Archive for Energy Policy

Energy Revolution – BBC World Service

This morning we have been listening to this interesting programme from the BBC World Service Business Daily – focussing on changes within the world energy market.

You can listen here or scan the QR code below.

BBC Business Daily QR Code

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Is the UK puffed out with renewable energy?

The guardian has started a three part piece on the future of renewable energy, or more accurately wind farms in the UK. This appears to have stemmed from the growing concerns regarding the cost and sight of the turbines up and down the country.

A recent report from the ENSG (Electricity Networks Strategy Group), who are seen as being the most current view from inside government, Ofgem and other key industry investors have estimated that 28.3GW of wind power (offshore and onshore combined) could have been built by 2020. This has now fallen by 4GW in only two years, and another 1GW is already scheduled to be removed from the current forecast.

This paints a worrying picture for what was a booming industry one of the largest issues aside from complaints about the aesthetics is that the cost to link the new energy sources up to the current energy distribution network has almost doubled in price up from £4.7bn to £8.8bn.

The cost is mainly to create two new underwater pipelines connecting renewable energy from the Scottish Islands to England and North Wales.

Personally I think it will be interesting to see how the previously well catered for pro-renewable groups react to these latest cuts. Part of the problem for most Britons is that they need their gas and electricity to be cheap but at the moment the renewable subsidies only seem to be adding to the bills. Whilst it is for the right reasons a lot of people in Britain can’t afford to support it just now and when nuclear is knocking on the door as a cheap and reliable alternative it only makes things harder.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any thoughts or insight?

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Big Energy Week: Which issues smart meter concerns

Consumer group Which? has used Big Energy Week to issue a warning to the Government to halt the installation of Smart Meters across the UK or risk becoming embroiled in an £11bn fiasco.

Big Energy Week sparks debate

The main thrust of their concern is that the efficiency savings which the meters are supposed to engender will not pass sufficient value onto consumers, and enable them to save money on their energy bills.

British Gas has urged the government to continue with the programme, insisting that its customers are happy with the smart meters and are saving cash on their bills.

For more detail on this story see the following websites:

Do you have a smart meter installed?

Is it helping you to save on your energy bills?

Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Also worth noting is that, as part of Big Energy Week (a collaboration between the Citizens Advice Bureau, energy companies and other bodies), Which is holding a live Q&A session with energy secretary Chris Huhne at 2.30pm tomorrow (Wednesday 18th January) – go to this webpage to get involved.

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>> Everything’s Going Green – slowly but surely >>

In terms of renewables, it looks like the UK is surely moving in the right direction. While government policy on renewables hasn’t (so far, at least) been exactly what you’d call ‘radical’, there have been some encouraging signs that the main parties are united in their commitment to getting the country where it needs to be, or to the starting line, at least. The UK electorate (as if anyone needs reminding) even returned a Green member of parliament for one of its constituencies way back last month (how long ago the general election seems now…!)

And while much good work has been done, there are always reminders around us that there is still the majority of the progress yet to be made. So it was with mixed emotions that I read the latest findings by Cambridge Econometrics, who have forecast that renewables will account for seven percent of elecricity sales to final users by the end of 2010.  While this is a move in the right direction, it actually falls pretty far short of the ten percent target. Assuming that certain economic conditions are as expected, the figure is predicted to rise to 11 percent by 2015 – but since the 2015 target is fifteen percent, we will still be wide of the target.

There is always a good news/ bad news element to this type of forecast, and this one’s no exception. The good news? Carbon emissions are predicted to continue fallling. The bad news? They’re going to fall only by a fraction of a single percent, and even only then because of changes to coal-fired power station equipment. The obverse of the good news v. bad news scenario is the bad news v. good news one – and so it has been predicted that the knock-on effects from the economic downturn of 2008 will provide a significant drop in CO2 emissions, rendering the figure lower than initial projections. And the UK will as a result be likely to meet its Kyoto target without much difficulty.

UK Green Energy policy - going in the right direction.

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‘Sustainable Energy – without the hot air’, fantastic free book

Sustainable Energy - without the hot air

This is amongst the best books ive read on the energy sector in a long time – ‘Sustainable Energy – without the hot air‘ by David Mackay (a Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge). I really can’t do the work justice in a short blog post and i don’t really need to as you can download the entire book in PDF format for yourselves. There is a 10 page synopsis available for anyone who doesn’t fancy downloading 27mb. I would recommend that anyone with an interest in sustainable energy get hold of this text somehow – you can also buy a copy from Amazon for £19.99.

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Copenhagen 2009 – Conference Coverage On The Web

Copenhagen 2009 - 7th - 18th December

The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen is just under three weeks away (Dec 7th to Dec 18th) and the last few days have seen some high stakes political games going on behind the scenes. UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband has described the negiotiations as:

………..the most complex set of international negotiations ever, on any issue

With a conference dealing with such complex issues it can be difficult to track what exactly is going onopinion on what will actually be achieved at the conference seems to be shifting constantly. There are screeds of  Copenhagen coverage around the web – these are what we will be checking in the run up to and during the conference itself.

Official Pages

News Coverage

Newspapers

The Blogosphere

Hopefully there will be a channel that will provide you with the latest news from Copenhagen to meet your requirements. We are aiming to post on all the major developments as they happen.

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