Just weeks before the Energy Bill finally crawls, blinking and disorientated, into the light of day, it appears that we are finally going to have a debate on the need for more urgent progress on energy efficiency. In response to mounting pressure from the indomitable Andrew Warren of the Association for the Conservation of Energy and a compelling new report on energy efficiency incentives from Green Alliance, ministers at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) appear increasingly willing to accept that the bill should include measures to promote efficiency. Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey has used several recent public appearances to hint strongly that he wants to see the Energy Bill’s planned "capacity mechanism" include an element to drive "demand management" and "demand response". Strip away the jargon that makes the energy efficiency debate so difficult to follow and it looks as if Davey wants to see more incentives to encourage businesses and households to save power, particularly at times of peak demand. There is also a case for complementing these new incentives with a simpler and more cost effective mechanism for driving efficiency: standards. Energy efficiency standards and their policy cousins, mandatory labelling schemes, differential taxes, green procurement standards, and outright bans on inefficient products, remain one of the most effective means of driving both the adoption of energy efficiency measures and the development of new efficient technologies. What’s more, they cost cash-strapped governments next to nothing when compared to more expensive incentive programmes.
Business Green 5th Nov 2012 more >>
The leaders of Britain’s nuclear wave and tidal power put aside years of mutual suspicion and antipathy with an unprecedented joint appeal to ministers not to abandon their commitment to combat climate change. They have written to Cameron, Osborne and Davey calling on them to agree a decarbonisation target. Significantly, the joint approach has won the backing of the environmental group Greenpeace – despite its long-standing opposition to nuclear power. It welcomed the “unity” demonstrated by the low and zero carbon industries who signed the letter and their goal to take carbon almost completely out of the electricity system by 2030. Nick Clegg, Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne are due to discuss the Energy Bill at a meeting of the Government’s decision making “quad” later this week. A meeting due to be held last week was cancelled at the last minute after it was concluded that the two sides were still too far apart to reach agreement on the Bill. The Liberal Democrats are demanding that the Treasury effectively guarantees the returns that the nuclear and renewable industries will make by generating clear power as a way of reducing their huge upfront investment costs.
Independent 5th Nov 2012 more >>
Trade bodies for low carbon energies have written to Ed Davey, the Climate Change Secretary, urging him to stick to his guns. Renewable UK, the Carbon Capture & Storage Association and the Nuclear Industry Association argue that the target will drive investment in the growing low carbon energy sector, creating jobs.
Telegraph 5th Nov 2012 more >>
Times 5th Nov 2012 more >>
Mark Lynas: The energy debate is shifting. With the wind, nuclear and CCS (carbon capture and storage) trade associations issuing their first-ever joint statement the political tectonic plates of climate change have begun subtly to move.But it is a risky strategy. Many of those who defend wind power from attacks by Nimbies and rightwing Tories are ardent opponents of nuclear power, for example. The three trade associations clearly risk losing core supporters by this temporary pooling of lobbying resources. But the fact they are taking this risk is a sign that all three see vastly greater danger in the current attacks in the media and the Conservative Party against the entire decarbonisation agenda. One unintended benefit of this joint approach by the three trade associations will perhaps be to wrong-foot antis of all political stripes – the greens who oppose nuclear, the increasingly vocal anti-wind lobby and those sceptics who insist CCS will never be viable and is not worth supporting. Make no mistake: opposing low-carbon technologies is an implicit vote for a high-carbon energy system, and opponents must recognise this real-world tradeoff.
Independent 5th Nov 2012 more >>
Revolutions come at a cost, never more so when the world’s energy mix is at stake. Governments around the world, from China to Saudi Arabia, are engaged in a wholesale reform of their energy markets, formulating policies that will provide energy security and low-carbon forms of supply that are affordable. Global investment in the energy sector will need to reach $38tn between 2011 and 2035. Almost $17tn of this will be in the power sector, covering generation, transmission and distribution. While renewables are forecast to make up 50 per cent of additional power output capacity by 2035, they will cost $5.9tn, against $3.9tn for conventional sources, Citi analysts said in a report in September. One of the most radical transformations is taking place in Germany, where the government has committed to phasing out nuclear power stations and switching to renewable energies within a decade. But the proliferation of subsidised wind and solar will mean a sharp increase in electricity prices next year. In the UK, where the government is introducing reforms to the electricity market to encourage £110bn of investment in low-carbon energy, environmental campaigners have criticised support for new nuclear power as a massive subsidy.
FT 4th Nov 2012 more >>
South Korea has shut down two nuclear reactors after it was revealed that some parts used had not been properly vetted, an official says. Knowledge Economy Minister Hong Suk-woo said these were "non-core" parts and were not a safety threat. They included fuses, cooling fans and power switches that did not have the required nuclear industry certificates. The shutdown means there could be "unprecedented" power shortages in the next few months, Mr Hong said.
BBC 5th Nov 2012 more >>
Poland has set it sights on building its first nuclear power station and developing shale gas, but experts believe it may soon have to choose one or the other as investing in both could prove too costly. An EU nation of 38.2 million, Poland currently relies on its vast coal reserves to produce about 90 percent of the electricity it consumes. Warsaw is scrambling to find alternatives to meet EU targets on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The government also believes that tapping its own shale gas deposits could assure strategic energy independence from Soviet-era master Moscow.
AFP 5th Nov 2012 more >>
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is moaning that missile strikes haven’t hit Israel hard enough. The Americans say they support Israel’s military attack on Iran the previous day, but won’t actively engage in this war. And the Israelis are counting their country’s civilian deaths and wondering if they should launch a second strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, to "finish the job". This is all part of a war simulation game staged by an Israeli thinktank last month, to which a British film crew were given sole access. The result is a game-time enactment of what would happen if Israel does attack Iran.
Guardian 4th Nov 2012 more >>
The government also has a plan to roughly double electricity capacity by 2030, which includes building six new nuclear power plants.
FT 4th Nov 2012 more >>
PLANS are under way to establish Scotland’s first solar farms at sites in the Central Belt and the Highlands, it has emerged. Scotland on Sunday has learned that a Glasgow-based solar panel developer, TGC RenÂ¬ewables, is in talks with Scottish farms to set up two test sites following successful trials in the south of England. Although Scotland enjoys fewer hours of sunshine than Devon and Cornwall, developers insist that longer daylight hours and microclimates linked to the jet stream make large-scale solar projects.
Scotland on Sunday 4th Nov 2012 more >>