The surprise death of UK CCS is the real energy reset

Forget the cuts to the RHI. Ignore halving ECO. The biggest change to the UK’s energy strategy didn’t appear in yesterday’s autumn statement. Instead, a two line note snuck out an hour or so after George Osborne finished his speech confirmed that carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the UK is effectively dead. Continue reading

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Why strong laws are needed now to protect and restore nature

This post is by Matt Adam Williams, climate policy officer for the RSPB.

World leaders are preparing to meet later this month in Paris to finalise a global deal on climate change that will take us past 2020. The European Union is also evaluating many of its laws, and some of those threatened with being changed or watered down are our most important nature laws, like the Birds and Habitats Directives. Evidence has shown that they deliver crucial protection for nature, work well and need to be maintained. Continue reading

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Coherence is returning to UK energy policy

Stromleitung mit SonneUK energy policy took two big steps forward today, after months of self-inflicted damage by a government unclear about what it wanted to achieve.

There remain some big gaps, most notably on energy efficiency, onshore wind and solar, but we now know a lot more: the government is serious about coal phase out and it will give offshore wind a fair crack at the whip. The first two building blocks of its energy policy have been put in place. Continue reading

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Grimsby shows how offshore wind is supporting jobs and growth

wind power support boatThe offshore wind sector is playing an increasingly important role in providing jobs and economic growth along Britain’s North Sea coast.

More than one in ten people live in coastal communities, reflecting the UK’s maritime tradition and the historic importance of its ports to the economy.  Many of these places face profound social and economic challenges stemming from the decline of traditionally strong local industries such as fishing. Continue reading

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How the great British weather can help to bridge the renewables gap

Fighting against the windThe climate for renewable technologies in the UK has been notably inclement lately, ever since the summer’s soggy policy announcements resoundingly dampened investors’ and businesses’ enthusiasm. Now, even the usually resilient edifice of government is leaking.

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Why more businesses haven’t caught onto ‘industrial symbiosis’

ImpressionThis post first appeared on BusinessGreen.

There’s an old joke about generating electricity from nuclear fusion: that it’s always just 50 years away, no matter when you’re starting from. Perhaps unfairly, I have the same feeling about industrial symbiosis, the idea that the unwanted by-products of one manufacturing process become the valued inputs for another. Despite the concept being decades old, it’s still much more likely to feature in academic reports than on boardroom agendas or factory floors. Hopefully that’s about to change, as promoting industrial symbiosis is a priority for Germany’s leadership of the G7 this year. But, if the G7 initiative is to prove more successful at embedding the theory in business thinking, it’s worth considering where industrial symbiosis has and hasn’t worked before.

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Why Big Energy Saving Week didn’t save much energy

StromzählerThis post is by Dustin Benton and Amy Mount.

After a summer of wiping the slate clean, the one remaining certainty about the government’s attitude to UK energy policy is that it is committed to minimising cost. This was the aim behind last week’s Big Energy Saving Week, the core ‘switch and save’ message being that customers can save money by switching suppliers. This was odd, given that switching has nothing to do with saving energy.

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The intern debate: four lessons from Green Alliance

The moral and practical dilemmas around internships are one of the hardest issues to manage if you run a charity. It has required soul searching, time and planning for Green Alliance to resolve them and through the process we’ve learnt a few things.

The moral case against unpaid internships is laid out very well by the campaigning organisation intern aware. There are two principle arguments: first, that unpaid internships exploit young people desperate for work experience; and, second, that they lock-in privilege by excluding those who can’t afford to work unpaid.   Continue reading

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Will the Green Investment Bank become just another bank?

the bankThe government is in asset sale mode.  The planned sale of the nationalised banks will set a new high watermark for capital raised, previously set by the BP privatisation, presided over by Margaret Thatcher in 1987.

The sale of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) is being pushed through, alongside the sale of Lloyds and RBS. But, the criteria by which these sales will be judged are quite different.  The sale of the retail banks needs to maximise returns to the taxpayer through the share price achieved on the day of the sale.  But, the sale of GIB shares needs to optimise return to taxpayers in the long term by securing the bank’s unique mission.  Continue reading

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Get new materials right from the start and everyone benefits

head of 3d printer in action, macro viewA version of this post first appeared on BusinessGreen.

Environmentalists and techno-optimists aren’t always the most comfortable bedfellows. The relationship has been strained by an approach to climate policy, popular amongst Bush-era Republicans, that suggests there is no need to do anything today as innovation will solve all our problems tomorrow.

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