The UK’s energy priorities: enhancing energy security and pathways to decarbonisation. Speech delivered by Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng at the Chatham House Second Century London Conference. A dependence on gas has left us more exposed. But this government has increased renewable capacity by 500% since 2010, and the current situation shows we need even more diversity. And of course the key to greater diversification of the energy market is unlocking private investment. Over the coming decades, Britain will need many hundreds of billions of pounds of investment into clean energy, grid upgrades and new nuclear power, for example. This investment will create hundreds of thousands of good jobs…in industries that will be built to last. Private finance is essential to the energy transition – it is not the enemy of that transition. And as I speak, 10GW of renewable power is currently being built, constructed, across the UK. That’s equivalent to the capacity of 3 Hinkley Point C nuclear power stations, and of course we have already installed today 12GW at the moment. But we need to go further. The Energy Security Bill will unlock our plans. Next month, I will announce the results of Allocation Round 4 – our biggest renewable energy auction ever. In the summer, I will set out options to fundamentally reform our electricity market. Then, later this year, we will update our planning policy and eliminate some of the bureaucracy, which can get offshore wind and solar projects off the ground. We’re driving local partnerships in England for onshore wind – which everyone should know is the cheapest and quickest way to build renewable power. All of these will be driven by a new Electricity Networks Commissioner who will be appointed, announced this month. We’re making great progress in this area. One area, of course, where we’re seeking to make even greater progress is hydrogen. Next month, we’ll accept bids to bring nuclear projects to maturity. We’re keen to revive sites from Hartlepool to Heysham, from Wylfa and Trawsfynydd. Thanks to the Nuclear Act, we have a new financing model to cut the cost of each new large-scale project by £30 billion. Great British Nuclear – our delivery vehicle – is up and running with Simon Bowen at the helm. It’s tasked with helping these projects through every stage of the development process and developing a resilient pipeline of new builds. Taken all together, we want to see progress on up to 8 new reactors this decade.
BEIS 23rd June 2022 read more »
No ‘top down’ onshore wind farm plan because ‘we’re not in China’, says Kwarteng. The Business Secretary said people can use their own ‘common sense’ when it comes to conserving energy. The Business Secretary has insisted that new onshore wind farms should be subject to “local consent”, arguing the infrastructure cannot be imposed “top down” because “we’re not in China”. He also said people can use their own “common sense” when it comes to conserving energy, saying it is not his role as a minister to say “you should wear an extra jumper over the winter”. The Government said in its recent energy strategy that it will not introduce “wholesale changes” to planning regulations on onshore wind which, along with a ban on subsidies for the technology that has been reversed, effectively halted the development of new farms in England. But it will consult on “developing partnerships with a limited number of supportive communities who wish to host new onshore wind infrastructure in return for guaranteed lower energy bills”.
Independent 23rd June 2022 read more »
Ember modelling of least-cost power system pathways reveals that a clean power system (70-80% wind and solar) by 2035 should be at the core of energy planning for a net-zero continent by mid-century. This study explores the least-cost pathways to a clean power system in Europe, compatible with the Paris Agreement climate goals (1.5C). Detailed, country-by-country, hour-by-hour power system modelling confirms the feasibility of almost completely decarbonising Europe’s power sector by 2035, while expanding the electricity supply. Key metrics are quantified in order to benchmark progress, while accounting for a range of uncertainties. Crucially, the costs of competing routes are assessed, including the costs of developing the power system according to current plans. This analysis reveals that an expanded and (~95%) clean power system in Europe can be achieved by 2035 at no extra cost above stated plans. Larger upfront capital costs for wind and solar in the power system are offset by avoided carbon costs and avoided costs associated with new nuclear and fossil capacities. There is no cost penalty for choosing the clean power path, even when the electricity supply is simultaneously expanded to enable further electrification. The three pathways modelled by Ember see a steady decline in nuclear power and no new nuclear plants. That’s because the models are optimised to minimise cost. Not building new nuclear plants is estimated to save €170 billion by 2035. In reality, several countries have taken decisions to back new nuclear plants, most notably France, Poland and the UK. So Rosslowe’s team ran a further experiment where they forced the model to deploy nuclear plants according to the number that countries have publicly said they will build. T he result: no significant difference to electricity system costs when compared with no new nuclear. “That’s a bit surprising, because nuclear has a reputation for being very expensive – it’s certainly expensive in terms of upfront costs,” says Rosslowe. However, he says there remain concerns over nuclear waste and the risk of nuclear plants not being deployed on time (as is happening in the UK).
Ember 22nd June 2022 read more »
When politicians and pundits take to the airwaves to address climate change, they regularly reduce the challenge to a matter of tradeoffs: audiences are told that, while we must end our use of fossil fuels, doing so will incur tremendous economic costs. But a major new study from Europe suggests this line of reasoning is false. According to energy research think-tank Ember, massively expanding Europe’s electricity system by quadrupling renewable energy generation and building out electrical infrastructure could save the EU upwards of $1 trillion by 2035, while delivering energy security and cleaner air.
Forbes 22nd June 2022 read more »
Ed Miliband said. “Now, of course, fossil fuels are not the answer. And in a country like ours, where you see the price of renewables are something like a quarter of that of fossil fuels – a quarter of the price of gas – shrinking back from the green transition is not the answer, and we need to assert that.” Miliband cited a report last year by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), which highlighted the economic benefits of accelerating decarbonisation efforts, compared to delaying action to tackle the climate crisis and contending with the worsening impactsof a warming planet. “[The OBR report] says that delaying by a decade doubles the cost of the transition as we lock in high carbon choices,” Miliband said. “And this is incredibly important: We have got ethics on our side, but we’ve also economics.”
Business Green 23rd June 2022 read more »