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SUMMARY

UTES: Using UTES technologies to store energy underground in the form of coolth in unused tunnels, caverns, aquifers, gravel beds.

UTES plus Community Heating : In addition storing the coolth the summertime warmth is to be similarly stored and used to heat living spaces of city dwellers, cooling and heating offices and industrial premises.

  Advantages Disadvantages Risk Comments
UTES Energy cost savings of 60% to 80% over existing technologies Up front investment required Medium Medium term feasibility.
UTES & CHP Efficient - Low carbon consumption  Large educational effort - needs cooperative political atmosphere High Societal cohesion problem in Britain??

Are we likely to see a UTES based Underground Cooling and Public Heating system in the UK?
One of the causes for pessimism that leads us to believe that a UTES system will not be considered seriously in the near future is that CHP or Combined Heat and Power systems have poorly received in the UK, this is despite the fact that CHP can achieve a conversion efficiency of around 80%.

Unfortunately Britain is poorly equipped to use such systems and as a result most of the energy used to generate electricity is lost to the atmosphere in the form of heat. In the UK attempts have been made to produce such systems but the necessary approvals and commitments from government have not been given, a CHP system in London has been generating electricity for ten years but not a single calorie of hot water for winter heating has reached the consumers. London's Battersea Power Station used to provide hot water and winter heating for a council estate in nearby Pimlico.

It needs champions who can promote ideas like UTES and CHP. Perhaps a celebrity like Bono can get behind it. The technologies are obviously not as glamorous or important as preventing children dying in sub Saharan Africa but surely preventing conflicts over energy is important too. Not to mention the vast amounts of carbon dioxide kept out of the atmosphere and the consequent need for even more energy-hungry air conditioning systems. 

Smart and subtle methods of energy conservation such as UTES and CHP are not the kind of ideas that are likely to get the attention of current Prime Ministers and Presidents, but (hopefully) have an important part to play in the future energy policies of advanced countries. -- DE 2007.

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