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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August 12th, 2016

Turning up the heat on energy strategy

Pilot Light

by Adam Baddeley and Rob Reid

 

Although heating accounts for almost 50% of UK total energy consumption, it remains strangely absent from the renewable energy debate. Former Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd brought it up last November, but only as a begrudging admission that slow progress was putting us way off track to meet 2020’s 15% Renewable Energy Directive (RED) target. Yet just a week later, Rudd’s ‘policy reset’ speech contained no major goals on renewable heat – instead, it signalled renewed support for gas to replace coal-fired electricity generation backed by streamlined regulatory and consenting requirements for hydraulic fracturing.

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June 17th, 2016

What’s in store? An energy storage update

Image of a battery

by Chloe Bines and Adam Baddeley

 

In January, Eunomia published the first UK forecast for battery storage, which estimated that deployment could reach over 1.6GW by 2020. It generated a good deal of interest, with a range of organisations keen to understand how the forecast was produced. Now, six months on, there’s a new question – is the forecast still relevant?

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June 3rd, 2016

What now for large-scale biomass?

Prawn farm

by Adam Baddeley

 

The last decade has seen a dramatic rise in the UK’s use of biomass to generate energy – both electricity and heat. However, as concerns have grown that – under some scenarios – biomass does not deliver cost-effective reductions in carbon emissions compared with other renewable technologies (i.e. it has higher ‘marginal abatement cost’ for CO2), there has been a bit of a cooling off from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). So, what is the future for large-scale biomass in the UK?

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