The new Prime Minster Boris Johnson used his first address to Parliament to explicitly back the new net zero emissions target his predecessor set into law in the final few weeks of her premiership. Johnson, who supported the target when asked on the campaign trail but made little specific mention of his plans to tackle climate change, today promised the UK would become a global leader in the low-carbon transition. Responding to Johnson’s statement, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called on the Prime Minister to respond to the “climate emergency” with urgent policy action. “Will he ban fracking, will he back real ingenuity like the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon, will he increase investment in carbon capture and storage, will he back our solar industry and onshore wind, so devastated over the last nine years?” he asked. “Will he set out a credible plan to reach net zero?” The Prime Minister’s address came alongside new ministerial appointments, as one of the biggest shake-ups of the Cabinet in living memory continues today. Joining Andrea Leadsom at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is Kwasi Kwarteng, who has been appointed Minister of State for Energy at the Department. Like his predecessor Claire Perry, Kwarteng will also attend cabinet, but there is no mention of Kwarteng assuming Perry’s clean growth brief, previously part of the ministerial job title. A spokesperson for BEIS was unable to confirm why ‘clean growth’ is not listed as part of Kwarteng’s job title, or whether he will lead on the Department’s climate responsibilities. Perry relinquished her position as Energy and Clean Growth Minister to take up the role of COP26 President yesterday.
Business Green 25th July 2019 read more »
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged his support for a nuclear renaissance, the Barrow-based Dreadnaught submarine programme and Northern Powerhouse Rail in his maiden speech. On nuclear, Copeland MP Trudy Harrison asked him: “Does the Prime Minister agree that the time is now for a nuclear renaissance and that Copeland is the centre of nuclear excellence?” Mr Johnson replied: “It is time for a nuclear renaissance and I believe passionately that nuclear must be part of our energy mix and she is right to campaign for it and it will help us to meet our carbon targets.” His comments were made just days after the Government launched a consultation into funding large-scale nuclear power stations and an £18 million Government investment into the development of small modular reactors through a consortium led by Rolls-Royce, and including the National Nuclear Laboratory, Wood and Nuvia. Opinions are being sought between now and October 14 on a proposed Nuclear Regulated Asset Base (RAB) model to fund large power stations.
In Cumbria 25th July 2019 read more »
Carlisle News & Star 25th July 2019 read more »
The UK’s shift to clean energy is about to get really, really tough. Renewable electricity in the UK has had a great year, but with our homes and transport still almost totally reliant on carbon the hardest part of the zero-carbon future is still ahead While electricity production has been shifting fairly speedily towards renewables, heating – which makes up 40 per cent of the UK’s energy consumption – has been lagging way behind, says Martin Freer, director of the Birmingham Energy Institute. Some 85 per cent of UK households are still heated using fossil-fuel based natural gas. Cleaning up in-home heating would require switching to heat pumps, which run on electricity and draw warmth from the environment to heat homes, or burning biowaste. But heat pumps are only useful if homes are so well insulated that they only require a small amount of heating. And the UK isn’t doing well on that front either. According to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the UK’s 29 million existing homes aren’t being insulated fast enough to save on needless carbon emissions.
Wired 22nd July 2019 read more »
Andrea Leadsom has been appointed Business Secretary at BEIS, while Theresa Villiers has become Defra’s new Environment Secretary. So, how well do the pair match up with their respective briefs? There was some concern about Leadsom when she took on the role of Energy Minister as she had previously been sceptical of climate change, but she now claims to be “completely persuaded”, according to an article in The Independent. Before taking up that role at DECC, Leadsom had spoken against renewable energy targets for the EU and the construction of large-scale wind farms in the UK. And perhaps her most memorable move while in the post was her decision in 2015 to end taxpayer-funded subsidies for onshore wind farms – a move which came a year earlier than planned, and paved the way for such facilities being locked out of the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme. Leadsom is also pro-fracking and has spoken in Parliament about the opportunity that shale gas exploration presents as well as at various external forums. She has also spoken about how we are not going to move away from fossil fuels “anytime soon” and has been vocal about the environmental legislative outlook post-Brexit in her previous role as Environment Secretary. When it comes to views on climate change and the environment, the one policy that sticks out for Theresa Villiers is Heathrow expansion, which she has been opposing for more than a decade in Parliament. And, more generally, she has spoken out against airport expansion in the south of England, including the Boris Johnson proposal for a new airport in the Thames Estuary, expansion of Stansted and Gatwick. Additionally, Villiers favours the high-speed rail link from London to Birmingham.
Edie 25th July 2019 read more »
UK may need 40GW of new baseload generation by 2050. Whether from nuclear plants or power stations equipped with carbon capture and storage, the UK will need up to 40GW of new low-carbon baseload generation to meet the net-zero emissions target, Greg Clark has warned according to reports in The Times.
Utility Week 26th July 2019 read more »
Edie 26th July 2019 read more »