The UK could adopt solar, electric vehicles and batteries much faster than expected just a year ago, according to the National Grid. The new outlook is part of a rapidly changing landscape for the UK energy system, laid out in the 2016 Future Energy Scenarios. Marcus Stewart, National Grid’s head of energy insights, says in a foreword to the report: “We are in the midst of an energy revolution.” Carbon Brief runs through the key changes in the outlook compared to last year. The idea that the UK energy world is in the midst of a period of rapid and fundamental change has been gaining traction since the start of the year. The usually conservative National Grid is the latest of several industry and government groups to use the language of “revolution”. In February, a report for industry group Energy UK talked of a coming “revolution”, similar to those that have overtaken telecomms and banking. Then, in March, theNational Infrastructure Commission said embracing a “smart power revolution” could save the UK £8bn a year by 2030. The National Grid report and press release includes Stewart’s quote on energy revolution, as well as saying that “electricity supply is going through a period of unparalleled transformation”. However, the report fails to spell out exactly how much the National Grid’s scenarios have shifted since last year. They now see up to 39 gigawatts (GW) of solar installed by 2035, up from around 12GW today and up 7GW from last year’s maximum expectation for 2035 of 32GW. Two years ago, National Grid expected as little as 8GW and no more than 17GW of solar in 2030. Now, its minimum is 15GW. National Grid’s outlook has shifted in other important ways in this year’s scenarios. Notably, its range for gas demand in 2030 has been cut by up to 12%. By 2040, the need for gas is seen falling by between 8 and 33%, compared to today’s levels. All this suggests the National Grid sees the UK’s increasing dependence on imported gas, as highlighted by Reuters and Bloomberg, as being less severe than expected last year. This year’s scenarios also trim expectations for electricity demand, seen being some 3-4% lower in 2030 than thought last year. Demand in 2030 is now expected to be no more than 4% higher and up to 5% lower than today’s levels, easing the UK’s pressing need for new generating capacity.
Carbon Brief 5th July 2016 read more »
Renew Economy 7th July 2016 read more »
Government plans to electrify domestic heating and encourage a switch away from gas-fired boilers and radiators are “mad”, the boss of Britain’s biggest energy supplier has claimed. Iain Conn, chief executive of Centrica, the owner of British Gas, has attacked plans to encourage families to strip out their domestic gas-fired home central heating systems and replace them with electricity-powered alternatives. The scheme is part of efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 80 per cent by 2050. “This whole idea of electrifying everything is mad,” Mr Conn told the Utility Week Energy Summit conference in London yesterday. “We shouldn’t allow government to chase after the electrification of heat too quickly. They [will] get it wrong.” Nearly 70 per cent of all of the UK’s space heating comes from natural gas, contributing about a third of the nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The majority of domestic heating is provided by gas-fired boilers, with only 7 per cent of homes using electric heating. Mr Conn said that there were better alternatives available and suggested that more money should be channelled into research to find new ways of tackling the problem. He also said that the energy market was becoming increasingly muddled, with 48 different suppliers in operation. “I can’t keep up most weeks,” he said.
Times 6th July 2016 read more »
Andrea Leadsom, minister of state at the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), has reiterated the important role of nuclear power in the country’s current and future electricity mix. In a speech at the Utility Week Energy Summit about the Future of Energy in the UK yesterday, Leadsom said “energy security is non-negotiable, and is our top priority”.
World Nuclear News 6th June 2016 read more »
New research by a London-based consultancy shows that British Independence from the EU-block is likely to put the UK’s 2020 and 2030 renewables targets under threat, and with it further uncertainty on the future sustainability of the industry. The offshore wind industry is currently estimated to contribute more than £1 billion to the UK economy – a figure hitherto predicted to grow significantly by 2020. Whilst the full impact of Brexit is difficult to predict, it is well understood that energy and the environment are key pillars of EU legislation, and have, over time, intricately bolstered every facet of UK energy law and policy. In their study, authors Dr. Lee Clarke and Dr. Steve Freeman, both Directors of the Renewables Consulting Group warn: “Brexit will have far reaching implications for the UK renewables sector in terms of investment and legislation.
Scottish Energy News 7th July 2016 read more »
What will Brexit mean for European climate and energy policy? How will it affect the dynamics of greater climate protection that we are taking pains to maintain in the wake of Paris? The EU is currently negotiating a major climate and energy framework for 2030. The Commission had already presented proposals for a reform of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) last summer. The sectors involved in the EU ETS are responsible for around half of Europe’s carbon emissions. Mandatory targets for emissions not covered by the EU ETS are to be presented on July 20, 2016. The EU’s Effort Sharing Decision provides for individual mitigation targets for each Member State. A Commission proposal to ratify the Paris climate agreement is also expected for this summer. In autumn, energy issues will be on the agenda, with legislative proposals on energy efficiency and renewable energy. All of these efforts remain overshadowed by the question of whether the EU will raise its hopelessly outdated and unambitious climate targets for 2030 and 2050 following the Paris agreement, and if so, when. Brexit is not simplifying any of these debates. The previous rapporteur on emissions trading in the European Parliament, Scottish Conservative Ian Duncan, has resigned.
Energy Transition 6th July 2016 read more »
Sinister right wing forces are set on crushing UK environmental laws, the country’s top climate change advisor told a meeting of business leaders in London on Wednesday. Lord Deben said the Brexit vote on 23 June had empowered what he termed an “unpleasant group of politicians” who saw it as a “first step” to cutting green regulations. “We will be faced by a concerted very well-funded series of attempts to reduce protection of environment and workers’ rights and we are going to have to have to fight it,” he said an event hosted by the Aldersgate Group. UK secretary of state for the environment from 1993 to 1997, Deben compared some of those advocating for a split with Europe to supporters of fascism in the 1930s.
Climate Home 6th July 2016 read more »
DOUNREAY’s police force is being accused of treating local people like terrorists. A Reay resident has spoken out after it emerged officers from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) apparently stopped a person jogging round the local golf course. Another person was taking children to school when officers reportedly stopped the vehicle. The resident, who wants to remain anonymous, said: “This is a fairly harmless community but we are being treated like terrorists. The police are being heavy-handed in the way they deal with locals.
John O Groat Journal 5th July 2016 read more »
Police officers who protect the Sellafield nuclear site have been learning new tactics from the City of London Police. The site is already guarded 24-hours-a-day by armed police, but the Civic Nuclear Constabulary says there will now be more, higher profile, armed patrols of the area around the site. A dedicated telephone number has also been set up for residents to report any suspicious activity.
BBC 6th July 2016 read more »
Energy power from nuclear is not new, nor is it being phased out in the UK, at least for the foreseeable future. As such, ensuring regulation and high standards is vital. The UK’s Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR) does just that, holding the nuclear industry to account on behalf of the public. With new Chief Executive Adriènne Kelbie at the helm, the office seeks to strengthen the regulatory environment in order to bring the UK’s nuclear regulatory effectiveness to a world class level. In the July 2016 edition of Regulation Matters, ONR has emphasised its plans to adapt and leverage upon the present as well as future synergies in order to ensure the regulations match the changing landscape of nuclear in the UK.
Acenet 6th July 2016 read more »
The developer of a new 1.9GW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant in Greater Manchester has been given a reprieve after it missed a key capacity market deadline. Carlton Power received a notice terminating a £480 million capacity market contract for the project after it failed to meet the ‘final commitment milestone’. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has now agreed to push back the deadline by around three months. Trafford power station was one of only two new CCGT plants to be awarded the subsidy in the first two rounds of the main four-year-ahead (‘T-4’) auction. It was the only one to win a full 15-year contract. With a contracted capacity of around 1.6GW, the plant will receive more than £32 million in subsidies each year to help secure the UK’s electricity supplies if it goes ahead.
Utility Week 6th July 2016 read more »
There are plans to build a spent nuclear fuel storage provision in Ukraine – the same country which witnessed the world’s worst nuke disaster when its Chernobyl plant went into meltdown in 1986. The disaster caused such devastation for decades after that environmentalists are warning that another break down in violations could place the whole Continent at risk. The Ukrainian Greens Association, a non-profit environmentalist organisation, released a statement saying: “We are deeply concerned about plans to build a spent nuclear fuel storage in the upper reaches of the Dnepr River close to densely populated places.”
Daily Star 6th July 2016 read more »
Brazil’s federal police on Wednesday said it served nine arrest warrants in two states as part of a corruption investigation into a nuclear power plant in Rio de Janeiro. Police did not disclose the names of the suspects. The probe into Eletronuclear, the nuclear power subsidiary of state-run electric utility Eletrobras, is an outgrowth of a corruption investigation over kickbacks and price-fixing at state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, police said. In a statement, police said engineering companies colluded to overcharge Eletronuclear for the construction of the Angra 3 plant near Rio de Janeiro. Angra 3 is being built by many of the same firms whose executives are on trial or in jail on charges of forming a cartel that overcharged Petrobras for work and used the excess funds to bribe executives and politicians.
Reuters 6th July 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
Business tax rates for rooftop solar installations could rise by up to eight times next year. The solar industry is calling on ministers to intervene on the hike, which will “all but eliminate the incentive for businesses to invest in solar”, the Solar Trade Association (STA) claimed. Public authorities, schools and community buildings that have solar on their roofs are also at risk if the expected rise comes into force on 1 April 2017. The change is due to a wider evaluation of commercial rates that takes place every five to seven years.
Utility Week 6th July 2016 read more »
A renewable energy company is hoping to save The Royal Mint …a mint, in fact – on its energy costs after installing nearly 50 solar PV panels on the roof. Subcontracted to local Welsh firm CMB Electrical Contractors, Dulas delivered the 15kWp rooftop solar project in a week, installing all 46 panels on the flat roof of the visitor centre at the coin-factory in Glamorgan, Wales.
Scottish Energy News 7th July 2016 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
DONG Energy has been awarded the concession to build the 350 MW Borssele 1 and 2 Offshore Wind Farms off the coast of the Netherlands at a price of €72.70/MWh ($A108/MWh) – the cheapest in the world. The cost breakthrough was announced by Dong Energy on Monday, when it said that the Netherlands’ Minister of Economic Affairs had awarded the company the concession to build the Borssele 1 and 2 Offshore Wind Farms, which will each have a capacity of 350 MW. The wind farms will be located 22 kilometers off the west coast of the Netherlands, in a water depth of 14 to 38 meters, using monopile foundations.
Renew Economy 7th July 2016 read more »
Business Green 6th July 2016 read more »
Denmark’s Dong Energy has won a bid to build two offshore wind farms off the Dutch coast that industry experts claim will be the cheapest schemes of their kind. The projects will be built for €72.70 a megawatt hour, well below the €103 MWh record set last year by Sweden’s Vattenfall for a scheme off the coast of Denmark.
FT 5th July 2016 read more »
Reading Community Energy are pleased to launch Reading’s first renewable energy community share offer. We plan to put solar panels on community buildings in Reading to generate funds for the local community. This will be achieved with a community share offer, giving priority to residents and workings in Reading. This exciting new project is being delivered with the help of Energy4All, which has 100% success rate in it’s work to help communities deliver renewable energy projects over the past 12 years. You can find out more about this award winning social enterprise at www.energy4all.co.uk. The Share Offer is set to close on the 15th July 2016.
Reading Community Energy (accessed) 7th July 2016 read more »
The global temperature has risen by 1C in the past century. Fourteen of the hottest years on record occurred in the past 15 years. And 2015 was the hottest since records began in 1880. Individual countries will feel the effects of the change in individual ways. Saudi Arabia will have to contend with stronger and more frequent heatwaves. Bangla desh risks being wiped off the map by rising sea levels. The sea that surrounds Britain is expected to rise by up to 50cm in the next century, a change that poses obvious risks for an island. But perhaps the biggest worry is that it will get a lot wetter. This seems counterintuitive. Why, as the world grows warmer, would Britain grow wetter? As ice caps melt, the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere increases, and so too does the risk of “intense precipitation events”, the scientific jargon for heavy rain. The latest government figures state that the likelihood of floods in the UK has almost doubled in the last century. We do not need to take their word for it. In 2007, flooding in Britain affected 55,000 homes and killed 13 people. In December 2015, floods caused by the amiably named storms Desmond and Eva caused £175m worth of damage to homes and businesses in Cumbria. The public bill for fixing the infrastructural wreckage – the broken bridges and ruptured roads – is currently estimated at £250m. Dredging rivers, deforestation and unchecked housing development in floodplains may have exacerbated the human cost of Britain’s floods, but climate change is responsible for the rise in extreme flooding events. Worse is to come. Lord Krebs is the chairman of the Climate Change Committee (CCC), a group commissioned by the government to evaluate the environmental risks we now face. Krebs is so assured of the UK’s unpreparedness for disaster, that, in an interview on Radio 4 in December, he issued an urgent warning. “The biggest single risk from climate change for this country is the increased likelihood of flooding,” he said. “The government needs to rethink its whole strategy of managing flood risk. Our money should be going into flood protections and doing everything to protect the vulnerable land beneath sea level. There is so much of it.”
Guardian 7th July 2016 read more »
In Bethesda a community a community is piloting a new way of using renewables and the data from smart meters to reduce household spend and increase understanding of energy use.
Smart Energy 30th June 2016 read more »
AECOM’s Robert Spencer argues those businesses looking to source 100 per cent renewables can now play a pivotal role in the emergence of crucial energy storage and demand management systems. Since its launch nearly two years ago, RE100 has encouraged some of the world’s most influential companies to commit to buying 100 per cent of their electricity from renewable sources by a specific year. With 68 major companies from across the world currently signed up, the campaign is helping boost contributions from the private sector to renewable energy investment – a key ambition of the Paris Agreement. even if a company buys every unit it consumes from 100 per cent renewable suppliers, it remains physically reliant on a mixed grid that, on a dark and windless day, will be propped up by fossil fuels. As more and more companies embrace renewable generation, the balance of supply and demand will only be possible alongside effective storage and demand management. In the same way large firms are mobilising renewable energy investment through initiatives like RE100, they must now take the lead in rolling out effective energy storage and demand management. Achieving 100 per cent renewable energy consumption – and 100 per cent predictable supply – will require them to take these further steps.
Business Green 6th July 2016 read more »