This post is by Caroline Julian, head of research at the independent think tank ResPublica.
The government’s announcement to reduce energy bills by an average of £50 per household per year will temporarily be a welcome relief, but only for customers of the larger energy companies. The cuts to the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) insulation scheme, which will account for a £30-35 bill reduction, as with other green levies, apply only to those suppliers with over 250,000 customer accounts or 125,000 dual fuel customers, which presently includes the Big Six energy companies plus First Utility. Read more
This post first appeared on BusinessGreen.
The current ‘green crap’ debate is a dispiriting failure of political leadership on energy. Not because it’s wrong to focus on reducing the burden of high energy bills on consumers, but because the solution being proposed: cutting environmental and social levies, will offer only a small bill reduction, while diverting attention from where it should be focused: on the UK’s shameful failure to implement a national energy efficiency programme. Read more
Around 100 representatives from across the energy policy field joined Ed Davey, at a Green Alliance debate on Monday, to discuss the final stages of the somewhat tortuous process of reforming the UK’s electricity sector. The main question asked was whether the process, now going into its third year, will actually result in much needed investment in both low carbon supply and energy efficiency. Read more
This post first appeared on Business Green.
It’s sometimes hard to know if we’re winning or losing.
Last weekend we learned from Greenpeace that “in pushing for a 50 per cent European carbon cut by 2030, Ed Davey and the Prime Minister have secured a rare outbreak of Cabinet common sense on climate policy”. But, meanwhile, the Guardian told us that this was just “a sop to environment campaigners,” while the government risked “tens of billions of pounds of green investment” by opposing a renewables target. Just to make things as clear as mud, the CBI said that the government announcement had given “a clear UK position on a single 2030 emissions reduction target [that] will help reassure investors.” Read more
The government is looking at ways for the forthcoming Energy Bill not only to drive investment in new sources of low carbon power but also to pay for much needed investment in energy efficiency. There are different ways this could be done but the government’s lead option is to enable energy efficiency projects to take part in a new capacity market aimed at making sure we have enough electricity generating capacity to keep the lights on. Read more
After calling for more government action to help people reduce electricity use for nearly two years, we’re delighted that the government is finally taking it seriously.
Our recent report with WWF looked at three ways to reduce demand, as part of the government ‘s Electricity Market Reform, concluding that an electricity efficiency FiT is the best way forward. If it is introduced, it could stimulate a new market in negawatts or electricity saving by paying anyone who can to reduce their demand for electricity.
This is a guest post by Jim Watson, director of Sussex Energy Group.
The role of natural gas is at the heart of the increasingly fractious debates about UK energy policy – whether it is the pros and cons of shale gas, the heated arguments over renewables policy, or the allegations of price manipulation in wholesale energy markets.
Gas supplies 30 per cent of the energy we use in the UK: to heat our homes, to power industry and to generate electricity. Within the low carbon transition that the UK needs to make, gas will continue to be important. It will be some time before the millions of households that rely on gas will be able to switch to electric or renewable heating. Gas also accounts for 40 per cent of UK electricity generation, and the shift to gas in this sector has delivered a large share of our emissions reductions to date.
This post is by Matthew Spencer, director of Green Alliance.
Anyone reading the media coverage of the Energy Bill announcement last Friday will be left wondering who really won and what will happen next to energy policy. There were some clear winners but they weren’t on either side of the Coalition divide on decarbonisation, which means that the future direction of energy policy remains very uncertain.
The lack of agreement on decarbonisation raises the risk for the first time that climate change could become a dividing line between the political parties at the next election. Read more
British energy efficiency policy to date has mainly focused on domestic insulation, and rightly so: we have a particularly leaky housing stock and heating costs form the bulk of most household energy bills. But we also need to ensure we use electricity efficiently.
This is particularly important since electricity bills are predicted to rise as we replace our aging electricity system, and as the fossil fuels we use in power stations become more expensive. The UK’s service and industrial sectors are increasingly reliant on electricity and we need to make sure they are as lean as possible so they can emerge successfully from the current recession. Read more
This post is based on Green Alliance’s new infographic The power of negawatts
We need to cut the emissions of the power sector. We can do this by building new low carbon power stations, or by using less energy – otherwise known as generating ‘negawatts’.
Imagine a 15 watt lightbulb replacing a 100 watt bulb. The 85 watts saved can be used elsewhere: these are negawatts.