Tim Yeo: faster than expected expansion of renewable energy. The addition last year of 161 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity worldwide—four times more than ten years earlier—is unreservedly welcome, but it doesn’t mean that renewables can be relied on to meet the entire energy needs of the world, however much their starry-eyed advocates wish they could. Without the availability of flexible, large scale, low cost and long-term electricity storage, renewables can’t guarantee security of energy supply without massive and expensive back up capacity. There is a growing geographical divergence of attitudes towards nuclear power. The old economies of Western Europe and the United States, apart from the United Kingdom, are shunning investment in new nuclear capacity. By contrast new high growth countries, the BRICS and beyond, in Asia, the Middle East and elsewhere, together with east and central Europe, are planning ambitious nuclear new build programs. The relative decline of nuclear in the West is the result of a misperception of costs, and the militancy of activists, who ignore nuclear energy’s vital contribution to decarbonising electricity. This interaction of these four factors poses untenable risks. Many actors, including China, will back up the growth in renewables with increased nuclear capacity. By 2030 concern about climate change will have intensified enormously. China, whose emissions will then be falling rapidly, may propose, with strong backing from the EU, the immediate imposition of a substantial international carbon price, designed to speed the demise of fossil fuels. Countries, which have successfully prepared to be fossil fuel free by the end of the 2030s, will flock to support this proposal. Others, who rely on gas, will be waking up to a nasty shock. By then nuclear will be a big part of the energy mix in much of Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Indeed, since the International Energy Agency estimates that twenty gigawatts of nuclear capacity must be connected to the grid each year to meet agreed climate targets, it needs to be. The necessary nuclear renaissance won’t win short term political plaudits. Instead, it will do something far more valuable and enduring. It will deliver to grateful consumers and voters clean, reliable and affordable energy, coupled with economic benefits for those countries smart enough to be competitive in the industries which supply it.
National Interest 7th Jan 2018 read more »
UK Climate Change Minister says country is doing “even better than we thought” against future carbon budgets, as she talks up plans to create more green jobs. Climate Change Minister Claire Perry has hailed 2017 as “a real UK success story” for the renewable energy sector, and stressed that she remains confident the UK will meet its future carbon reduction targets and “drive clean growth right across our nation”. Writing in the City A.M. newspaper this morning, Perry sought to emphasise the government’s support for the green economy in the year ahead, while also highlighting what she described as “the multi-billion pound investment opportunity for businesses” from the shift for clean energy.
Business Green 4th Jan 2018 read more »
Greg Clark is to remain as Business Secretary in the latest government reshuffle, despite widespread media reports that he had been earmarked for demotion. Clark has been a vocal advocate of climate action, overseeing the development of the government’s Clean Growth Plan alongside Climate Change Minister Claire Perry, securing major funding for electric vehicles and energy storage projects, and ensuring low carbon infrastructure had a central role to play in the government’s new Industrial Strategy. The reshuffle is expected to continue over the next two days with Perry widely tipped for promotion and changes expected across many junior ministerial posts.
Business Green 8th Jan 2018 read more »