Britain needs to build a fleet of nuclear or carbon-capture power plants equivalent to a dozen Hinkley Point Cs to hit climate change targets, a leaked government analysis suggests. Up to 40 gigawatts of non-intermittent low carbon power stations could be needed in 2050 to reduce Britain’s emissions to “net zero”, ministers believe. Greg Clark, the business secretary, disclosed the estimates to industry in a private meeting on Monday as his department published plans for a new funding model to support such plants. The analysis highlights the level of investment needed to cut carbon emissions and hit climate change targets. This is likely to involve the electrification of heat and transport systems, doubling power demand from today’s levels, and requiring all of it to come from low-carbon sources compared with just half of today’s supplies. In the briefing to industry figures, Mr Clark disclosed that the government believed that 30 to 40 gigawatts of firm capacity could be needed in 2050.
Times 24th July 2019 read more »
Nick Butler: An opportunity for Britain’s new prime minister. Energy prices have fallen for oil, gas, wind and solar. Supply is plentiful, and the idea that expensive and unpopular sources would be essential to keep the lights on is no longer valid. Fracking may be safe but it is unnecessary, and uncompetitive, in the absence of the reserves of the US. A vast programme of new nuclear developments at the prices set for Hinkley Point now looks ridiculous and impossible to finance. Meanwhile, climate change has become a more urgent problem. As a result, climate and wider environmental issues have come to the centre of politics, cutting across the normal boundaries of age, class and nationality. Solutions range from energy storage at grid level, which could transform the availability and economics of renewables, to the advances in fusion and nuclear technology that could rescue an industry beset by the failure and expense of the current generation of plants. There is the use of hydrogen to meet domestic and industrial energy needs; the conversion of waste into power; the huge opportunities to improve energy efficiency; the application of advanced systems to integrate and optimise supply and consumption through the use of information technology and artificial intelligence – and more. Britain has the potential to lead and co-ordinate this effort because of its scientific base, and its network of international links which, as the Royal Society argued last week, must be sustained beyond Brexit. Mr Johnson trades on optimism and hope. Both are much needed when it comes to energy policy and climate change – the challenge is substantial but it would be wrong to submit to fatalism.
FT 24th July 2019 read more »
The long-awaited Energy White Paper may not be making an appearance before Parliament breaks for summer recess, but the energy world was given a fair idea of what it might contain.
Business Green 23rd July 2019 read more »
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has released a wave of energy-related policy proposals in the last 24 hours, ahead of the arrival of a new Prime Minister tomorrow and a likely full-scale Cabinet reshuffle. The government had been tipped to release a sweeping Energy White Paper containing wide-ranging reforms to mobilise increased investment in nuclear, carbon capture and storage (CCS), and energy efficiency projects. But the Treasury appears to have blocked the release of the full document, amidst an argument over whether the new proposals should be presented to the new Prime Minister. Instead, a raft of policy proposals were released last night in a tranche of consultations. The move comes just ahead of this morning’s announcement of a new Prime Minister, who will be confirmed in office tomorrow afternoon and immediately begin the process of appointing a new Cabinet. The documents include proposals for taxpayers to make an upfront payment towards the construction of new nuclear plants through a new funding model known as a Regulated Asset Base (RAB), plans to repurpose oil and gas infrastructure for carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects and develop market frameworks for the technology, new carbon limits for electricity generators to ensure the UK’s coal phase out is completed by 2025 as promised, and an overhaul of electricity grid rules to promote a more flexible, low-carbon energy market. “Reaching net zero emissions will require action across all areas of society – from innovators, government, regulators and civil society,” Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said in a statement. “A critically important step in reaching net zero emissions will be transforming the energy system so the economy can be powered by affordable, secure and clean energy. We will need to change not just the way we use energy in our homes and businesses, but also how it is produced and delivered. We need to do this in a way that keeps the cost of energy as low as possible and ensures our energy security is never compromised.” Many of the plans released today were announcements earmarked for the White Paper, including the new financing model for nuclear power plants and proposals to mobilise investment in CCS. Shadow Business and Energy Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said the release of the documents meant the government had allowed crucial energy policy decisions to be deferred, putting energy security and carbon targets at risk in the process.
Business Green 23rd July 2019 read more »