The advent of an independent Green Investment Bank will be a major step forward for a government that claims to be the greenest ever. It comes at a time when, hopefully, electricity market reforms (ENDS Report, December 2010) will unleash a £200bn low-carbon energy infrastructure investment programme by 2020. (more…)
December was a month of extraordinarily bitter cold. A snowbound Britain found it hard to get excited about Cancún’s fitful progress towards an international agreement to tackle global warming.
But it was a very big month for Chris Huhne, secretary of state for energy and climate change.
His first big climate summit. Publication of an Energy Bill, introducing an ambitious scheme to shift billions of pounds of private sector capital into making Britain’s heat-leaky homes much more energy efficient.
And then, just before the Christmas holidays, the unveiling of still more ambitious and highly complex proposals for reforming Britain’s power generation system.
The last thing you could accuse the coalition of is being a one-club player. Instead, it is reaching for a bewildering variety of instruments to persuade investors to spend billions a year on a variety of low-carbon generating plant. (more…)
On Sunday the Guardian ran a story revealing that government officials have accepted that the goal of making all new homes zero carbon by 2016 has to be watered down.
ENDS Report readers will know this has long been the risk. The target was established by the previous Labour government in 2006. But achieving it in any literal sense was always going to be impossible because homes depend on sources of energy generated elsewhere, at present, mostly from fossil fuels. (more…)
Lack of foresight and too little investment in new power generation capacity threaten a looming energy gap and blackouts before 2020, the Conservatives warned before the election. It all sounds so familiar for anyone who remembers the oil shocks and economic gloom of the 1970s.
There is of course one big difference apart from the £200bn price tag by 2020. This is the commitment to decarbonise the UK’s electricity supply (ENDS Report, July 2009).
But essentially we are having the same kind of ‘predict and provide’ argument over need for new capacity that we had then. In the event, plans for a shiny new fleet of pressurised water reactors boiled down to just one at Sizewell B in Suffolk, voluntary energy efficiency schemes fizzled out as conditions eased, and we ended up with a dash for gas. (more…)