Category Archives: Energy demand

We should copy France and make energy saving more fun

Photo credit EIE Pays de la LoireThis blog is by Micol Salmeri, policy assistant in the low carbon energy theme at Green Alliance.

France is tackling climate change at the local level by exploiting people’s natural competitiveness. For the past eight years, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), in collaboration with local energy agencies (such as Prioriterre), has been using energy saving competitions to encourage people to create ‘Positive Energy Families’. It has had a big impact, with nearly 30,000 families or teams, in 81 of the 101 French départements (counties), taking part since 2008, saving an average of £160 per household. Read more

How cheaper negawatts are made to look more expensive than watts

Negawatts_websiteThis post is by Nic Craig, Green Alliance policy intern, Amy Mount and Dustin Benton

The capacity market, which provides payments to ‘keep the lights on’, is one of the energy policies still surviving after a summer of scrappages and watering down. The bidders for the second auction were announced at the end of last week, and, as before, the list is dominated by carbon heavy power stations: 48 per cent gas plants and 19 per cent coal plants (including Aberthaw, which raises the worrying prospect of public money supporting a power station that’s currently breaking pollution laws). Read more

5 things you should know about government and your energy bill

Energy bills are back in the news, with the Office of Budget Responsibility calculating new figures for the cost of low carbon power, the Competition and Markets Authority investigating energy companies, and both IPPR and Policy Exchange releasing reports in the past few weeks. With so much to debate, and a lot of seemingly conflicting numbers to grasp, here are five things you should know:

1. The levy control framework (LCF) makes up three per cent of the average energy bill.
The claim that government controls a large proportion your energy bill rests mainly on the costs of electricity and gas networks, which make up around 22 per cent of bills. In contrast, efficiency policies, which reduce consumption, and therefore lower bills, make up around three per cent. Low carbon power, covered by the levy control framework, also makes up just under three per cent of the bill. So called ‘policy costs’ are, therefore, mostly due to networks, not low carbon power. Read more

Letter from America: the US’s secret green test site

welcome to verrmontAlastair Harper is head of politics at Green Alliance. He’s currently participating in the US State Department’s International Visitors Leadership Programme on climate change. This is his second dispatch reporting on his experiences.

There is no typical America or American, but Vermont makes a particular effort to be untypical. Our tour group’s van driver is a polite, thoughtful man named Reg Godin. He normally waits in the van, but when we visit Montpelier for a meeting in the grand State House, he decides to join us. The place is shut down except for a few offices, but Reg shakes hands with the security guard, then ushers us through to the State’s Senate floor, where he allows us to take pictures of ourselves brandishing the gavel. Before the last election, Reg explains, he was a Democratic state representative, serving as one of the 150 in this state. That was his job for a while, he says; now he has another one. His modest attitude is in profound contrast to the power-chasing world of DC. Read more

How to make high rise homes fit for the future

Wilmcote house new balconyThis post is by James Traynor, director of architecture at ECD Architects.

Is it right that people live in homes they can’t afford to heat without taking out a loan, and which cause them health problems from excessive humidity and mould? Why is the UK’s housing stock in such poor condition and how can it be improved to meet the needs of both current and future generations? Above all, what are the implications of a failure to act? Read more

Why old tower blocks should be included in new city visions

Block towers in Kennogton Park, London.UK cities have been growing in influence for some years now. This looks set to continue as the devolution debate rumbles on in the wake of the Scottish referendum.

At Green Alliance we’re interested in the potential of cities to add dynamism to the low carbon economy. They are well placed to realise the tangible benefits: through public transport improvements, growing low carbon industries and green jobs, and developing sustainable, liveable communities. Read more

From megawatts to negawatts: will the government’s pilot work?

Negawatts_websiteThis post is by Katherine Watts, Green Alliance’s head of energy.

The full potential of reducing electricity demand is still far from being realised in the UK, despite being a low cost, low pollution and health improving way to reduce reliance on imported fossil energy.

The UK has considerable scope to turn megawatts into ‘negawatts’. Very conservative government figures suggest that almost 39TWh could be reduced, amounting to ten per cent of the country’s predicted total electricity demand for 2030. Read more

Big manifesto ideas: responsible pensions, help to heat and a resource target

Big Ben in LondonWith the 2015 general election on the horizon, we’ve asked leading thinkers and experts for their one big manifesto idea. The one they think will make a real difference to a greener Britain. Today we’re posting ideas 13,14 and 15. (Read the other twelve.)

These three proposals, including one of our own, would harness the power of pension funds, boost support for the fuel poor and steer industrial strategy to help businesses and reduce the cost of living. Read more

Interconnection is the solution to the energy trilemma

Network development mapThis post is by Paul Arwas who has over 20 years’ experience as a professional consultant, specialising in renewable energy and energy services.  Paul has advised governments on energy policy and some of the leading global energy companies on strategy and technology issues.

No doubt you will have heard about the energy trilemma.  Experts say we can have one or two out of a choice of secure, cheap or low carbon energy, but not all three.

But they are missing an obvious way of securing all three.  Sources of secure, cheap and low carbon energy exist and they are closer to London than Glasgow. These sources lie outside the UK, and because they don’t feature in economists’ models and are outside the ken of many vested interests, they are the Cinderella of energy policy. Read more

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