The revised projections for energy up to 2035 from the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are generally very optimistic. It expects low-carbon sources of electricity to supply 68% of UK power generation by 2020, 70% by 2025, 76% by 2030 and 86% by 2035. That of course includes nuclear, and assumes that the proposed new reactor projects will go ahead- although BEIS now expects one less plant will be in place by 2030 than originally hoped, so nuclear only reaches 13GW in all by 2035. And it is now also pessimistic about Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)- there is only 1GW in use in its scenario even by 2035. But it is very optimistic about renewables – it sees them expanding rapidly to 45GW by 2035- up from the 36GW projection in 2016. Let’s hope they are right! However, this projection, with renewables approaching a 50% share by 2035, might be seen as rather odd, given the fact that one of the cheapest renewable options, on shore wind, remains blocked by government policy. It can’t apply for Contract for Difference (CfD) slots and the planning rules have been tightened to suppress it. PV solar growth has also been constrained, with cuts to FiTs for small projects and a block on access to the CfD for large projects. These and other retrogressive policy moves have already had a big impact: UK investment in wind, solar and other renewable sources slumped last year by 56% to £7.5bn, while worldwide spending climbed 3% to £242.4bn, the second-highest level on record. And looking ahead, it may get worse in the UK for all the renewables, with all new levy support, apart from those already agreed, to be frozen until after 2025, so as to avoid extra levy costs being passed on to consumers. So support levels will flatten off from around 2020, and, unless new support is offered after 2025, stay flat. Indeed, the governments advisory Committee on Climate Change says that, unless more low carbon capacity is backed beyond that currently set for CfD support, there will be a 50-70TWh p.a. 2030 carbon target gap.
Environmental Research Web 20th Jan 2018 read more »
A MULTI-million-pound cross-border research centre for renewable energy projects launched in Belfast will see the recruitment of more than 30 students, some from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) in marine and bio-energy disciplines. The £8.2m centre – named after the late Professor Ian Bryden, who spent more than 30 years working in energy and hydrodynamics before his death in 2016 – could see Scotland and Ireland blazing a trail in the field. Professor Clive Mulholland, principal and vice-chancellor of UHI, said: “There is huge potential for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland to lead the way in marine and bio-energy. The Bryden Centre for Advanced Marine and Bio-Energy Research at Belfast’s Queen’s University has been funded by the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme, and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Match funding has been provided by the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation in Ireland. The research includes the use of tidal power at ocean energy sites in the west of Scotland, Strangford Lough and the North Antrim Coast, as well as further potential for wave and tidal power generation in Donegal. An abundance of natural energy resources, value in organic waste and the opportunities for the circular economy in the inter-regional area have all helped to drive the focus of the bio-energy research.
The National 20th Jan 2018 read more »