Energy Policy

NFLA and Stop Hinkley submit comments to UK Clean Growth Plan – renewables, decentralised energy and energy efficiency should be prioritised and new nuclear ditched as unnecessary and overly expensive.

NFLA 14th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 December 2017

Energy Policy – Scotland

IT is nice to finally draw breath at the end of 2017, which will forever be known in Panda Towers (also known as the WWF Scotland office) as Consultageddon. This year we asked for and had hundreds of pages of Scottish Government consultations on everything from huge strategic visions of the country’s energy and climate change future to technical regulation on heat networks. The two centrepieces of this mammoth burst of activity were the draft Energy Strategy and the draft Climate Change plan, both supposed to give strategic direction to the profound changes that will shape our energy landscape over the next decade and beyond. Next week, we should know the outcome of our collective efforts with the publication of the final Energy Strategy. Has the Government listened to what the energy industry, academics and campaigners said? Does it assert enough leadership to make the low-carbon transition real or does it still cling on to some of the last vestiges of old, polluting ways? The draft strategy offered lots of promise and was more integrated and ambitious than previous energy road maps. In particular, the flagship commitment to deliver 50 per cent renewable energy across the entire economy in heat, transport and electricity by 2030 was significant. This welcome target provides clear direction to industry and, as WWF evidence shows, it is both necessary to deliver our climate targets and achievable with existing technology. In uncertain times for investment, it is a statement of intent that Scotland is open for low-carbon business. It builds on the aim to deliver 100 per cent of our electricity needs from renewables by 2020. It will surely remain in the final document. Some weaknesses need to be addressed in the final strategy. There were outdated intentions to maximise oil and gas extraction and possibly replace old thermal power stations, which go against the grain of the energy transition and the need to tackle climate change. This week, the World Bank announced it would stop funding oil and gas extraction projects from 2019 for climate reasons. Despite the right intentions to consider supply and demand for energy, demand was the ugly sister in the strategy with weak ambition and little substantive action.

Herald 15th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 December 2017

Energy Costs

It shows how much money many families could save by switching to the cheapest energy tariff on the market. Or, to be more precise, it compares the cheapest tariff on the market with the average “standard” tariff over the past seven years. The current £330 gap between the two tariffs is the second largest gap over the period. (The tariffs are for gas and electricity in a typical UK household).

FT 14th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 14 December 2017

Brexit

Britain should retain as a close as possible a relationship with the European civil nuclear regulator after Brexit, a Commons committee has demanded ahead of a crucial vote on the issue. MPs on the committee warn that the impacts of leaving Euratom will be “profound”, putting the UK in a much weaker position to drive regulatory standards at a European level. “We conclude that the Government should seek to retain as close as possible a relationship with Euratom, and that this should include accepting its delivery of existing safeguards requirements in the UK,” the report from the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee states. The committee’s report comes as more than 100 MPs signed an amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, dealing with the Government’s intention to leave Euratom after Brexit. They want the Prime Minister to guarantee protections for the nuclear industry.

Independent 13th Dec 2017 read more »

David Davis has stated that although there is no ‘systematic impact assessment’ of Britain leaving the European Union, the UK government has produced a ‘sectoral analysis’ of several industries. Joshua McMullan writes that one sector where it would be wise to examine the impact of leaving without any negotiated arrangement would be the nuclear power industry as the UK leaves Euratom. He highlights some potential foundations for a future agreement between the two.

LSE 13th Dec 2017 read more »

A cross-party committee of MPs is warning the government that ‘no deal’ for our nuclear sector could have extremely damaging consequences.

Left Foot Forward 13th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 14 December 2017

Brexit

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee calls on the Government to retain as close as possible an association with Euratom, the European Atomic Energy Community, including its delivery of existing nuclear safeguards requirements in the UK, to minimise the risk of disruption to nuclear research and the transport and trade of nuclear materials. The report welcomes the Government’s objective of maintaining regulatory standards at current levels, and the introduction of the Nuclear Safeguards Bill to allow the replacement of existing arrangements. But, the Committee finds that it is highly doubtful that the UK could deliver safeguards to Euratom standards by the point of our departure in March 2019. The Committee calls for an extended transitional period for civil nuclear, or the continuation of Euratom support, to ensure standards are maintained and the risks to trade and transport of materials are reduced.

Parliament 13th Dec 2017 read more »

Business Green 13th Dec 2017 read more »

More than 100 MPs have signed a Parliamentary amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill dealing with the Government’s intention to leave the European Atomic Energy Community (Eurotom). Rachel Reeves, who chairs the Business Select Committee, and a number of Conservative MPs signed the amendment, which calls on the Government to bring any new strategy for the nuclear industry to Parliament. The committee said in a new report that a “no-deal” Brexit would be a “highly risky” option for the civil nuclear industry, in the absence of transitional arrangements.

Energy Voice 13th Dec 2017 read more »

Energy Live News 13th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 13 December 2017

Energy Policy

The UK Government has been urged to devolve national carbon budgets down to regional levels in order to create socioeconomic benefits that can be captured by promoting low-carbon job growth across specific areas of the UK, a new report has suggested. The Net-Zero North report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) focuses on how the North of England can decarbonise key sectors and industries. The North’s economy is more carbon intensive, 0.51 ktCO2 per gross value added compared to a national average of 0.44ktCO2, and the report believes that devolving carbon budgets would enable regions to transition to a low-carbon economy while reaping economic and job-related benefits.

Edie 11th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 12 December 2017

Green Investment Bank

Ministers missed out on tens of millions extra on the sale of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) in August, according to the spending watchdog. The National Audit Office said the £1.6bn paid in cash by the Australian bank Macquarie came in at the low end of the government’s valuation. Macquarie agreed to spend a further £500m to cover the bank’s existing commitments. Moreover, the government could have increased the value of the sale by £63m if it had waited until some of the windfarms owned by the bank had finished construction. One option under consideration was a phased sale, where the government retained ownership of the bank until 2018 when most of its investments were operational and then privatised it through an initial public offering. Government faces fresh criticism over Green Investment Bank sell-off.

Guardian 12th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 12 December 2017

Energy Policy

Dave Elliott: It is often said that, whereas it should be possible to meet electricity needs from renewables, heating was harder and transport harder still. While wind and solar and other renewables can generate electricity, replacing the use of fossil plants, heating and vehicle transport use of fossil fuels are harder to replace. Except possibly by the use of renewable electricity. Although some disagree, there should be enough renewable electricity output to meet all energy needs in time. However, even enthusiasts accept that there may not be enough to go around initially. So there may be sectorial conflicts at some stages. The debate over the right mix continues, with, inevitably, some seeing all this as justification for more nuclear- though that assumes the power could be delivered by the grid to users or stored for when the grid could handle it. However, if EVs are only going to add 10% more power demand by 2050, as some suggest, and EV charging can be delayed to later in the night, then the conflict issues may not be as big as we might fear, with renewables able to cope.

Environmental Research Web 9th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 11 December 2017

Energy Costs

Wind power costs are plunging and it might not take too long before they get down to £40 per MWh, well below recent UK wholesale power prices which have been at £45 per MWh in recent times. Offshore wind power costs have seen the sharpest decline, although falling prices for onshore wind should also be evident in the UK if only the UK Government were offering long term power purchase agreements (PPAs) for them as well as offshore windfarms. Anti-renewable commentators are still quoting costs for onshore wind power (£70-£80 per MWh) that are grossly out of date, relying on nothing more than than the fact that the Government have not offered any PPAs for them recently. Recent offshore wind farm auctions in the UK, Germany, Denmark and The Netherlands have seen prices plunge to below £60 per MWh and predictions are being made that prices will carry on falling. But why is this happening? This is a question that befuddles some anti-renewable energy think tanks and spokesperson who seem to think that some of the world’s leading corporations are spoofing us all. But there’s no spoof – it’s happening. But how can this be, given that until recently offshore windfarms have sometimes been costing £100 per MWh or more? There are six reasons for this that I can see: advances in computer modelling; digital control; smaller number of turbines for same output; fabrication and construction techniques for building the windfarms have been dramatically improved; considerable reduction in ‘supply chain’ costs have been achieved and some big multinational corporations are now seeing renewable energy as the central, rather than peripheral.

Dave Toke’s Blog 10th Dec 2017 read more »

Government officials have admitted the plan to put a cap on standard energy prices could scupper growing competition in the energy market, unless the regulator keeps bills high enough to make it worthwhile for consumers to switch. Ministers have argued that the first intervention in energy pricing since privatisation is necessary after Ofgem’s previous attempts to break up the “two-tier energy market” failed and its recent efforts will take too long to come into effect. Nonetheless ministers will hand over responsibility for the success of the cap to the regulator despite its “repeated, but ultimately unsuccessful, interventions”. The Government itself admits that this risks increasing costs while simultaneously putting the brakes on competition and investment. Fresh switching data shows that over five million customers have changed supplier this year, topping last year’s rate. In November alone 475,000 households switched to a better deal, 14pc more than in November 2016.

Telegraph 11th Dec 2017 read more »

The government has made no estimate of how much its proposed energy price cap could save households, despite Theresa May’s claim that it would cut bills by up to £100 a year. The prime minister has vowed to bring an “end to rip-off energy prices once and for all”. The plan to set a maximum price for gas and electricity would apply to about 11 million households that are on expensive standard tariffs and are not already protected by existing price caps. Ministers say that the cap is necessary after the competition watchdog found that most Britons were paying too much, amid inefficiency and excessive profits at leading suppliers. An official impact assessment being published today reveals that the government has not analysed how much the policy is likely to save households, or how much it will cost suppliers, amid warnings that some businesses could go bust. The absence of any cost-benefit analysis appears to run contrary to the government’s own guidance for new policies.

Times 11th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 11 December 2017

Brexit

David Davis admitted last Tuesday that although there is no ‘systematic impact assessment’ of Britain leaving the European Union he did claim that the government had produced a ‘sectoral analysis’ of several industries. One sector that it would be wise to examine the impacts of leaving without any negotiated arrangement would be the nuclear power industry as the UK leaves Euratom. Through examining the UK’s relationship with Euratom before it joined in 1973, Joshua McMullan highlights some potential foundations for a future agreement between the two.

LSE 11th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 11 December 2017