The coalition government has outlined its proposals to reduce energy bills in the wake of rising costs. Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy, Nick Clegg, said their plans would cut bills by an average of £50, in an article in the Sun on Sunday. They said the government would pay for some measures currently included in bills and the cost of insulating homes would be spread over a longer period. Labour has called the government’s energy policy a “shambles”. Its leader Ed Miliband has said that should his party win the next election, it would freeze gas and electricity bills for 20 months. The cost to energy firms of insulating homes – “apart from in the worst off homes” – will be spread over a longer time period – thought to now be increased from two years to four, up to 2017. They said the proposal would reduce people’s bills, but did not specify by how much. Representatives of the insulation industry have told the BBC they fear this will mean significant job losses. The Association for the Conservation of Energy said from what it has seen of the government plans it anticipates around 10,000 jobs will be lost because they believe the change represents a halving of the budget for the work they carry out.
BBC 1st Dec 2013 read more »
People buying a new home will be offered £1,000 to spend on energy efficiency and all householders will get £50 off their fuel bills under a deal over green taxes struck between the coalition parties ahead of this week’s Autumn Statement. Private landlords, schools and hospitals will also be given incentives to make their properties more energy efficient.The Energy Company Obligation (Eco), a levy on firms to help homes become more efficient, will be scaled back, leaving fewer funds better targeted at the fuel poor. The Government claims this will help cut energy bills for customers by £50, but it all depends on energy companies passing on the savings to consumers. In an article for The Sun on Sunday today, Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg said the Government was already helping families reduce the cost of living through freezing council tax and cuts to fuel duty and income tax. They added: “Later this week, we’ll announce further help: proposals worth around £50 on average to energy bill-payers. We’re doing it without taking any help from poor families or sacrificing our green commitments; and in a way that will keep Britain’s lights on in the long term, too.
Independent 1st Dec 2013 read more »
HOMEBUYERS are to be offered grants of up to £1,000 to make their properties more energy efficient as the coalition fights back over energy bills. George Osborne, the chancellor, will announce the cash-back deal this week following months of pressure on ministers over soaring gas and electricity prices. It will be the centre piece of a package of proposals worth about £50 on average to energy bill payers.
Sunday Times 1st Dec 2013 read more »
The battle between government and opposition over energy policy is beginning to feel like two squabbling kids turning the light in the living room on and off. The fact that the opposition includes Lib Dems in the coalition – at least some of the time – only makes the situation more confusing: a bit like that strobe effect in the children’s room. Everyone keeps saying that George Osborne can use his autumn statement on Thursday to produce some clarity, but it is hard to see that happening. Confusion reached its high point on Friday morning, when a retail fuel price freeze policy was leaked, and then denied, by a government which seems increasingly to be making policy on the hoof. the autumn statement will be used to confirm a postponement in the implementation of the ECO by two years to 2017, while moving the cost of the warm home discount off fuel bills and on to general taxation. This would indeed allow bills to fall by a nominal amount, but it will worsen fuel poverty. Meanwhile Labour, which blasted energy to the top of the political agenda by promising a 20-month price freeze, has finally provided a few more details of its plans by way of a policy paper. It has revealed that its planned new energy security board will be modelled on the Office for Budget Responsibility, to provide objective advice and to help ensure that new power stations are built. The need for a sense of policy certainty and forward momentum has never been greater – emphasised by one of the big six, RWE, pulling the plug on a £4bn windfarm investment last week. Other developers are dithering but it is more likely that it will be the election in 2015, rather than anything Osborne says this week, that will finally clear the air.
Observer 1st Dec 2013 read more »
DAVID Cameron and Nick Clegg reveal a new pledge ¬today to take £50 off the average household energy bill in an effort to limit spiralling costs in electricity and gas charges being paid by families. In an attempt to respond to mounting pressure over energy costs in the face of 10 per cent price hikes, the pair write today that in this week’s Autumn Statement they will remove a host of green levies and anti-poverty measures from fuel bills. Instead the cost will be paid for through general taxation, meaning the “big six” energy firms can reduce the sums they charge customers.
Scotland on Sunday 1st Dec 2013 read more »
David Cameron & Nick Clegg’s article in The Sun.
Sunday Sun 1st Dec 2013 read more »
The UK has signed up to the EU carbon directive to run down all its coal-fired stations by 2020 – that’s a whopping 40 per cent of capacity that has to be replaced. At the same time, the output from nukes will fall to tiny levels as plants are phased out. The new Hinkley Point will take another decade to come on stream. So there’s a huge potential shortfall in supply. Energy costs have already risen over the past few years, so for many they now reach a third of income. But what politicians of all parties are not telling us that they will keep rising. Peter Atherton, energy analyst at Liberum Capital, reckons that without new investment it may be impossible to keep the lights on and consumer bills affordable. He predicts electricity bills could rise by at least 30 per cent by 2020 and 100 per cent by 2030. Politicians must be honest with us; come what may, prices will keep rising. We need a long-term and cross-party plan for energy supplies, headed up by a new independent commission not political point-scoring. Future energy supplies are too important to be left to the politicians. We can only hope there is a young Steve Jobs or Tim Berners-Lee out there working on the next energy revolution. It’s only a matter of time.
Independent 1st Dec 2013 read more »
So much hot air is being generated about energy prices that it is hard to see through the fug. On Friday the BBC reported that the government was trying to match Ed Miliband’s plan to freeze prices after the next general election by asking energy companies to freeze prices before it. Number 10 denied any such thing. But at the end of a week of hasty retreats on payday lenders and cigarette packaging such crazy symmetry sounded horribly plausible. Whatever ministers were smoking last week it left them sounding incoherent — although Labour’s assertion that the government has no “intellectual underpinnings” was a bit rich coming from a party that still has no clue how to govern with no money. Ageing nuclear power stations and dirty coal-fired ones are closing. But new ones are not being built. The buffer between us and blackouts — our spare generating capacity — is forecast to fall from 14% to just 4% in 2015. The coalition has made some progress: agreeing the first nuclear power station in a generation. But more than half of the new power plants that the UK needs to keep the lights on and the gas flowing have been postponed, according to the chief executive of the National Grid, because of lack of confidence by businesses.
Times 1st Dec 2013 read more »
Tory MP and green enthusiast Tim Yeo is expected to appeal to Conservative supporters in a bid to save his political career after leaders of his local party refused to re-adopt him as its candidate for the next general election. Yeo, who chairs the energy and climate change select committee, failed to win the backing of the executive council of his South Suffolk constituency party in a secret ballot on Friday night. If he does not try to overturn the decision, he will not be able to stand at the next election. Yeo, 68, who served as an environment minister in John Major’s government, is understood to be considering asking for a ballot of the entire local party membership, which, if it backs him, would trump the executive vote. His other option would be to stand again in a new contest but he is unlikely to do this. It is known that some local Tories in Suffolk dislike Yeo’s enthusiasm for green issues and his support for gay marriage. He is also less strongly Euro-sceptic than some in the party, and makes the argument that the UK’s best interests lie with remaining in the EU.
Observer 30th Nov 2013 read more »
Iranian scientist held in U.S. over claims that he tried to buy equipment for secret weapons program ‘was released as part of nuclear deal’.
Daily Mail 1st Dec 2013 read more »
Iran will decide the level of uranium enrichment in its nuclear programme based on its energy and other civilian needs, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in remarks reported Saturday. His remarks appeared to conflict with the landmark nuclear deal struck with world powers in Geneva last weekend, which states that the enrichment level must be mutually defined and agreed upon by both sides in further negotiations.
Middle East Online 30th Nov 2013 read more »
The interim deal between six leading world powers and Iran over its nuclear programme, agreed in late-night talks last weekend, could – if it bears fruit in the long term – transform the wider region; it could redraw the map of an area that has been gripped by conflict or the threat of conflict for generations. In the midst of a growing schism between Shia and Sunni Muslims in the Middle East, fuelled by the war in Syria, an agreement that reduces the threat of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, sanctioned by the US, presents enormous possibilities as well as potential threats.
Guardian 30th Nov 2013 read more »
US – Los Alamos
Top-secret Los Alamos nuclear bomb sites will be opened to the public in new national park commemorating the Manhattan Project.
Daily Mail 30th Nov 2013 read more »
The new £10.5 million, Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, which is aimed at bringing together business and academia to advance the low-carbon economy, has become the first listed building to achieve one of the UK’s highest green building awards. The The design of the former Old High School building in Infirmary Street, refurbished by Malcolm Fraser Architects, has won a Breeam (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) award from the worldwide testing and certification company.
Herald 1st Dec 2013 read more »