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
During community energy fortnight, which ended on Sunday, groups around the country showcased impressive projects and ideas. You could have visited a hydro scheme in Stockport, or learned about community heating in Oxfordshire, participated in an energy saving workshop in Dorset, or even taken a big red bus tour of Manchester’s green homes.
It was inspiring stuff. Unfortunately, these types of projects are few and far between. Many other interested and enthusiastic groups around the UK are still struggling to get their ideas off the ground. With the government devising its community energy strategy, there’s now a real opportunity to ensure that the successes are replicated. Read more
This post by Green Alliance’s chief economist Julian Morgan. It first appeared on the New Statesman economics blog.
Ministers should not be under any illusion that public spending on high carbon projects offers a quick economic fix.
Amid all the headlines about the biggest programme of road building for 40 years and announcements of new support for fracking, you would be forgiven for thinking that the recent Comprehensive Spending Review meant an abandonment of plans to decarbonise Britain’s economy. Thankfully, that’s not what our analysis of the Treasury’s own numbers shows as the plans for upgrading Britain’s infrastructure still remain focussed on public transport and renewable energy. However, there are major contradictions at the heart of the government’s policy, which risk deterring the very private sector investors who are needed to implement many of these projects.
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
This post by Green Alliance’s director Matthew Spencer first appeared on BusinessGreen.
The Prime Minister created a storm when he announced that energy companies would have to put consumers on the lowest energy tariffs, but he may have done us all a service if his intervention helps kill one of the most persistent myths of the UK energy debate: that getting consumers to switch tariffs would make energy bills more affordable. Read more
This is a guest post by Agamemnon Otero, co-founder of Brixton Energy and Repowering South London.
Solving our energy problems calls for a rethink of our energy investment, generation and distribution systems. It asks us to look beyond blaming the big energy companies or individual consumer habits, to focus on creating an affordable system where all energy users are the key to the solution, as opposed to ‘the problem’. 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.
This post is by Adam Bell, Green Alliance’s policy adviser on low carbon energy.
The next ten years must see a revolution in the way we heat our homes. A third of the UK’s carbon emissions come from heat, and we will need to both reduce the amount of heat we use in homes, and change the way we produce it, if we are to have any chance of meeting our carbon targets.
The Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is intended to help achieve this by providing financial incentives to homes and businesses to replace their current heating with a renewable system, such as a heat pump, a solar thermal installation, or a biomass boiler. Read more