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 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 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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November 27th, 2015

Something in the air? The Autumn Statement and pollution

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by Dominic Hogg

 

Wednesday’s joint spending review and Autumn statement (SRAS) ought to give us some insight into the George Osborne’s thinking about the current and future state of the economy, and his priorities for how it should be managed. So what environmental and other implications can we infer from the document and the decisions within it?

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November 13th, 2015

Look, no hands: tackling air pollution and climate change

by Dominic Hogg

 

If there is a silver lining around the breath-constricting cloud that hangs over Volkswagen (and, perhaps, other manufacturers of diesel vehicles as well), it’s that the publicity raises awareness of the damages caused by air pollution. While a cadre of politicians and journalists strive to maintain the impression that there’s a debate to be had on the science of climate change, there’s far less dissent from the view that air pollution brings a trail of misery, and even death, in its wake.

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September 25th, 2015

Getting in on the ACT: subsidies and the EfW market

by Chris Cullen

 

The market for residual waste treatment is about to experience some significant changes. As we move closer to the point where Eunomia’s Residual Waste Infrastructure Review forecasts suggest that the amount of treatment capacity will equal the amount of residual waste available, the key price benchmark for facilities will no longer be the cost of landfill. Instead, it will be the gate fee offered by operators of other residual waste treatment plant – many of them energy from waste (EfW) facilities. A key question for any developer, then, is what will allow a facility to be competitive over its lifespan of 25 years or more.

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July 3rd, 2015

Taking the wind out of electricity sales

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by Chloe Bines and Adam Baddeley

 

The new Conservative Government has wasted no time in implementing its manifesto pledge to end subsidies for onshore wind. Just six weeks into her tenure as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd announced that the Renewable Obligation (RO) would close a year early for onshore wind projects and strongly hinted that action would also be taken to curtail support for the technology under both the small-scale Feed-in Tariff (FiT) and the new Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme for larger scale projects. Meanwhile, the new Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark, was busy announcing new planning considerations that will make it significantly harder for onshore wind projects to gain planning consent.

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