantee?
c. Under warranty, are there ANY charges for a call-out?
d. Before sale and delivery of a wood pellet boiler, does Kedco survey the location, if so is there a charge?


Monday, November 06, 2006

Kedco Reply

A Reply from Kedco!

Hello Woodpellet -

Firstly we would like to extend our sincere apologises for the lateness
in responding to your query regarding Kedco Energy wood pellet heating

I can assure you that the lack of response has nothing to do
with any of the reasons listed below, customer service is of utmost
importance to our company and each customer is a valued one, howover we
have just finished a three week TV campaign which I am delighted to say
has being a huge success and we are endeavoring to revert to all our
customers at the soonest time possible which in some cases isn't as soon
as we would favour.

However as we speak we are delighted to say that we
now have a Kedco Energy representative in most counties as a result of
our nationwide franchise network. Regarding the prices of the boilers-
they vary depending on the boiler size and type and what storage options
you are looking for etc.. We are happy to answer any questions you or
anyone has to ask or you can come visit us and report back on this blog
of what you saw.


(Maybe I am being unfair to Kedco BUT the wording sounds a bit like a politician when they try to avoid questions. I asked some specific questions yet in the reply Kedco have managed not to make one direct reference. I shall try another phone call and see how I get on!)


Sunday, November 05, 2006

A Note from Mayo

Hi! from Mayo,
Enjoyed your blog on renewable energy. Having been to a an "Ideal" homes exhibition in Galway yesterday I think you have a legitimate point in relation to overcharging. Prices quoted for solar hot water systems were from Eu 6,500 + and the Viadrus Eco pellet boiler was Eu 6,500.There were also pellet boilers from ETA "very pretty"which were Eu 10,500 + Vat.?? Heat pumps which were being driven by little 3.8 Kw scroll compressors were off the scale Eu 18,000. !!! being one figure being quoted. Hope you keep up your examination of this rip off.

Best Wishes,
Des . . . . .


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Well Done Tesco UK!!

Tesco UK to Install Wind Generators

Tesco UK are to install wind turbines in some of their stores in the UK - ranging in size from 850 Kwts to 3 Mega Watts. Initially 31 stores will be served in this way.

Please Please Tesco Ireland do consider the same strategy here in Ireland.

If all major business in Ireland were to invest in Renewable Energy in this way, it would put the old dinosaur ESB in it's place. If the ESB are too stupid to make the move maybe industry could help make a swing? Something has to shift in Ireland. The status quo is so firmly rooted here it that would take a major disaster to change things.