This post is by Hugh Raven, managing director of Ardtornish Hydro.
Scotland, we are told by our government, is good at hydro. “We are committed to making Scotland a ‘Hydro Nation’ to bring the maximum benefit to the Scottish economy,” says the Scottish Government website. Hydro would include hydroelectricity, you might think, in a nation that provides 85 per cent of the hydropower connected to the UK grid.
The country’s topography and climate are certainly well suited. In 2020 hydro provided around a fifth of Scots’ power needs, with scope for further expansion yet. But, for that to happen, the Scottish Government needs to show some love.
This post is by Dr Philippa Horton, business manager for the UK FIRES programme.
Whilst the transport sector is taking on the task to decarbonise, there is an even bigger challenge ahead around the energy needed to do it. There simply won’t be enough zero carbon energy to meet the projected demand for green transport in 2050. Plans to deliver transport services with zero emission fuels will not be enough on their own, a new focus on energy efficiency is required to make sure it can happen.
This post is by Ben Westerman, freelance policy adviser at Green Alliance.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently released its roadmap on reaching a net zero global energy system by 2050. Its message was clear: current pledges by governments around the world fall well short of what is needed to reduce emissions fast enough to reach net zero by 2050 and prevent global temperatures rising above one and a half degrees.
This post is by David Cebon, professor of mechanical engineering at Cambridge University.
There has been a lot of talk about hydrogen in the past year or two. Advocates for a ‘hydrogen economy’ make claims about how ‘green hydrogen’ (made by electrolysing pure water with renewable electricity) will power future energy systems. The idea is that green hydrogen will be generated at times of day when renewable electricity is cheap (ie when supply is high and demand is low). The hydrogen gas will be stored in underground salt caverns until needed and then either converted back into electricity and injected into the electricity grid or piped around the country to heat buildings and fuel lorries.
2018 was a mixed bag for energy and climate policy. On the plus side, unbeknown to most of its millions of consumers, the UK’s power sector provided a third of the country’s electricity from renewable sources, over twice as much as five years ago. Read more
On 13 November, we invited the EU’s former director general of DG Energy, Sir Philip Lowe, to speak to a small specialist audience about the likely impacts of Brexit on energy and climate policy. Sir Philip, who was in post from 2010 to 2014, is well qualified to comment: he has deep expertise across key EU institutions and is currently chair of the World Energy Council’s energy trilemma initiative. The meeting sparked interesting conversations, including around Sir Philip’s recent publication, Brexit and energy. This post reports the main insights from our discussion. Read more
Not all of the ten ‘pillars’ of the industrial strategy green paper will make it into the white paper expected by the end of this year. Civil servants working on the final strategy say the innovation, skills, place, business and infrastructure pillars are the ones likely to remain and the content of the affordable energy and clean growth pillar will be embedded across the strategy. If that can be done well it will better than having a standalone chapter, but if it is done badly, it will be a disaster for the UK’s low carbon transition.
The results of the yesterday’s government auction for renewables procurement has taken the entire energy sector by surprise. Clearing 860 MW at £75/MWh in 2021 and 2.3 GW at £57/MWh in 2022, it revealed that the cost of offshore wind has dropped by 65 per cent in under five years. This result comes close on the heels of a report from Renewable UK, highlighting that the UK’s offshore wind industry has now increased its domestic content to 48 per cent and is in the process is providing almost 20,000 direct and indirect jobs. Heavy investment during the industry’s nascent years has yielded tremendous results and the UK can confidently stake its claim to be the global leader in offshore wind.
This 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.
This post first appeared on the New Statesman blog.
Among the many extravagant claims made by supporters of fracking, perhaps the most absurd is that it will lead to a renaissance in British manufacturing. George Osborne picked up this theme last week when he argued that cheap energy was leading manufacturers to return to the US and he wanted to see this happen in Britain. Read more