The Government has “blown an enormous opportunity” to transform Britain’s record on climate change, critics say, amid a growing backlash over its long-awaited green master plan. Ministers unveiled their much-delayed clean growth strategy this week, which sets out more than 50 measures to boost energy efficiency and clean power to get the UK on track to meet key emissions targets – which it is currently set to miss by a wide margin. The blueprint drew criticism from the Government’s own independent climate advisers over its suggestion that “flexibilities” in the law could be used to meet legally binding targets on cutting greenhouse gases. The Government also faces a threat of legal action as the strategy concedes that the UK may not meet these key targets for the late 2020s and early 2030s, despite wide-ranging measures to cut emissions. Environmental campaigners raised concern that the strategy was too timid and failed to contain the necessary measures to meet the UK’s own laws on cutting carbon. Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas described the plan as a “blueprint for under-achievement” and said it did not to go far enough to promote onshore wind and to curb nuclear power. She said: “The Government has blown this enormous opportunity to put Britain on track to meet its climate target. “This should have been a greenprint for the future, but instead this looks like a blueprint for under-achievement.
Independent 13th Oct 2017 read more »
Just as the UK Government has stopped onshore renewables (mainly wind power and solar pv) from getting all-important long term power purchase agreements (PPAs) through the feed in tariff system (the big one being now reserved for Hinkley C), so government agencies are moving to make sure that the rules of the electricity market favour centralised generators over decentralised ones. The Government says that no subsidies will be available for onshore wind and solar pv. Yet it is busy doling out subsidies and altering rules to favour big power stations over decentralised renewables. Matthew Lockwood, in a recent working paper, tells the story of how the Capacity Market has largely been shaped to be a riverstream of income for the existing gas and coal and nuclear power plant. First came the decision to reward all existing generators for providing capacity, providing a subsidy for plants that have been built a long time ago. A much cheaper option would have been to operate a ‘strategic reserve’ that would fund a dedicated set of assets to be brought in to balance supply and demand. But that. of course, would not help the centralised power plant. Of course the mere term ‘capacity’ is biased against the decentralised solutions which include DSR and battery storage.
Dave Toke’s Blog 14th Oct 2017 read more »
Given the uncertainties about BREXIT- when where, how, why and even if – there had been a striking lack of government policy activity in the energy field over the last few months. Many key issues seemed to be pushed into the future while we waited for the much delayed new Carbon plan and the Helm Price review. But the government has now finally come up with its new Clean Growth Strategy, as well as a (re) commitment (announced at the Tory party Conference) to a temporary energy price cap- though that may not start up until next year. The Clean Growth Strategy is set up under the over-riding policy that ‘every action that the government takes to cut emissions must be done while ensuring our economy remains competitive,’so the emphasis is on low cost options, which makes its continued commitment to nuclear a little odd. Otherwise it seems generally sensible, although not wildly ambitious – and it it admits that the UK is currently on track to miss the 4th and 5th carbon budgets (p. 41). But BEIS expect emissions from businesses and the public sector to fall 30% from today’s levels by 2032. The strategy will also ‘deliver new nuclear power through Hinkley Point C and progress discussions with developers to secure a competitive price for future projects in the pipeline’. There’s also some (already announced) funding for R&D on new nuclear technology, including SMRs- around £480m. In addition, there’s around $500m funding through the BEIS Energy Innovation Programme, including up to £10m for innovations in low carbon heat in domestic and commercial buildings and up to £10m for innovations to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings.
Energy Research Web 14th Oct 2017 read more »