This post is by Greg Marsden, professor of transport governance at the University of Leeds and co-Investigator at the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS). The original piece can be found on the CREDS blog.
The lockdowns and social distancing measures in place across much of the globe have been both hugely socially challenging and revealing, with images of clear skies over Delhi, goats roaming the town centre of Llandudno and streets empty of cars. Read more
As the UK heads to the polls once more, there’s something different this time round. In previous elections, climate change barely got any airtime. Now, as poll after poll shows that people want action, politicians are talking about the climate crisis, and offering voters their prescriptions for action. Read more
Reading the news, it’s hard to know what to make of the UK’s low carbon progress. On Christmas Day we were running on 40 per cent renewable power, and earlier last year we switched all our coal fired power stations off for the first time in 130 years. Read more
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
It generally pays to remain sanguine in the face of the ups and downs of the public policy debate, because it’s usually driven by short term concerns that don’t have a lasting effect in the real world.
Last week, however, I found myself looking at data from one of the dustiest corners of Whitehall and feeling shocked that the reverse had happened: a series of short term decisions is unpicking long term plans to modernise our economy. Read more
This week, the New Climate Economy (NCE) project published its report spelling out the compelling economic logic behind moving to a low carbon world. In contrast to the earlier Stern Review, there has been a focus on large and fast growing developing countries, which are expected to generate the largest growth in CO2 emissions in the coming decades.
But, here at the home of Stern’s original report, is the UK – and in particular the Treasury – still heeding its advice? The latest scaling down of ambition for the deployment of renewable energy in the Treasury’s Infrastructure Pipeline will inevitably raise doubts. Read more
While people were digesting the announcement of the latest strike prices for renewable energy, the Treasury was also releasing its latest update of the infrastructure pipeline. This reported substantially lower spending on investment in offshore wind energy up to 2020, partly compensated by higher expected investment in onshore wind. Seen against the background of the substantial cut in the pipeline of offshore wind projects, the decision to provide relatively more support for this form of renewable energy makes sense.