August 4th, 2017

Myth takes: renewables consume more energy than they produce

by Peter Jones

 

I had a kitchen contractor over to quote for some work in my house. As he ran a company that specialised in using reclaimed wood, the conversation turned to green issues – and let’s just say he wasn’t averse to sharing his opinions. “Those wind turbines,” he grumbled, “they’re an eyesore and they’re not even carbon neutral.”

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May 19th, 2017

Improving consumer engagement with the energy market

by Molly Hickman

 

The Conservative manifesto for the 2017 general election includes an energy price cap for the single variable tariff. While the aim is to “protect energy customers from unacceptable rises” there are worries that such a policy would lead to reduced competition and pricing issues in the long run. The rationale for the proposed price cap may be questionable, but it has at least brought the topic of energy back into the news; a lack of consumer engagement is a significant and ongoing issue within the sector, affecting the bills people pay and the amount of energy they use.

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March 3rd, 2017

Can renewable energy survive a subsidy-free future?

by Laura Williams

 

The sun is setting on the Renewables Obligation (RO). The subsidy scheme, which has carried the renewable energy industry through its formative years, is due to close on the 31st March 2017. As discussed previously on Isonomia, much of the progress made against renewables targets – 23% of the UK’s electricity demand is currently met by renewables – has been the result of the scheme. So now, many are asking how the industry is going to successfully transition into the unknown territory of an almost subsidy-free environment.

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December 9th, 2016

What will it take to integrate renewables into the power grid? Ask a cyclist

by Gernot Wagner

 

There’s nothing quite like biking down clogged city streets, weaving in and out of traffic. For short distances, it’s faster than driving. It’s liberating. It’s fun.

It also makes it painfully clear that most roads aren’t made for bikes. Make one mistake, and you might end up dead. If you do everything right and the 4,000-pounder next to you makes a mistake, you still might end up dead. Few regular urban cyclists remain entirely unharmed throughout the years: A broken bone (“cut off by a van”), a scraped shin (“car door”), or perhaps simply drenched on an otherwise dry road (“I avoided the mud puddle; the car didn’t”).

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November 11th, 2016

Learning lessons on business energy efficiency

by Rob Reid and Ian Cessford

 

It’s been a year since the then Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, made her ‘policy reset’ speech setting out a new direction for UK energy policy. Since then, we’ve had leadership, ministerial, departmental and policy changes: it seems that we already need to press reset again and check that Government is designing and implementing policies that will cost-effectively deliver its emissions reduction targets and industrial strategy goals in a post-Brexit UK.

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October 21st, 2016

Solar slow down

by Katharine Blacklaws

 

The need to decarbonise the UK’s electricity supply as part of efforts to mitigate the effects of potentially catastrophic climate change is now little disputed. The UK has several targets to cut its domestic emissions to achieve an 80% reduction based on 1990 levels by 2050.  This includes an interim target to source 30% of the UK’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020, as part of a wider 15% target for all forms of energy.

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August 19th, 2016

Full BREEAM ahead: raising the BAR on low carbon building

by Quentin Scott

 

It’s a sad fact that there has been more bad news than good on sustainable building in the UK in recent times. After the scrapping of the Green Deal without replacement, the unexpected reversal of the Zero Carbon Homes policy and the defeat of efforts to reintroduce building standards through the Housing and Planning Act this year, there’s been little to cheer for those interested in improving the carbon efficiency of our built environment.

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