Chris Huhne has said his electricity white paper and renewables proposals, put out this week, add up to the greatest transformation of energy since the privatisation of the energy industry.
He is right that the ambition is transformative, and includes some sensible regulatory measures which prove that the energy and climate department (DECC) does not share in the deregulatory zeal that dominates several other departments (including DEFRA).
But anyone who has followed UK energy policy over recent decades knows that political ambition does not always, or indeed often, lead to significant change. Despite regular speeches from politicians extolling renewables, and numerous plans, the UK (windy, wet islands) is third from bottom in the European league table of energy got from ren (more...)
The Daily Express agreed that the government had given up the idea of having weekly waste collections for all households.
But how can councils lead a debate on the best way to handle waste with such overbearing criticism from parts of the media that have little appetite to discuss what’s needed or consider the major green gains from recycling more food waste?
Residents can be forgiven for wanting weekly collections of food waste (more...)
The discount rises as more panels are installed: from 5.4% for just ten installations, rising to 12.5% for a more impressive 100 installations. That means a top-of-the-range four-kilowatt PV system would cost £12,037, down from £13,757. However, the full price will be charged at point of sale: the discounts will be rebated as more installations are made.
The launch on 22 March was attended by about 50 of the 100-plus households and businesses signed up to the scheme.
Fairness means I must declare an interest: I have been closely involved in the project since its inception by Alban Thurston, last year.
It was formerly part of loc (more...)
Many of the accident's extreme circumstances were unique to Japan, so there may or may not be lessons to learn in other countries. But, rightly or wrongly, that message is rapidly becoming politically irrelevant amid the understandable trauma.
Nuclear power programmes have always been hostage to fortune, sensitive to public concern over accidents anywhere in the world. Three Mile Island in the US in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986 all but killed off global nuclear plant construction for two decades, with the unresolved problem of nuclear waste further complicating matters. As a result, a new nuclear pro (more...)
But what he said about the GIB was as good as could be hoped for, given the government’s unshakeable deficit-cutting priority. If all goes according to plan, the bank will be up and running in 2012 and be able to line up £18bn to back projects by 2015.
That’s enough to be getting on with for now. The GIB will be doing well if it identifies and secures that scale of finance for genuinely low-carbon infrastructure in a three-year period.
Both industry and green NGOs criticised the new carbon floor price, to be introduced in 2013, as more of a Treasury money grab than a genuine green measure. But it’s a move in the right direction. It does, however, need a (more...)
The recent consultation by the energy and climate department (DECC) on reforming the CRC focuses on ways to keep it intact while simplifying its rules and requirements. Among the myriad options there seems to be a handful of frontrunners.
But in their consultation responses, trade associations including the manufacturers’ organisation EEF, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the British Property Federation (BPF) argue the CRC cannot be revived.
The fatal blow was struck in October when the Treasury turned the CRC into a tax by removing (more...)
But the reality is that there is a long-standing and unresolved tension at the heart of the EU’s 2008 20/20/20 energy and climate package. And the bloc’s roadmap for 2050 (ENDS Report, March 2011), aimed at cutting emissions by at least 80% relative to 1990, has brought matters to a head. It’s not just about whether to go for 30% or a near offer, but about how the three elements work together, or do not.
The European Commission is deeply concerned that a renewed drive for energy efficiency, together with a continuing surge in renewable energy investment across the EU, will undermine carbon p (more...)
His boss, DEFRA secretary of state Caroline Spelman, had already had some of the SDC’s commissioners in for breakfast that morning. She wanted to explain how the government would drive forward on sustainable development after abolishing the commission, which closes at the end of this month.
Over coffee and croissants she praised the SDC’s previous work and enthused about her new plans… but entirely failed to convince the commissioners. Former SDC chairman Jonathan Porritt (who was not there, but has read the plans – all seven pages) is(more...)
Simon Birkett, who heads the Campaign for Clean Air in London, managed to do just this on 23 February, in a post on microblogging website Twitter:
Hope @JanezPotocnikEU has seen Marylebone Rd already shows 12 exceedences [sic] of PM10 daily limit value http://bit.ly/g5l38t vs 9 by now in 2010
The concentration of coarse particulates (PM10) by London’s notoriously polluted Marylebone road has exceeded 50 micrograms per cubic metre, averaged over a 24 hour period, on 12 occasions this year. The permissible number of times this may happen, under EU legislation which entered force in 2005, is only 35 times a year. It has been breached eve (more...)
According to this view, its proposals for state-owned woodland in England had merit, but were victims of scaremongering by press and campaigners. The average reader/viewer was given the impression that all England’s woodlands were in danger of the chop, ministers complained.
In reality, under a fifth of the nation's total woods and forests were involved. Tree planting and felling would have continued to be regulated by the government's Forestry Commission, with no upsurge in deforestation.
And DEFRA secretary Caroline Spelman had promised that biodiversity and public access would be protected in Forestry Commission woodlands being sold or leased.
All true. Even so this was a (more...)