On the evening of Monday 3rd June, The Spectator gathered a group of experts together for a dinner to discuss the challenge of bringing the UK’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. The dinner was held the night before the Spectator Energy Summit, with both events being chaired by Andrew Neil. With the permission of the invited guests, what follows is a brief summary of the discussion. The controversy around the Hinkley Point project may scare politicians away from similar investments in the future. Phil Graham (Chief Executive, National Infrastructure Commission) said there was not a strong case for more than one new nuclear plant beyond Hinkley Point C to be built because the cost of renewables is low and getting lower. Overall demand for electricity could rise from the current 90 gigawatts to 170 gigawatts or even 268 gigawatts if the UK succeeds in decarbonising transport and heating. With nuclear plants being gradually shut down, what will provide the base level? Charlie Ogilvie (Special Adviser to Claire Perry MP) argued that carbon capture and storage (CCS) could do the job.
Spectator 25th June 2019 read more »
Ed Davey was the minister who gave planning consent to the controversial Hinkley Point C nuclear reactors in Somerset. The project was finally approved for construction in 2016 under the Tories. The megawatt’s per hour of Hinkley are now expected to be vastly more expensive than from renewables, while concerns over nuclear waste and safety remain. Davey says that the picture has changed since he took the decision to back Hinkley in 2013. Davey says: “At the time we were looking, nuclear was cheaper than renewables. “At the time, I was trying to kick start the offshore wind development, which was paying 140 pounds per megawatt/hour, which is quite expensive. I knew that it had to be done, and as a result of what I did, offshore wind prices have tumbled. Now offshore wind is cheaper than nuclear, but we did not know that at the time. “Because we need to fight climate change, I think that it was right to invest in low carbon power, but in the future, we should not see nuclear because it is pretty clear offshore/onshore wind and solar power will be cheaper than nuclear will ever be.”
Common Space 9th June 2019 read more »
To mark tonight’s BusinessGreen Leaders Awards and Westminster’s historic adoption of new net zero legislation, BusinessGreen is today launching its first annual report providing an in-depth look at the current status of the net zero transition. Available to all BusinessGreen subscribers, the 42-page report provides an invaluable briefing document on the green business community’s progress to date against new net zero goals, the trends that will shape the next decade, and the challenges and opportunities that will arise from deep decarbonisation.
Business Green 26th June 2019 read more »