Category Archives: Low carbon energy

Is community energy our alternative energy future?


CommunitysolarPlymouthGreen Alliance associate Rebecca Willis reports on the project,
Cultures of Community Energy, which she worked on for the British Academy.

The green fields of Wiltshire have recently become the site of an impressive energy innovation. On the last day of 2015, the Braydon Manor Solar Array was connected to the grid, plugging in 9MW of solar energy, or enough to supply around 2,500 houses.

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What will Brexit mean for UK energy, resources and natural environment policy?

threeNow that the dust has settled after the referendum and the new government is in place, it’s a good point to take stock and consider what Brexit will mean for UK national environment policy.

Here, our policy experts give their insights on the likely impact and challenges of different scenarios in the three areas of our work: climate and energy, natural environment and resources.
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Low carbon UK: EU membership has put us in the driving seat of the electric vehicle industry

leaf4This post is by Bryn Kewley & Peter Clutton-Brock of E3G.

From an unassuming factory in Sunderland, the UK is leading the EU market in electric vehicles. It’s a market which is expected to grow quickly, with Norway already consulting on an outright ban on the sale of fossil fuel cars. Read more

Low carbon UK: why we have to get infrastructure right

blackfriars via flickr - Jim LinwoodThis post is by Tim Chapman, director of the infrastructure design group at Arup.

Abating carbon emissions is becoming an increasingly important responsibility, and one in which developed countries such as the UK need to show technological leadership.

Until recently, the infrastructure sector wasn’t aware of its primary role in making this change. Read more

Earning our living in a low carbon world

Peter Mandelson2This post is by the Rt Hon Lord Mandelson, former UK secretary of state for business, innovation and skills. It is the speech he gave to the event ‘Will the UK succeed in a low carbon world’ on 9 June 2016, organised by Green Alliance, with CAFOD, Christian Aid, Greenpeace, RSPB and WWF.

During my time as business secretary I was preoccupied with one question: how does the UK earn its living in an ever more competitive global economy?

Today the question remains the same, but the answer is changing. And, as the report by Green Alliance and other environment and development groups forcefully argues, any answer to that question must include how the UK competes in the global low carbon economy.

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What a certain old lady can teach us about energy policy

387px-there-was-an-old-lady-who-swallowed-a-fly-miss-kaulback-38317Do you remember the old lady who swallowed a fly? Her chosen remedy – to swallow a spider in hope of catching the fly – unfortunately made things worse: said spider wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her. She dealt with this unintended consequence by swallowing a bird, which didn’t help either. Bird led to cat led to dog, goat and then cow (I don’t know how). The sad denouement came when she swallowed a horse, and died. Of course.

The British electricity system is starting to look worryingly like that poor old lady. The government, dissatisfied with what the markets are delivering, is proposing modification after modification, in the hope that one day the ‘neutral’ market will deliver the government’s ever more obvious technology preferences. It looks as if our energy policy designers have forgotten their nursery rhymes.

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Carbon pricing in Europe: where the UK and France leads, will Germany follow?

power station at duskThis post is by Matthew Duhan, adviser at Global Counsel. It first appeared on Global Counsel’s blog.

On Monday 9 May 2016 at 23:10 something remarkable happened. For the first time since 1882 coal made no contribution to UK electricity generation. At the same moment, Germany, Europe’s leader in renewable energy and home to the Energiewende (‘energy transition’), was generating three quarters of its electricity from a mixture of hard coal and even more polluting lignite (see graph below). Read more

What would Brexit mean for the UK’s power system?

electricity pylonThis article was first published on BusinessGreen.

The UK’s electricity system is increasingly connected to our European neighbours. In the past half decade, we’ve built two new electricity interconnectors, linking us to the Netherlands and Ireland. Earlier this year, the Treasury’s own National Infrastructure Commission endorsed a plan to roughly triple our capacity to import power, mainly from our EU neighbours. In 2014, we imported 21 TWh to the UK, nearly as much power as Hinkley C will provide per year, should it ever be built. In five years’ time, we could be importing a quarter of our power from our European friends: more than the UK’s whole coal fleet provided in 2015. This is a faster change than even the famed ‘dash for gas’ in the 1990s. Read more

UK climate strategy: strong ambition followed by weak delivery

Wind Turbine and sun from belowThe recent letter from conservative backbenchers supporting the fifth carbon budget reminds us again that the Climate Change Act is worth its weight in gold. Eight years on from its agreement the act retains strong cross party support, despite concerted attempts to make climate change a partisan issue. Its regular budget setting cycle means the government regularly has to restate and reappraise the longer term direction of the economy. Carbon budgets have provided one of the few points of stability in a period of high policy volatility. Read more

Top ten resources on UK renewable energy

1 DEE Solar Energy TreeThese days, renewable technologies not only generate 25 per cent of the UK’s electricity, they also generate plenty of data, giving us the chance to get a clear picture of what’s really going on.

We’ve pulled together our top ten resources as a quick reference guide, including stats, interactive tools and inspiration from the miscellany of initiatives that have taken root across the country. Read more

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